10. Alternative Ways to Motivate Young People with Additional Support Needs in S1

Background New skills of Pupil Support staff provided the opportunity to develop life and social skills in a new way. Through the John Muir Trust Awards the school was able to work in a multi­ disciplinary way to meet many principles of Curriculum for Excellence and more effectively meet needs. Support staff and subject teachers including Geography, Art, Computing and Technology worked together. The Perth and Kinross Rangers and also John Muir Trust staff supported the planning and delivery of the programmes. Two groups of 6 children were selected from pupils with a range of Additional Support Needs. One group consisted of more vulnerable pupils and the other group included pupils with both learning and behavioural needs. The range of need included pupils with global learning difficulties, Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Dyslexia and ADHD – 2 or 3 staff members supported each session. Curriculum for Excellence in Action The project was based at a local park area, near to the school which meant no cost to the pupils or the school. Outdoor clothing was available from the Outdoor Education store for pupils who did not have appropriate clothing. Sessions focused on active learning activities including map work, litter picking, tree clearance and making bird boxes. In addition learning focused on the trees, plants and wildlife in the area to develop knowledge. An art project using litter and natural resources became a group activity and the finished work is still displayed in the school garden . The pupils used IT to record their work and progress which resulted in a ‘Sharing Day’ that was attended by school staff and parents. All pupils contributed in some way to the presentation of their work and displayed their folio work, videos and photographs. From school the invited group went to the park area where the pupil guides showed everyone around and had prepared a quiz on the area. They were proud to display their new knowledge and skills. Successful Outcomes included:
  • pupils and staff were working towards the same award – the teachers received the John Muir Trust Award too;
  • the pupils were also able to use the work to obtain a Dynamic Youth Award (Bronze Level) through Youth Scotland. In this award the challenges were individually set so everyone was working towards their own targets;
  • although not all parents attended the presentation day it was heartening to meet parents who find formal meetings more difficult;
  • parent and pupils’ evaluations of the experience were very positive;
  • pupils knew more about their local area and the environment;
  • all pupils were more confident in communicating with each other and with adults;
  • support and subject staff were keen to be involved in the programme and their enthusiasm spread to others.