Department Overview

Within the faculty, we have a mainstream Student Development (SD) department and an Additionally Resourced Centre (ARC) for children with Autism. The faculty is led by the SENCO, Head of Inclusion.

In the mainstream Student Development department we have a Specialist teacher and a large team of Specialist Support Assistants (SSAs). We are able to deliver a range of support using the Graduated Approach:

  • A key worker is assigned to every pupil in years 7,8,9, who has a Special Educational Need. The key worker will meet with each pupil in the first academic term to agree learning targets. Subsequent meetings are to monitor their individual progress towards achieving their targets and identify any further support they may need.
  • Short term interventions to focus on reading comprehension, writing organization, spelling ( yr 7,8), and exam preparation ( yr10 and 11 only) will target those students , who are identified as below target in English and maths on their Progress reports. This may be in the form of additional in- class support and monitoring of outcomes .
  • Long term interventions (Fixed LS Groups) are offered to those students who are working significantly below age expectations in reading ( 10:10yrs)
  • Adaptations to timetable  via the Study Hub to meet individual needs ( homework support, organization, literacy, maths, re-integration to lessons following extended absence)
  • One-to-one sessions (yr 10 and 11 maths , English)
  • Break, lunch and after school clubs (social and homework)


The mainstream Student Development department has 2 dedicated teaching rooms for intervention groups and a Study Hub for independent work.


The ARC (Autism)

The ARC is an Additionally Resourced Centre for students with specific and complex learning needs, who have a diagnosis of Autism.  Places are allocated by the local authority via a selection panel.  The purpose is to cater for small groups of students in a safe, nurturing and differentiated setting, so that individual needs are met and individual progress is made.  ARC staff are experienced teachers and SSA’s who are well trained in Autism needs in particular.


Year 7 and Year 8 ARC

  • The students in the ARC are taught as a separate group in a range of small classrooms, currently located in the Student Development department.
  • Year 7 and 8 are taught separately but opportunities for inclusion within mainstream activities are embedded within the curriculum.
  • Students have 3 main teachers who will deliver a ranging curriculum, with a focus on visual learning.
  • The curriculum aims to reflect mainstream curriculum.


Year 9 ARC

  • Year 9 ARC go to mainstream for their options, apart from the opportunity to study ASDAN (COPE) which is a course to improve their individual effectiveness.  The course consists of 100% project based work and is taught in the Student Development Department.
  • Year 9,10 and 11 ARC students have the opportunity to access the ARC Study Hub in the Alder ARC for support.


Key Stage 3 Student Development

  • In the first half term of year 7 all students complete the Vernon Spelling test and the NGRT – New Group Reading Test. Students who score below a reading age of 9:10 are invited to an appropriate level of intervention: this could be a long term group intervention for 2 lessons per week on their timetable, or a short term intervention , such as a spelling or grammar course.
  • In Years 7 and 8 we cover a range of topics, which are closely linked to the mainstream schemes, in order to provide opportunities for over-learning. Outcomes are measured each term to determine if further intervention is required.


Key Stage 4 Student Development

  • Our Year 9-11 Asdan group consists predominantly of former ARC pupils. Other pupils with severe or complex learning difficulties can be offered this opportunity, spaces permitting.
  • Asdan CoPE is a skills-based course, which is 100% coursework. Students get the chance to spend sessions every week at Solihull College during Year 10.
  • In Year 11, all students then do the AQA Preparation For Working Life GCSE course.
  • In Year 9-10 (starting September 2017) students will study the Pearson ICT Functional Skills course (Level 1/2).


Assistive Technology

  • Nessie : this reading and spelling games package is used to support the majority of pupils with literacy difficulties. This is an integrated learning system; pupils wear headphones and are immersed in the learning activities.
  • Accelerated Reader programme- students complete a baseline assessment , which indicates their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development. They read books, complete online quizzes to check comprehension and measure their progress termly.
  • Reading pens to support students with independently tackling more challenging texts. Reading Pens have an auditory function to read out sections of text ,which develops the student’s comprehension skills.
  • Use of laptops for students with gross can be allocated where a student will use this as a Normal Way of Working in lessons and therefore use word processing in external examinations  


Skills for Success and Career Opportuntiies

  • Students that have had the benefit from input from the Student Development Department and the ARC will have enthusiasm and zest.  They will be determined to succeed and co-operate with others.  They will have humility, good manners and excellent personal organisation.  They will hold IT skills, which can be utilised in industry and they will be optimistic and responsible.  All of these ‘skills for success’ are transferable into the world of work and will set the students in good stead for their working futures.


Contact the Head of Department

For further information, please contact Mrs. Harvey.