All Olive Academies’ alternative provision (AP) schools have remained open during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and our staff have continued to carefully support those children and young people who have had to stay at home and been unable to attend their academies over the last few months.
Like Olive Academies, most AP settings from across the country have remained open during the pandemic; carrying out specialist targeted work with pupils with a variety of additional needs. As AP schools and academies prepare to now welcome back more of our pupils, a new guide has been produced to support leaders with their planning.
Mark Vickers, Chief Executive of Olive Academies has been working with leaders of alternative provision (AP) and specialist settings to produce a guide to support schools and academies as they prepare for a gradual return of pupils. The guide aims to share best practice, recent learning and provide support for all AP colleagues and fellow AP leaders during this challenging time.
The guide was produced collaboratively by:
Mark Vickers, Olive Academies (Chair AP/SEND CEO Network)
Cath Kitchen, The Skylark Partnership (Director of National Association of Hospital Education)
Sarah Dove, Phoenix Education Consultancy (President of PRUsAP)
Emma Bradshaw, Alternative Learning Trust
Nic Brindle, The Yes Trust
John Bradshaw, London East Alternative Provision (LEAP)
Rob Gasson, The Wave Multi-Academy Trust
Marie Gentles, Magic Behaviour Management
Extract from introduction:
“…The starting point for planning any increase in offer is ensuring it is carefully targeted to those pupils who need it most and that it builds incrementally on the work which is currently taking place. To date, this work has focused on ensuring that the needs of pupils are met through the implementation of tiered support programmes. We see this as an opportunity for leaders to develop this work further to directly support those pupils who need it most. Some children and young people may have fallen further behind during the last few months despite the considerable work that has been undertaken by AP settings.
AP leaders know their pupils best and therefore are best placed to target the increased direct support for those pupils, providing personalised learning programmes delivered in their settings with specialist staff. This provides an excellent opportunity to continue to place the wellbeing needs at the centre of any decision-making by leaders which will form the bedrock of any individualised offer.
Pupils of all ages will inevitably be anxious about the implications of missing so much formal schooling during the pandemic. For AP leaders planning a range of specialist support programmes to help pupils overcome these barriers is already part of our everyday work and transitions support for years 6, 11 and post 16 programmes are well developed and established. The work to welcome more pupils provides the opportunity for AP staff to increase their current offer and assess each pupil’s pastoral and academic needs so that they can be helped to feel better prepared for the next stage of their education.
It is hoped that AP settings can continue to offer many of the flexible programmes that are currently being provided, and that pupils have the opportunity to remain with their AP until they are ready to transition. Any increase in offer over time should form part of a local continuum of offer over the remainder of the summer term. AP leaders welcome the opportunity to reconnect, reform those essential relationships and support their pupils using the skills that already exist in the sector. We know that every AP leader knows their cohorts, their context, their communities. This guide is not designed to be a ‘handbook’. However, we hope that you will find it a useful source of information whilst considering any changes to your offer as you start to consider widening your offer to students…”