The English curriculum at Melrose aims to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities and attainment. It broadly follows the National Curriculum Programmes of Study at Key stages 3 and 4, with appropriate adaptation and differentiation to meet the needs of learners. There is an emphasis on effective communication in speech and writing and on the value of functional literacy skills. Creativity, imagination, and the significance of literature are essential elements of the learning process. Where there may have been resistance towards English and Literacy we foster students’ enthusiasm and engagement through a variety of interactive and inventive teaching approaches.
Students are taught in equivalent year groups to mainstream education. Differentiation for ability and current levels of attainment is made within the small teaching groups. Groups are supported in lessons by Teaching Assistants familiar with the students’ levels of attainment and personal challenges regarding Literacy and English. Students normally have five English lessons per week offering the opportunity to address literacy difficulties, Specific Learning Difficulties and age inappropriate levels of attainment due to disrupted schooling.
Computer software programmes such as Doddle Learning, are available and promoted to students to aid their progress and skills.
Programmes of Study are based on the Attainment Targets of Spoken Language, Reading and Writing. Students are teacher assessed termly in both KS3 and KS4.
In KS4 students have the opportunity to achieve external accreditation through Entry Level Certificates, GCSE English and GCSE Literature (available to higher ability students that can cope with the increasingly demanding syllabus) with the AQA examinations board. Students are encouraged to attempt the highest possible level of accreditation.
All students are assessed on arrival for speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) by the Speech and Language Therapist attached to the school. A significant minority of students present with SLCN and are placed on a programme of 1 to 1 support with the school’s Speech and Language Assistants. Individual programmes are devised for each student, with progress assessed each half-term, when speech and language targets are reviewed and new targets agreed. The attached Speech and Language Therapist also works with groups of students using Lego Therapy to promote clear communication, and in Social Communication groups when appropriate.