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Aims and Values

Our Aims

At Old Farm School our ethos is that ‘Learning Is For Everyone’ (LIFE). We will work together with parents, carers and other relevant stakeholders to teach pupils in a safe, structured and supportively challenging environment, inspiring them to be proud of their achievements.

Our Vision

Old Farm School Is aiming to become an outstanding provider of SEMH education. We will do this by firstly offering an environment that provides a sense of community. We will offer a safe space for those students who have suffered trauma, a reluctance to engage with education and associated cognitive barriers to learning.

 Our six guiding principles in developing this community will be:

  1. Safety

We will ensure the physical and emotional safety of students and staff. This includes reasonable freedom from threat or harm and attempts to prevent further traumatisation. We will deliver on this by

  • Providing a nurturing environment which will include:
    • Safety – The school and the classroom offer a safe space for learning
    • Wellbeing – The importance of nurture and PLAY for the development of well being
    • Language – is a vital means of communication. This will include trauma sensitive language
    • Transitions – The importance of transitions in students’ lives
    • Learning – Students learning is understood developmentally
    • Behaviour – All behaviour is communication
  1. Trustworthiness

Transparency exists in the school’s policies and procedures, with the objective of building trust among staff, students, and the wider community. We will deliver on this by

  • Only having three rules. Be Ready, Be Respectful and Be Safe
  • Key procedures being shared around the school building and published on our website
  • An openness of dialogue with staff, students, parents, and carers
  1. Choice

 Students and staff have meaningful choice and a voice in the decision-making process of the school and how we deliver the curriculum and the environment in which we live. We will deliver on this by

  • Circle time each day with an opportunity for all to contribute
  • Staff having ownership of their individual curriculum areas
  • Staff and parents sit on the Board
  1. Collaboration

We recognise the value of staff and students’ experience in overcoming challenges and improving the school as a whole. This is often operationalised through the formal or informal use of peer support and mutually acknowledged self-help. We will deliver on this by

  • The use of the philosophy of Crew
  • Access to a trained therapist in school
  • Twice daily staff meetings. With a reflective focus within the afternoon meeting
  • The Building of Learning Power

5 and 6: Empowerment and Ownership

Efforts are made by the school to share power and give students and staff a strong voice in decision-making, at both individual and organisational levels. We will deliver on this by

  • Circle time
  • Parents and staff sitting on the school board
  • Parental drop in sessions
  • Staff involvement in the development of action plans and future planning
  • Joint planning of the curriculum. Staff and students

Our curriculum offer:

Our curriculum is relevant, purposeful, and authentic

We will provide a relentless focus on quality of work and character development, whilst being mindful that all students have many barriers to learning. We will continually reinforce one of our key values; Learning is for Everyone.

We believe that a person is judged by their character and the quality of the work that they produce

Our students are immersed in project missions covering standards across many subjects.

We ensure our missions are broad and engaging by rigorous mapping of appropriate standards from the national curriculum, GCSE specifications and building on the students interests within each learning activity.

Our students become scientists, historians, artists, authors, geographers, mathematicians, musicians, and engineers.

We utilise the outdoor learning environment and develop a rich and deep understanding of place.

The development of play is at the heart of our curriculum

Underpinning our curriculum is the development and understanding of our three key strands:

Climate Emergency – this is an existential threat so this is an imperative part of our curriculum. If we want our students to change the world, they need to save it first and they need the skills to lead this action. Our students make the knowledge they acquire around this seam powerful by actively making a difference to our world.

Social Justice – the world is filled with inequity and this is sustained by systems, structures and governance that protects the interests of the few and neglects the many. We uncover, confront and challenge inequities of race, gender, identity and class through our work and use the knowledge we acquire to affect social and cultural change. We want our students to be leaders of this change.

Diversity and Belonging – at Old farm School we understand the power of crew and we know our community is stronger because of our differences. This is, therefore, a key strand that runs through many of our missions and case studies allowing our students to deepen their empathy and understanding of the value of difference and non-conformity. We strive for equality at Old Farm School by promoting equity so this is reflected in our curriculum design.

We firmly believe that Learning is For Everyone (Our LIFE curriculum.) We will provide a curriculum that mixes the academic with the development of the emotional, social and character development of our students:

In learning episodes our staff are

  1. Experts in their subject
  2. Involving all students in the learning process
  3. Setting imaginative tasks that challenge and inspire students
  4. Utilising a wide range of approaches and learning resources in order to target different pupils with different abilities and learning styles
  5. Facilitating the learning skills of Perseverance, Collaboration, Questioning and Revising
  6. Checking progress towards objectives in a non-disruptive way

Within our Project Based learning pathway, we currently offer the academic subjects of

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Design and Technology
  • Music
  • Cooking and baking

The projects are built upon national curriculum objectives and are fully audited in our Curriculum Standards Map.

Physical education and our Life and Living curriculums are taught separately from the missions but are interwoven where appropriate

As the students move towards Year 10 for those that are ready, we move into more subject specific lessons, this is always with the aim to build in real life applications for those subjects. We offer GCSE and additional qualifications in

  • English (Language and Literature)
  • Maths
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Catering
  • Duke of Edinburgh

Our option choices that are offered most afternoons are designed to build upon our students’ interests. Within these options, our aim is to build upon the social, emotional and character development of our students. With the development of play at the foundation of what we do. Whilst providing support and opportunities alongside the ability to pursue these interests as a lifelong interest. Our options include:

  • Art workshops
  • Music
  • Health and Fitness
  • Cooking and baking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Gymnastics
  • Forest Schools
  • Skate Park
  • History Adventures (archaeology, historic interest visits, metal detecting)
  • Swimming
  • Enterprise
  • Horticulture

We pledge that all our students will have an opportunity to attend at least one residential experience a year.

Some of our students require additional support. Through our Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) meetings we will signpost any additional interventions required. These can include Speech and Language therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Counselling Services.

"A full programme is in place for careers education. The headteacher has set up and continues to set up links with colleges and businesses in the local area. There is a focus on ensuring pupils leave the school with skills and qualifications that make them employable." - Ofsted, July 2020

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