The majority of students who attend the Hilltop Group are on roll at a mainstream school as well. Average placements last between two to four terms with children generally attending two days a week – a significant proportion of their time in education. At the point which pupils come to the group, academic progress has halted for many of our students.
Given this context our priority is to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that is engaging and prioritises social and emotional development. We take an engaging cross-curricular approach which provides opportunities for literacy and numeracy and wherever appropriate other subjects such as IT Computing, science, French and history.
We work hard to create a nurturing environment and find that pupils whose learning has halted due to their social and emotional, medical needs often begin to feel more positive about themselves, and begin to re-engage with the curriculum, within this atmosphere.
We assess reading skills soon after entry and many of our pupils then make accelerated progress over the course of the intervention.
Throughout the term there are planned offsite visits to the local community orchard where pupils participate in forest-schools type activities. Onsite, pupils are regularly given opportunities to enjoy and learn in the outside space; for example, through a weekly gardening group.
As part of our social skills focus, members of staff guide the children in playing as a group during play times. Breakfast and lunch times are supervised by the same adults who teach during lesson times and the children are actively involved in the preparation of their own meals.