At The Holmewood School specialist teaching provides a multi-sensory teaching programme, to meet the needs of students with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Dyscalculia, in addition to their autism.
This involves developing decoding strategies for reading, Phonological Awareness, sight words, comprehension and extended writing skills.
Students have access to wide range of software programmes to enhance their learning. All students learn keyboard touch typing, spelling, reading, planning and presentation skills
Numeracy work focuses on specific difficulties with mathematical problems, recall of number facts, sequencing and worded mathematical problems. Again the use of some software programmes enhances students learning.
Specialist teaching is linked with core curriculum class work. Learning support is provided on a one to one basis, small groups, or within the classroom depending on the individual need.
All students follow a tailored made curriculum taking external exams; for example BTECs and GCSEs on subjects that give them a greater opportunity for success.
All students will be assessed on entry to The Holmewood school and will have access arrangements for external exams applied for.
The importance of Structure
Structured teaching and learning provides stability, predictability and security. For many of our students, these are crucial elements to ensuring they are ready and able to learn. The way in which students’ days are structured and organise depends on their individual needs. This can be done through timetabling, rewards, exercise, schedules, reflection, curriculum support and intervention and so on.
Students all have individually structured timetables that can be presented in different formats. This enables each student to identify what to expect during the day and to help them become more organised.
Movement breaks happen throughout the school day. We believe that exercise is a key factor in increased attention and concentration and also contributes to individual’s health and well-being.
In the lower school children take part in circle times. This gives them an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about the day, greet each other and prepare them for a day ahead. It also gives us an opportunity to play some interactive games and teach social skills.
Students in the middle and upper school have time at the beginning and the end of the day to reflect on their learning, celebrate their successes and resolve any difficulties that may have arisen during the school day.
Planned transition times are an important part of our planning. We explicitly teach all our students how to manage these times and how to prepare for change, including planned and unplanned changes.
For more information about the importance of structure, please see our bespoke Autism Practice Guide which highlights the principles of best practice for educating autistic young people at The Holmewood School.
We have weekly SMSC themed assemblies on Thursdays at both the Lower School and the Upper School. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural themed assemblies are planned and delivered by staff across a range of topics. Recent examples of assemblies include Black History month; safeguarding; making friends; THSL values; dealing with mistakes; LGBTQ+ rights; coping with unexpected changes; and various cultural events.
Each Friday we have a celebration of achievements assembly where all the student achievements of the week are celebrated. Certificates are given out for positive behaviours and specialist teachers also give out student of the week certificates for each subject. Students who have been awarded raffle tickets for gold behaviour are put into a pot and have the chance to win a small Amazon voucher for going ‘above and beyond’.
Students also work towards whole class rewards (e.g. an end of term trip/swimming/ice-skating/Natural history museum) by gathering points when they meet shared goals.