Background: It is a well-established fact that family support (and in our context this includes care staff) is a major contributor to successful outcomes for students; this document seeks to outline how this operates at St Joseph’s.
All students whether residential or day students have a Homework folder.
In these folders are details of targets, a variety of activity ideas from across the entire curriculum to achieve these targets, and necessary resources.
Families or Care Teams provide written and photographic evidence. This ensures consistency across Care and Education.
The Homework folder is worked on daily in Care. Day students have the same folders as residential students and a regular dialogue is entered into with families to ensure that they are happy with what is being asked for in terms of their own input. The Family Link Worker has a good working knowledge of Homework and is able to support families in carrying out activities within their own homes / communities.
All students have a reading book or equivalent and a diary to chart their progress. Residential students have an opportunity every night for guided or independent reading. Non-readers have a picture book or other age appropriate material so that skills in foundation symbolic awareness, rhythm & rhyme, sequencing and reading enjoyment can be built upon. Receptive skills and comprehension of reading material is assessed during these reading tasks as appropriate. Appropriate software in the form of Numberjacks and MyMaths is also available for Numeracy.
As an integral part of residential life students are taught skills for independent living; these involve:
- Menu planning
- Shopping ( including using self service machines and shopping on-line)
- Locating the items and making informed decisions when choosing
- Packing the goods
- Storing the goods appropriately e.g. Fridge freezer; store cupboard etc
- Time Management: duration of time and sequencing of time.
students learn to problem solve and interact with members of the community such as shop assistants. They learn accepted social conventions such as maintaining appropriate levels of eye contact during conversations. students also learn to develop and practice:
- Coin Recognition
- Money Handling
- Health and Safety skills such as using Pelican crossings to cross the road
- Reading of Social Signs : Stop, Train station, Library, Police Station
- Travel skills e.g. using trains and buses; using travel cards etc.
Around the residential groups, students carry out a variety of domestic tasks which provide opportunities to practice literacy and numeracy skills: laying the table (counting, one to one correspondence); making jugs of drinks (shape, space and measure: comparative measures); cooking (reading). Students make use of everyday technology such as CD players for ‘down time’ and household appliances like vacuums for carrying out household tasks.
Students are continually learning and practicing their self-help and social skills either in school, group or in the community.
For example they learn how to combine strength and coordination during tasks such as manoeuvring shopping trolleys when out shopping, they learn how to carry out routine health, hygiene and safety procedures within their residential group and they learn how to recognise and manage their own feelings across a range of contexts.
Students are encouraged to make choices and encouraged to be healthy; many different sporting opportunities are promoted:
- Swimming in the village and in our own pool
- Using the grounds for play and exploration (e.g. Nature Trial, Adventure Play with Zip Wire, Sensory Garden, Outside Gym).
As a Catholic school the students are encouraged to have time in the Labyrinth to reflect and there is a rota for students to go to the Chapel to pray and use items in the Spirituality box and generally to have quiet time. The students also say a prayer before each meal.
Homework is an integral part of the learning journey of any young person who attends St Joseph’s. Increasingly, a careful balance always needs to be struck between Homework and allowing the students ‘down time’ and of course, for some students, there is school and there is home or group and they like to keep the boundaries very clear. However, we recognise the importance of getting this balance right and working in a trans-disciplinary fashion. Therefore Homework involves working closely with families, the Family Link Worker, our colleagues in education and our colleagues in therapy. This means that we are able to provide a diverse range of enriching and fulfilling personalised learning opportunities for every student.