Pupils in the Foundation Department (2 – 7 years) usually attend full time but if they are under statutory school age they may attend on a part time basis. Their curriculum is based on the Foundation Phase curriculum but adapted to the individual needs of the children. Settling into school routines is an important element for this age group.
The outdoor environment is also a very special part of the curriculum at the foundation phase. It is incorporated into daily planning for the children and is used to support learning at every opportunity. Assessment of development and learning needs will be ongoing throughout the year.
After initial observations, and in conjunction with parents and other professionals, the staff prepare programmes of activity designed to promote development and maximise each individual’s progress in areas highlighted as in need of extra attention. A high priority is given to communication skills and personal development. Strong links are in place for shared sessions with our mainstream primary school. In addition, some children spend one or two sessions a week at their own local school if this is requested by parents. If such an arrangement is put in place then children are accompanied by the specialist school staff.
Key Stage 2
Children move from the Foundation Phase into KS2 for the school year following their 7th birthday. At Pen Coch they continue to be taught in small groups (6-10 children) with a high level of staffing to meet their learning, social and care needs. We currently have seven classes in KS2 each organised to be very responsive to its particular group of children.
Teachers plan learning activities to cover all six Areas of Learning and Experience so the children have a broad and balanced curriculum with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and progress. Play based, hands on and child led approaches to lessons and activities remain central to our teaching style as these are the most motivating ways to help our children learn. If work of a more formal nature is appropriate for a class their teacher will plan accordingly. Likewise, if children need a sensory and affective curriculum, their class will be organised that way. KS2 still makes use of the full range of facilities, support strategies and therapeutic learning available in school. So if your child needs hydrotherapy, a visual timetable or has benefited from Lego based therapy these will continue into KS2. Class teachers work closely with families and other professionals to ensure that each child gets the right activities and support to enable them to flourish.
We place emphasis on the children developing their independence skills in a range of contexts across the school day, such as undressing and dressing for PE, checking the weather to decide when to wear their coat and boots, organising their belongings at home time, using role play during individual work, community visits to the shops, libraries, parks.
As your child moves up through KS2 your thoughts will naturally turn to secondary school. Almost all of our children move up to Ysgol Maes Hyfryd, Flintshire’s secondary specialist school (and also in Flint). Together with our colleagues at Maes Hyfryd each year we run an enhanced transition programme to ensure this move is as smooth as possible for your child