A successful transition into AP

Tailored music sessions acted as a catalyst for building confidence, which saw a previously disengaged student go on to make good progress in core subjects and achieve 100% attendance.

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Background

The core purpose of our AP outreach programmes is to re-engage students in their learning and, wherever possible, supporting them and their school to maintain their place in mainstream education. However, in some instances it is necessary for students to transition into AP for a period of time in order for their needs to be best met. This case study explores the journey from outreach to AP transition for a Year 9 student.

After a partnership agreement had been made with the home school, staff from Olive AP Academy - Suffolk carried out a deep dive of the identified pupils’ historic safeguarding and SEND information and arrangements to determine how best to support this individual.

The package of support for the child featured in this case study was initially focused on pillar two of our outreach continuum but at the end of the AP outreach programme we were working towards transition into AP (pillar 4), demonstrating the flexibility in our approach in order to fully support individuals.

Continuum for OA Sf transition case study
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The challenges

The deep dive identified several challenges for the school, including with a group of key stage (KS) 3 students:

  • Inconsistency in the way staff support students with SEND.
  • There was an established culture among many KS3 students of habitual conflict and sexualised harassment. The student who is the subject of this case study, was a one of six male students in years 7 and 9 who were regular initiators of conflicts with peers.
  • This student is in Year 9 and has an EHC plan. He has learning difficulties, and this makes him susceptible to influence by others. He tends to be very tactile and unaware of how this may make other people feel and react.
  • His engagement in learning was weak. He had a tendency to refuse tasks and walk out of the classroom if challenged.
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The solution

The Mini-PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) meeting is a central component of our AP outreach offer in Suffolk. It is an effective, evidence-informed, participatory, needs assessment meeting that staff at OA-Sf are skilled in running with students. This approach was used to build a broad understanding of the student’s interests, motivations and needs. The summary produced sets out positives to build on, challenges to accept and ambitions and dreams to work towards, with both the student and all adults involved committing to support the process.

An anonymised example of a mini-PATH summary is below:

OA Sf Mini PATH example
  • During the mini-PATH meeting, a picture of the student’s impulsive behaviours and SEND-related misunderstandings were pieced together, including his naivety about how his peers might react to his tactile nature. He also confirmed significant gaps in his learning from previous years and very low confidence in written work.
  • Part of the agreement was for the student to join a group of five other KS3 students on a part-time, AP outreach programme: two days per week at OA-Sf for a term and a half.
  • There were similar learning needs across the group, as well as their individual goals. The programme had activities to develop self-confidence and self-efficacy plus building trust and relationships. The student was really positive about the tailored learning in music, and this acted as a catalyst for his confidence, which saw him start to make good progress in English and maths as well.
  • Weekly liaison between OA-Sf and the home school about progress and challenges in both settings took place throughout. Towards the end of the programme, the meetings moved on to planning the adaptations and tailored learning necessary for the student’s successful reintegration full-time to the home school.
  • Also, support and advice were offered to the home school to improve the RSHE curriculum, especially content on sexual harassment and consent.
OA Sf Transition case study
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The impacts

The student’s enjoyment of music has been an important ingredient to build his interest and confidence in learning. His engagement in lessons and in learning has improved considerably. He also used Zones of Regulation strategies to deal with challenges from staff and to think about how he approached his peers.

The home school was unable to commit to the adaptations necessary for a successful reintegration so a joint decision was made with the local authority to admit this student full-time to Olive AP Academy - Suffolk, with the intention of reintegrating to a new mainstream school during year 10. The arrangement has been incredibly positive for this student with 100% attendance and good engagement when learning English and maths, and also in our enrichment curriculum.

Ellen Watson

Head of Academy, Olive AP Academy - Suffolk

By taking the time to get to know this pupil we soon discovered his love for music and were able to provide music workshops which offered an outlet for some of his emotions, as well as opportunities to experience success. These successes led him to grow in confidence which fed into other areas of learning across the curriculum.

For more information about Olive Academies' AP outreach offer, please contact us:

T: 01708 982624

E: info@oliveacademies.org.uk

Our commitment

In line with the DfE’s SEND and AP Improvement Plan, Olive Academies is committed to working with local mainstream schools to help them better support pupils before exclusion is considered.

Find out more about our approach