The classes within the Experiential Learners Department at Delamere School are established to meet the needs of pupils who have profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Pupils’ with profound and multiple learning difficulties [as stated in the DfE definition] have more than one disability. It is a common assumption that pupils within this group will have a major physical difficulty.
At Delamere we recognise that this encompasses a wider range of pupils, not necessarily just those who are in a wheelchair but includes some pupils who are mobile, pupils who have a diagnosis of autism or who have Down’s Syndrome. We believe children who function at this level:
Delamere School uses a range of data to assess pupil progress. For children in the EYFS, the Developmental Levels are judged from Early Steps on B Squared. Once children move in to Year one and above, the P level descriptors are used, in conjunction with B squared. Using these, Delamere has developed a criteria in addition to the list above, to enable staff to identify those pupils who need a curriculum more suited to their needs. From a data point of view, this includes children who in:
This criteria and data must be viewed in conjunction with teacher assessments and observations. It is staffs detailed knowledge of each individual pupil which allows a holistic view of the pupil and their specific needs to be created.
At Delamere School we recognise that our learners within the Experiential Learners Department have distinct learning needs which need to be addressed for them to achieve their full potential. Our intent is to
All pupils’ learning starts with the identification and assessment of their individual needs. A range of assessments are used including B-Squared and communication assessments and teaching staff’s professional judgement to aid this assessment. These assessments identify and focus learning around fundamental skills that will aim to remove barriers to learning and help pupils’ make sense and gain basic understanding of the world. Outcomes are identified and formed into a personalised learning targets programme [PLT] which underpins all learning alongside the wider learning opportunities / cross curricular activities that occur within the classroom. Learning outcomes are written and discussed in collaboration with parents and the wider multi- professional team. They are reviewed termly. Staff plan inclusive and accessible activities that take into account individual needs.
Pupils who are under the umbrella of Experiential Learners require a high level of adult support to help them access their learning. Teaching takes place on an individual or small group basis.
The Engagement Model is an integral and underpinning approach to supporting communication and learning. Engagement identifies and celebrates all pupils’ progress, including linear and lateral progress, the consolidation and maintenance of knowledge, skills and concepts.
The Engagement Model includes 5 areas: exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation.
The Experiential Curriculum is broken down into very small steps. It is important that pupils are given the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities enough times so that they can learn from their experiences.
The pupils benefit from accessing a multi – sensory based curriculum incorporating the following Core areas of learning:
All children have opportunities to play and learn alongside their more able peers with creative timetabling between classes and whole school learning activity weeks.
Multi-sensory learning is key within the Experiential Learners department at Delamere and all the sessions that the children experience and learn through will make the best use of each child’s available senses and skills. Some sessions may focus just on one sense such as focused work on tracking lights and images or a listening activity. Staff work hard to interpret the children’s signs of communication, be they pre-intentional or intentional. Repetition of activities allows for children to gain an understanding of something and staff will look for repeated responses over a period of time. This may be over the course of a session, over several weeks or a term or even longer in some cases.
Communication a wide range of communication strategies are used to support children who are pre verbal. All strategies are personalised to individual pupils needs. These include
Children are given the opportunity to gain “real life” experiences in the wider community going for local walks e.g. to the shops or library and accessing joint visits with peers from other classes. This supports developing awareness of the world around them.
At Delamere, as well as teaching our children to develop their learning, we also offer support to families in a variety of ways. CLICK HERE to see what our parents say.