Section 14 Planning, Learning and Teaching within Curriculum for Excellence

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence is a curriculum for all children and young people. It is also a curriculum which encompasses 24 hours for some children and young people. A 24 hour curriculum can only be delivered by a range of practitioners in partnership with each other and along with parents and carers. The entitlement to develop skills within the four capacities (confident individual, successful learner, effective contributor and responsible citizen) applies equally to all children and young people. This link takes you to Learning Together: advice on how to improve approaches to developing literacy and numeracy: Developing Literacy and Numeracy. The challenge for all practitioners is to carefully consider: The skills include literacy, numeracy and associated thinking skills; skills for health and wellbeing, including personal learning planning, career management skills, working with others, leadership and physical co-ordination and movement skills; and skills for enterprise and employability. What has to be considered is that the opportunities to promote these skills within the four capacities may be provided in different ways, by different practitioners in different locations, according to the needs of each individual learner. For some children and young people the focus is on developing skills of independence. This collection of case studies examines the importance of developing essential employability and life skills in young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. For others, the challenges of learning in the outdoors can motivate more formal learning in basic skills.  This link takes you to information on improving and evaluating quality outdoor education, for evaluating the quality of outdoor learning. Many children and young people learn better through undertaking interdisciplinary tasks or in practical contexts. Key skills in literacy and numeracy can be more effectively understood by some children when learned in context and across the curriculum. This link takes you to an inter-disciplinary project in one cluster in one authority and describes the successful learning achieved by all children and young people.  This link takes you to Learning Together: advice on how to improve approaches to developing literacy and numeracy: Developing Literacy and Numeracy. The challenge for all practitioners is to carefully consider:
  • the nature of the curriculum (content, level);
  • the nature of the learning environment (structured, flexible, motivating, consistent, positive, physically appropriate, low stimulus);
  • the manner in which the curriculum is delivered (challenging, differentiated, supportive, appropriately-paced, inspiring, imaginative, varied, with clarity)
and match it to the needs of each child or young person. The effective practitioner – Class teacher, Support teacher, Social worker, Therapist and relevant others – knows within their own context the nature of the learning activites/curriculum which can best meet the needs of each child or young person, their group or class. They also know each young person sufficiently well to be clear about the best means of delivering that learning experience. In addition, whilst almost all children and young people learn effectively in a traditional setting, a few respond better to alternative environments. Fundamental to effective learning and the promotion of positive personal, social and emotional development is the need for all practitioners to foster strong relationships with each child and young person. This is even more important for children and young people with Additional Support Needs who may lack confidence and self -esteem. This link takes you to Learning Together: advice on how to develop positive relationships and promote positive behaviour: Promoting Positive Relationships Aberdeenshire’s ‘Working Together – Promoting Positive Relationships’ also provides helpful guidance. It is also very important for children and young people who are vulnerable for a variety of reasons, including those who are looked after. Many schools have worked to develop children’s resilience and help them cope and ‘drive their own advocacy’. Increasingly schools are adopting a restorative approach to promote a positive learning environment and help practitioners constructively manage the behaviour of children and young people. Some schools have further developed a positive ethos using the framework outlined in Rights Respecting Schools – For some children and young people, high quality personal support is essential to ensure they simply attend school.

“By listening, talking and including the young person in the decision making process as regards education plans and extra support, you will help to engage them and make them feel more at ease. Something as simple as offering a word of encouragement or praise can be the best motivator; making the young person feel that there is someone who values them and cares about their welfare can make all the difference.” (These are our Bairns, Scottish Government 2009)

HMle’s Journey to Excellence 2006, advises staff to ‘work alongside learners as role models, encouraging them to develop a positive attitude to learning’. The challenge for all practitioners is to use a range of strategies which engage young people, maintain their engagement and enable them to persist in the task in hand. Curriculum for Excellence, which promotes outdoor learning, enterprising activities and practical tasks, all of which include core learning opportunities, strengthens the skills of engagement of practitioners and in particular classroom teachers.

There is no doubt that when children and young people are engaged in active learning the degree of engagement increases. This link takes you to Learning Together: a development pack which supports practitioners to ensure children and young people are actively engaged in their learning: Active Learning Some schools are effectively improving their approaches to active learning through using Collaborative Learning techniques. This link takes you to Learning Together: a development pack which supports practitioners to introduce collaborative learning into their learning environment: Collaborative Learning.

Increasingly, the use of Glow can motivate young people to work independently as well as collaboratively and support individualised learning, allowing for personalisation and choice. It can also deliver virtual learning and meet the needs of young people for whom attendance in mainstream environments is very challenging, or in a very few cases, because of significant health reasons, impossible.

Further Information 14.2 describes how some schools and provisions have extended their curriculum, sometimes in partnership with agencies, to promote broad achievement and allow all young people to achieve success. Teachers and their partners have a range of advice to assist them when planning to meet Additional Support Needs.

“When staff are clear about targets and objectives, teaching is more focused and children are more involved in their learning.”

Class teacher (Taken from Journey to Excellence, HMIe)

This link takes you to HMle advice on ‘Re-focusing Curriculum for Excellence’ to ensure the best possible progression in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing for every child and young person; and closing the attainment gap. What is important to note is that the level of planning (Individualised Educational Programme, Care Plan, Co-ordinated Support Plan etc) for each child and young person is dependent on the context for the child which includes the experience of the teacher or school as a whole, the quality or amount of support provided in the class, access to therapy, the size of the group and the nature of and access to resources. In one school a child’s needs may be met by class planning, while in another school, the same child may require an Individualised Educational Programme.

Managing Accessibility Plan (MAPs)

Some children and young people in our establishments may have significant additional needs which require significant planned intervention and there are those who have significant medical needs. A MAP is a plan which takes into account:
  • core and medical needs;
  • participation in trips and sporting activities;
  • transport;
  • promoting positive behaviour;
  • physical accessibility;
  • communication of information;
  • equipment;
  • staffing;
  • other agency involvement;
  • parent/corer support;
  • staff training.
For a few children and young people with significant challenging behaviour, individualised personal support and specific social skills training is the first step to re-engage them with learning. Targets within these individualised programmes must focus on the key issues for each young person, such as misuse of drugs and alcohol, self-harm and offending, so that their personal lives become manageable for them and learning becomes more possible. Aberdeenshire’s planning documentation (CSP, MAP, PEEP, risk assessment, IEP etc.) can be accessed here. Further information 14.1 provides examples of effective planning. Increasingly practitioners will be expected to develop one integrated plan on the basis of information gathered using GIRFEC’s Integrated Framework. A flexible learning pathway is considered to be an individual, flexible and holistic learner-centred programme of support delivered through a variety of practical skills and experiences offered in different environments. This educational programme is created to address core personal and social competencies, promote self-esteem and confidence and address specific individual educational targets, and can be implemented at any age or stage of the learner’s education. Advice on methodologies and practical teaching strategies is contained in:
  • Section 15: Successful Support Stories which is a collation of best practice from schools and services in one Authority. They exemplify:
    • best practice in planning, often using solution focused approaches;
    • specific teaching resources, practical strategies, particularly those which promote positive environments;
    • partnership working, within and beyond schools;
    • positive outcomes for a range of children and young people with additional support needs.
It is important that staff keep regularly updated records of children and young people’s progress and achievements (Education Scotland). This link takes you to advice on recording each child’s progress. These links take you to advice from HMle on recognising achievement and on profiling success in achieving outcomes of learning   These links take you to advice from HMle on recognising achievement   and on profiling success in achieving outcomes of learning

Further Information

14.1 Examples of Effective Planning are shown below:

Things I Find Difficult My Targets What do I need to do? What going to help me and how will I know how I have done? How Did I Get On? Review Date March 2010
(H) To share my game/ideas with other children . (R) To believe all the good things my teachers have to tell me. To invite other children to join in my game/ activity. To listen to their ideas and work together. To think about how they might be feeling. To remember that I am a special little boy with lots to share. To remember that my teachers only tell me things that are true. To let other children share my space and equipment. To ask how my friends are feeling. To listen to their responses. To let my teachers help me. To listen to all the good things they have to tell me. To look at all the happy balloons I am collecting. To collect lots of special information all about me! Mrs S & Mrs L will help me find a friend to play with/or to help me with snack preparation. They will support me during Circle Time to listen and ask how my friends are feeling. My Cherry Tree teachers will always listen to how I feel. All my teachers will help me. Mrs C will give me a special scrapbook and to record lots of special information about me. Mrs S & Mrs L will help me fill my scrap book.

14.2 Extended Curricular Opportunities to Promote Wider Achievement

Some children and young people require an extended and highly differentiated curriculum for different reasons. For some it is as a result of having disengaged with learning. For others it is the most appropriate curriculum pathway which ensures they have success in learning and are able to progress at their own, suitably challenging pace. The key to ensuring engagement and for some re-engagement with learning within an extended curriculum depends very much on the quality of relationships experienced by each young per son. Robust, consistent and positive personal support can ensure that carefully planned individualised programmes lead to wider achievement which can for some young people promote more formal attainment.  The success of the extended curriculum pathways or learning opportunities shown below depends on the skill, empathy and emotional intelligence of those who deliver them. An extended curriculum which involves other partners requires schools to be clear about what these services can provide as well as a real commitment to joint planning and continued involvement in supporting the young person. The range of additional curriculum pathways and support from external agencies will vary. Extended Curriculum within schools and colleges includes: Extended Curriculum provided in partnership with Support Agencies includes:

Prompts for Reflection

How well do the school and its partners plan and deliver support for each child and young person?
Best Practice What is the Impact?
The school/service has a clear curriculum rationale which takes full account of the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, including ensuring full entitlement for all. The school/service has provided information to all relevant staff about the Levels of Assessment and Intervention in line with Additional Support legislation and GIRFEC. Senior Managers monitor the quality of the range of plans and provide opportunities to discuss, support and improve the quality of plans. Professional development opportunities are provided to ensure high quality planning at all levels, including integrated planning with partners. The school and its partners meet legislative requirements in relation to delivering a relevant and challenging curriculum for all (QI 2.2, 3.1) The school and its partners ensure all children and young people have maximum opportunity to succeed (QI 2.7, 3.1, 3.2) The school and partners take full account of national and local curricular and pedagogical guidance (QI 1.1, 1.5, 2.7)
The learning environment is positive and helps to promote learners’ self-esteem and confidence and other broader capacities. The school/service pays very good attention to ensuring parents are true partners in their children’s learning and can contribute to their children’s progress. Observation and self-evaluation of practice focuses on the quality of relationship children and young people have with practitioners to ensure it is of a high quality. Observations also evaluate the degree of engagement with learning and ensure learning plans are effectively implemented. There are systems in place to evaluate the extent to which vulnerable children and young people are engaged and safe in activities in the playground, corridors, on excursions and out-of-school activities. All learners talk positively about the quality of their learning experiences (QI 2.3) Parents ore satisfied with the quality of provision and progress of their children (QI 2.7)Children and young people are attaining at levels in line with high expectation, including the children and young people with Individual Education Plans/Care plans who are achieving their targets (QI 3.2)Children and young people feel safe and confident and able to enjoy success (QI 2.1, 3.1)
Senior Managers encourage staff to be creative and imaginative in finding strategies to engage children and young people with Additional Support Needs across all aspects of the curriculum. The school and its partners work together to ensure they are all committed to developing the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence for all children and young people. The school/service evidences and records broad achievement including success in work experience; residential courses; and additional activities in and beyond the school day such as data on personal and social skills qualifications, e.g. Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN), Youth Achievement Awards. The school takes very good account of national and local guidance on transition and works closely with its partners, the child and parents to ensure smooth and successful transition to a suitable next placement. All children and young people are supported by relevant practitioners to achieve the four capacities (QI 2.7) Attainment, achievement, attendance and exclusion data is positive for all children and young people, including those with Additional Support Needs (QI 3.2) Trend data on school leavers’ destinations shows appropriate levels of achievement (QI 3.3)
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