Square pegs do not fit into round holes so why keep trying the same? For some children, the traditional classroom setting does not work and can create even further barriers to their learning.
This can often become a revolving door which adds to the loss of crucial real education time for the pupil.
Cherry Tree is a detached building in a quiet residential area and has a warm homely feel and can cater for up to 10 pupils. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and pupils are encouraged to take ownership of their school.
The property also has a large safe garden area with working spaces where various ‘hands on’ projects can be carried out e.g. gardening and upcycling. At Cherry Tree Education our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our pupils.
Our commitment for an engaging and bespoke curriculum is rooted in a desire to bring out the best in all pupils and prepare them for success in life.
For our English, maths and ICT curriculum we use the functional skills BKSB as a diagnostic tool to set levels and to assess on a bi-termly basis.
Each pupil is encouraged to use BKSB regularly so that they take responsibility for their personal development, which helps prepare them for success in their NCFE functional skills examinations.
For pupils who need an integrated plan to allow them time to settle into school life, a variety of environments can be accessed including classrooms without walls using the spacious outdoors of either the local beach or the Kent countryside.
In our experience, pupils who have a history of sporadic education respond well when a variety of these learning environments are available. Through this flexible and adaptable approach, pupils have the time and space to discover their strengths and the way they learn best, which in turn creates the best possible environment ‘fit’ for the pupil to achieve their potential.
We intend to ensure that our pupils are ready for the move to post 16 education or employment, with the ability to show resilience and the competence to interact with peers within society post 16 and beyond.
‘School can be changed from a negative experience to one in which he or she can achieve, and in which his or her self-esteem can be enhanced. These experiences increase resilience and hopefulness’
Our English curriculum is designed to provide all our pupils with the core knowledge and an appreciation of English that is the foundation of this success. We consider the individual interests, experiences and diverse backgrounds of our pupils in our planning to promote engagement. Our curriculum is differentiated for the individual pupil, whilst ensuring that each pupil is taught what is needed to achieve their full potential.
We teach functional skills English from Entry Level 1 upwards to Level 2. The curriculum focuses on spelling, punctuation, grammar, reading and speaking, listening and communication. Our aim is to ensure that all pupils are taught sentence structure including paragraphs, types of text, literary devices and to use resources such as a dictionary and a thesaurus as well as ICT programmes.
Our curriculum intends to fill the gaps that have not yet been met in previous educational settings for our pupils. We aim to do this by teaching fundamental skills using a mix of phonic programmes and spellings to support reading and writing levels. All pupils read on a weekly basis independently and to a staff member. When pupils join Cherry Tree their reading age is assessed.
This is completed once a term to assess progress and promote individual improvement. Pupils take part in weekly spelling tests that are taken from high frequency spelling lists and a more challenging keyword vocabulary to allow our pupils to be stretched. This allows our pupils to focus on areas that require development. Pupils are prepared for spelling and reading assessments and encouraged to take ownership of their own learning by practicing at home and taking part in self-directed learning tasks.
Our pupils are taught using bespoke resources to allow the individual learning style to be considered for each of our pupils. With this in mind, we use resources and activities that are unique and engaging including active learning such as role play and interactive educational games, as well as a diverse range of embedding literary using handwriting exercises which are visual, audio and kinaesthetic in style to both engage and stretch and challenge.
The maths curriculum at Cherry Tree is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, fill in learning gaps and provide first-hand learning experiences which allow the children to develop interpersonal skills and build resilience. It is designed to allow pupils to gain knowledge of mathematical concepts, terminology, notation, facts, generalisations, methods and techniques by meeting the requirements of the NCFE Functional Skills in mathematics from Entry Level 1 to Level 2. Maths functional skills enables pupils to learn a skill base, including communication, teamwork, presentation, and problem solving, that is transferable to other areas of learning, life and work.
Functional skills maths gives pupils the confidence to use their mathematical abilities and skills as they can directly relate the mathematical problems to everyday life. Our maths curriculum enables pupils to develop their number skills and interpret mathematical information presented in a variety of forms using visual, kinaesthetic and audio teaching methods. It is also designed to encourage pupils to be confident in their problem-solving skills to take with them in the future. The BKSB assessment tool is used to assess pupil progression and to aid target setting bi-termly.
Our maths curriculum aims to promote mathematical thinking and transferable skills into everyday life and the world of work or further education.
Cherry Tree’s ICT curriculum is structured around helping the pupils achieve their full potential with computers and in the safest way possible. This is achieved in an environment that allows the pupils to focus on the task in hand and expand on any previous computer experience that they may already possess. Pupils will be taught to use technology, such as PC’s or iPad, to achieve a specific objective that will suit their individual requirements.
Pupils are assessed every two terms through BKSB to track their progress, which also highlights areas they need to focus on from Entry Level 1 to Level 2. Topics that the pupils will cover in the ICT curriculum includes: Computer Basics, Use of the Internet, Images, Communication and Health, Safety and Security. This is implemented through carefully planned lessons to cater for each pupil’s level and is then delivered in an engaging way that uses real life situations so pupils can make sense of their learning. Pupils are given controlled freedom to pick themes for various projects so that there is an established interest from the beginning of the task.
This motivates the pupil which in turn helps them to enjoy their ICT learning.
Pupils are encouraged to use their knowledge from other core subjects to assist them in ICT in a positive and constructive way. Pupils also develop touch typing techniques as advised by our Education Psychologist. through ICT and or DT, Pupils learn new and exciting areas of technology incorporating Animation and Game Coding to highlight the broadness of Computers and how it can be implemented in different ways. We aim to ensure that ICT is engaging, fun and imparts knowledge in a way that helps the children progress with their futures for further education and employment.
Our Entry Level Certificate in Science specification provides flexibility which equips our pupils with the foundations of Science topics. The curriculum focuses on Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Our aim is to ensure that all pupils are taught the fundamental components of animal and human biology including, health, chemistry and imaginative practical investigations, physics and to explore how things work and to engage in independent projects. We use resources and equipment such textbooks, encyclopaedias, and practical equipment which pupils learn to use safely and appropriately.
All pupils are taught scientific keyword vocabulary that equips them with core information to develop their expertise in Science and encourages them to prepare for keyword class-based assessments.
It is essential for pupils who present with attachment difficulties, trauma based mental health issues, high anxieties and specific learning difficulties to have the time and space to firstly feel safe, secondly engage in learning and thirdly enjoy the feeling of learning and change.
At Cherry Tree we provide a range of visible and invisible opportunities of thoughtful and enriching experiences which helps pupils to understand themselves, others and the world around them. The ethos of Cherry Tree underpins and highlights the importance of investing in personal development for the long-lasting impact on our pupils.
The school is safe, calm and happy and stimulates and supports all pupil’s learning. The PSD and RSE curriculum include areas of focus such as interpersonal communication skills, environmental awareness, healthy living, managing relationships and staying safe. The PSD curriculum also encourages the pupils to translate their learning into an NCFE qualification. This allows the pupils to build up their knowledge and achievements in a way that is meaningful to them.
As well as access to regular counselling sessions, each pupil has a regular 1-1 and a bi-termly Personal Development session where they are encouraged to talk through and discuss any issues they may be having and to also discuss and celebrate their achievements.
Regular social opportunities are created e.g. after school clubs, trips and social events which enable and encourage pupils to widen their social skills and opportunities. Our school lunch times are also used as valuable learning opportunities where ‘thought of the day’ and ‘fact of the day’ are shared.
This promotes and encourages pupils to think about others in need and or other’s achievements around the world. We also encourage all pupils to engage in ‘question of the day’ so that they can learn about their qualities, their opinions and their view of themselves and others. This activity has been so successful that the headteacher will be submitting the outcomes of this activity for publication.
History, Geography and Religious Education learning teaches the pupils about the world they live in and how it has changed over time. At Cherry Tree school it is our intention to give pupils a rounded education on these subjects. It helps them to develop historical and geographical skills alongside learning about various religions to accept peoples differing beliefs. Humanities may be taught with a general project that will incorporate all three subjects.
History will help pupils gain knowledge of the past to encourage curiosity to develop research skills to develop perspective and judgement alongside developing a sense of chronology.
Religious education will help pupils understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies between different groups. We promote and inspire pupils to accept people’s differences and beliefs and understand that there are many faiths to choose from, if at all.
Geography is an element that will increase our pupil’s curiosity about the world we live in and where in that world we live. We aim to equip pupils with the knowledge about diverse places, people, resources, natural and human environments. Our intention is to help pupils investigate and question the interaction between human and physical geography, and to understand the man made and natural processes that impact our planet.