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Children's learning is understood developmentally:

Cloughwood Academy's assessment and tracking system is bespoke for the academy and does not reference age-related expectations. This is an intentional move designed to remove the stigma of being behind the national average whilst celebrating the progress pupils have made. In addition to focusing on academic progress, our assessment system also focuses on developing meta cognition and social competency.

We use a range of measures when looking at children’s development: All pupils have a Boxall Profile and learning plan. This is used to track their development and to inform teacher’s planning. We also use the Boxall Profiles to look at the group as a whole to identify specific areas of need, such as giving purposeful attention and being accommodating to others.   

One-page profiles are used to communicate the child’s strengths and weaknesses and preferred learning styles to the adults who work with them. By using one-page profiles, we are intentionally focusing on where the child is developmentally and how to get the best out of them in lessons.   

The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing: 

At Cloughwood Academy, we recognise that many of our pupils have had negative experiences of education, and we therefore aim to provide them with as many positive educational experiences as possible. These experiences give rise to a sense of accomplishment, pride, belonging and wellbeing.  

Teachers and schools play a major role in determining a pupil’s sense of self-worth and dignity. At Cloughwood Academy, we understand that each pupil desires to learn and be successful. However, our pupils can demonstrate self-defeating behaviours. As a school, we recognise this behaviour as a form of communication that originates from feelings of vulnerability, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. To combat this, we create opportunities for our pupils to succeed at school and celebrate. This helps to break the cycle of negative behaviour and experiences.   

Staff at Cloughwood Academy do not just focus on academic success, but also on developing areas of the individual’s strength and developing social skills. We identify these areas and reinforce and celebrate each pupil’s strengths and, further, we use these as a way to nurture self-esteem. Each pupil has a one-page profile which captures the pupil’s strengths and details the way they prefer to be worked with. Staff role model appropriate behaviour to the pupils so that the pupils can understand our expectations of their behaviour and conduct. The pupils operate within a highly structured environment with well-established routines so that they also understand responsibilities and boundaries. This enables them to feel safe within school and fosters wellbeing. 

We carefully nurture the pupils to feel an increasing sense of ownership, control, and responsibility for their own successes using learning conversations and key worker sessions. This enables pupils to view mistakes as experiences from which to learn rather than feel defeated. By taking this approach, pupils will come to see themselves as capable problem solvers worthy of respect from others, and it is the foundation for emotional and occupational success in adult life. 

The Classroom offers a safe base: 

To flourish, we all need a safe base - both physically and emotionally. If young people are to turn their full attention to the many demands of growing up, they need a secure, safe and nurturing environment where they feel protected, supported and cared for. They need to feel that the members of staff who work with them can keep them safe and provide them with stability, structure and consistency. The classroom needs to be a place where young people are encouraged to participate and become empowered to initiate action in their lives in order to develop, grow and reach their full potential.  

At Cloughwood Academy we ensure that the classroom offers a safe base by adhering to strong routines and expectations underpinned by well-trained specialist staff. Pupils are individually welcomed at the start of each lesson in which the learning environment is set up to allow pupils to settle into class. Each subject uses a seating plan which is informed by the whole class Boxall assessment. Classroom routines are strong across the school, which allows consistency from class to class. Consistency and highly trained staff allow the classroom environment to be calm and pupils to feel safe. Pupils are encouraged to place their hand in the air for quiet in each classroom and during breaktimes. Transitions from class to class are managed by the leadership team, which allows a smooth changeover. Pupils at Cloughwood are reminded of success throughout the day. We celebrate successful work during praise assemblies, displays and in line with the Cloughwood rewards system.  

Continued professional development ensures staff are up-to-date with the latest training and a common approach is used across the school. The Cloughwood enrichment program allows pupils to access a variety of new activities in a safe and supported atmosphere. In line with the schools Behaviour policy, Cloughwood has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, discrimination and violence. This helps to develop a positive atmosphere around the school.  

The importance of transitions in children’s lives: 

On arrival: Often, pupils will join the Academy mid-year as a result of failed educational experiences elsewhere, including broken education and long periods of absence. Pupils joining the Academy often have a negative perception of learning and have already made a judgement about us based on previous experiences. It is our job to help the pupil change that perception. This starts with an initial tour of the school which is always carried out by a member of our Leadership Team who celebrate the achievements of the pupils around the school and show examples of successes from previous pupils. They are there to field any questions or concerns and discuss appropriate starting models dependent on the needs of each new starter.  

Primary to Secondary: We take the year 6 transition very seriously. Pupils have lessons with secondary subject teachers to meet them and experience the different classrooms. Pupils acclimatise to moving rooms for different subjects and have the opportunity to build relationships with secondary teachers well in advance of them joining year 7. This is complimented by a full week of transition in July.  

KS3 to KS4: Expectations are clear and concise, including all stakeholders being made aware of the assessment process and what they will need to learn to work towards achieving their goals.  

Secondary to post 16: This is a major strength of the Academy, placing greater importance on outcomes over attainment to ensure our pupils are prepared for adulthood and have the skills they require to be able to sustain their post 16 goals. During year 12 pupils are given a selection of work and college experiences tailored to their own talents and interests.  

Transport: The taxi journey to school can be a stressful time for some of our pupils, particularly for those travelling long distances. It is really important that they are greeted upon arrival by smiling positive staff. The leadership team ensure they are present for the start of the school day to make sure that pupils are offered a caring approach at the beginning of their day. Allocated pupils make cups of tea and distribute toast to all pupils upon arrival.

Between Lessons: Between lessons, breaks and lunch, transitions are well co-ordinated to ensure that pupils feel safe walking along the corridors. Pupils line up outside the classroom and are met by their teacher who greets them warmly and welcomes them into class.  

Following PE: Following PE where there has been a competitive game scenario, there is always a settling period at the end of the session. This allows pupils time to reflect on their lesson and to lower their levels of excitement.  

School to the Residential Provision: A large transition package is offered to the pupils accessing our residential provision, which includes the option of extended days or sleep-overs. Residential pupils transition from dependence to independence (e.g. washing up, washing clothes, making meals).  

Transition from a written-based lesson: Transition from a written-based lesson or activity to a practical lesson can be challenging. Pupils are settled and calmed before moving onto a practical activity and, equally, there is a period of calming between a practical activity to a written task.  

End of Day: Pupils return to form before leaving school, ensuring that the end of the day is the same as the start. The environment is calm, and the form tutor will focus on the positives of the day. Pupils leave school feeling positive and happy, looking forward to tomorrow.  

All behaviour is communication: 

The concept that all behaviour is communication is deeply rooted in the approach that we take to working with children and young people at Cloughwood Academy. Many of our pupils find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling and therefore exhibit negative or challenging behaviour as a way of communicating their feelings. As we get to know our pupils better, we become experts at translating their behaviours. To help us do this and to ensure that all staff that work with a child or young person are aware of different behaviours that they exhibit, we create a safety plan for each pupil. This document is updated regularly and grows with the child. Further personalised support is delivered through 1:1 ELSA sessions or support from our school counsellor.  

It is paramount that staff working with our pupils know and understand the child’s behaviour and that certain behaviours are signs that something is challenging the pupil or causing them to become dysregulated. Staff at Cloughwood Academy must be aware of environmental factors, individual needs and developmental factors that impact on pupils and the behaviours they display.  

Cloughwood Academy works alongside B.F Skinners theory

“learning is a function of change in overt behaviour. Changes in behaviour are the result of an individual's response to events (stimuli) that occur in the environment”.

Reinforcement is the key element in Skinner's S-R theory. Rewarding pupils immediately for desirable behaviours acts to reinforce and strengthen pro-social behaviours.  

Language is a vital means of communication: 

At Cloughwood Academy we communicate with our pupils from the moment they arrive at school. As pupils get out of their taxis, the senior leadership team are there to give them a friendly welcome. The main focus of this communication is to engage pupils in conversation, taking an interest in their life outside school and encouraging them to discuss their interests. Key to this welcome is humour, as the staff use their prior knowledge to ensure that the welcome is warm and pleasant. A vital aspect of this is non-verbal communication – a friendly smile, a welcoming pat on the shoulder. This greeting puts the pupils at ease and lets them start the day positively. This approach continues along the corridors and into the form rooms where all staff respond positively to the pupils. 

The reason that this welcome is so effective is that our staff know the pupils so well. The use of written communication in producing the Boxall Profiles and then in setting targets for the pupils, which are relayed to them during form period and are referred to repeatedly throughout the day on the daily Target Sheets, help staff develop an understanding of the various needs of the school cohort. Communication is strong across the school, which is vital in creating a consistent approach rooted in safety and respect. This, alongside highly trained staff, allows the environment to be calm, orderly and for pupils to feel safe.