A Case Study

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    • 00:05


    • 00:14

      NARRATOR: St. Christopher's School in Wrexhamis one of the largest special schools in Wales.And award-winning head teacher Maxine Pittawayhas created an innovative, socially enterprising schoolenvironment.

    • 00:26

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: We'll all be fine.I just sewed you up.I don't want you coming apart in the middle of the song.We have a very open-door policy, so we take childrenwith all sorts of disabilities or difficulties.And our ethos, I think, is about everybody building their futureand doing something that they cando to the best of their ability. [Maxine Pittaway, Headteacher,

    • 00:48

      MAXINE PITTAWAY [continued]: St. Christopher's School, Wrexham].And I think it runs right through the schoolthat we challenge the children.And then we just hope that along the journey they make with us,they become good citizens when they leave.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 01:03

      NARRATOR: St. Christopher's have created a unique environmentfor learning.Alongside their academic studies,teachers and students are successfullyrunning sustainable social enterprisesfrom within the school premises.

    • 01:15

      SPEAKER 1: Are you going to the club tonight, Patty?

    • 01:18

      NARRATOR: What they've discoveredis that these opportunities for independent learning and peermentoring fitted well into the assessment for learning modelthat they've embedded throughout the school.

    • 01:27

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: Our main enterprisesare our hair salon, our cafe, our beauty salon, our carvaleting business.So it's real-life experiences thatgive children an experience of the community that they're in.

    • 01:40

      JEFF EGGINGTON: Is there anybody nowwho would like to give their feedback in front of the groupto the person next to them?

    • 01:46

      NARRATOR: When they first applied the assessmentfor learning model across the school, Maxine and her teamrealized that they needed to find creative ways to ensurepeer mentoring and assessment was given a safe placeto flourish, particularly for those teachers workingwith behavior support.

    • 02:02

      JEFF EGGINGTON: So some of your capital letters,you should make a bit bigger.Make them stand out as capitals.

    • 02:07

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: Assessment for learning'sworked really well with the behavior support unit.Because they'd always wanted that typeof philosophy and structure.They work well with structures.The only difficulty with them is thereare children that do not accept criticism from their peers,because they don't want to share their work with somebody else.They don't want somebody to look at it.They don't want to experience some of the critical parts

    • 02:28

      MAXINE PITTAWAY [continued]: of the assessment for learning.They just want to have a good tick at the end of their workand be told, that's a great job you're doing thereand move on to the next phase.So we've adapted it considerably in that area.

    • 02:40

      JEFF EGGINGTON: OK, you've had a chance to look at your own worknow.And in a second, you're going to become a teacherfor about five minutes.And you're going to look at somebody else's work,and we're going to give that person some feedbackand say how we think they've done.Before we have the skills framework,there's a lot more content into the curriculum.[Jeff Eggington, Assistant Headteacher, St. Christopher's

    • 03:01

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: School, Wrexham].And so, the assessment tended to bemore around the content being metin a fairly individualized way.But with the skills framework, we'vehad to change, because we're looking at specificallywhere skills are being met.I think, in many ways in this school,we were slightly ahead of the game.Because we've always had to look at those issues of basic skills

    • 03:24

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: and how they develop with our pupils.But it's refocused us.Nobody is going to pick up the book and laugh at itand say, ha ha ha, that's a load of rubbish.Because how do you feel if somebody does that?

    • 03:33

      SPEAKER 2: I wouldn't be happy.

    • 03:34

      JEFF EGGINGTON: You wouldn't be happy.Shannon?

    • 03:36

      SHANNON: Upset.

    • 03:37

      JEFF EGGINGTON: Upset.OK.In terms of tracking pupils and assessment,in general, the challenge is that our pupils do invariablymake small steps.The national curriculum itself is delivered to youin quite large chunks, and you haveto go away and break that down.It's important.

    • 03:57

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: Because otherwise, the pupils mayfeel that if you were simply to level them,they may be on level one for a long time.And that's no use to anybody.They have to know that the level really is irrelevant.It's that they are making progressand how they are making progress.And they're also getting used to accepting criticism and giving

    • 04:18

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: criticism in a positive way.We obviously do classroom-based activities.But to supplement those, we have a huge rangeof enterprise activities and off-site activities.

    • 04:33

      SPEAKER 3: Is this OK on your head?

    • 04:35

      SPEAKER 4: Yeah.

    • 04:36

      SPEAKER 3: Yeah?

    • 04:37

      SPEAKER 4: Yeah.

    • 04:38

      NARRATOR: By developing enterprise education,St. Christopher's have given their ex-students and currentstudents opportunities for peer mentoring and peer assessment.

    • 04:50

      SPEAKER 5: First of all, I came to St. Christopher's whenI was about eight, and I was sitting in [INAUDIBLE] class.Then I moved on to different classes.Age 14, I got a little bit fed up with the class,so I decided I wanted to become a hairdresser.So I came into the salon.I done OCN, Open College Network, and NVQ Level 1,

    • 05:13

      SPEAKER 5 [continued]: then NVQ Level 2.I've gone on.I was a support worker for other students.

    • 05:19

      NARRATOR: The hairdressing salon is based on the school premisesand is run by students and staff as a successful business.But tutor Helen Jones applies the assessmentfor learning framework to all that they do.

    • 05:33

      HELEN JONES: A lot of people, including myself,I'm a very hands-on person.And I believe that the assessmentfor learning, as long as they reinforce their knowledgeand understanding of something through questioning, writing,we also use diaries as reflective practice, so again,that's reinforcing and helping the studentto identify areas of weakness of their development.

    • 05:54

      HELEN JONES [continued]: And the students don't have to just come at the end of a yearto know their progression.We give student feedback and evaluation.Students are encouraged to give evaluationsas well, because it's not only themthat it's important to develop.It's us as well.And there's no better feedback to get than from students.

    • 06:14

      SPEAKER 6: Been on medications since I was little.And since I've come here, I've beenable to come off some medication,because it's calmed me a lot down.Graduated with me NVQ Level 1, hair and beauty.And then I graduated with my case goalsand got a diploma in administration.

    • 06:34

      SPEAKER 6 [continued]: But I get on with quite a lot of people,because I feel like I know where they've been.Because I've been where they are right now,if they don't like school or if theycome from a different school.So I could relate to them, because I'vebeen where they are.

    • 06:46

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: I'm a real believerin assessment for learning, because Ithink it gives children clear guidelines.It makes them active participants in their lessons.It also gives a clear structure to the teachersso they know exactly what they've gotto do in any of their lessons.So it's quite consistent for children as well.And it also makes teachers aware how important

    • 07:09

      MAXINE PITTAWAY [continued]: it is to the children that they are encouragedduring the lessons, so that they know that they're on trackand that they get from each other help and support.And enterprise education really gave us that opportunity.The children could be really active in their learning.

    • 07:26

      NARRATOR: Students taking part in the education enterprisesat St. Christopher's began to grow in confidencein their own independent learning,and most importantly, found a safe placeto assess themselves, as well as their peers.

    • 07:42

      HELEN JONES: Every NVQ file that we get,or every NVQ student that we get,we create two files, one for practical evidence,which all their assessment work goes into and another onefor their theoretical, to demonstrate and to bringknowledge.But we use it for literacy and for themto reflect back if they're unsure of anything.So if they ask me, it's like, go look at your diaries.

    • 08:03

      HELEN JONES [continued]: It's there.You put it in your diary.And then, again, it's up to the learner.Every assessment they do, they write down the date,so it's student-centered.They can see and note their progression.And they seem enthused by the fact.As soon as they see the little completed units startto appear, then they can manage it themselves

    • 08:24

      HELEN JONES [continued]: how many assessments they've got to do.And, of course, they then start to compare it with their peersas well.So that motivates them on even further.All right, so what are you going to do now?

    • 08:34

      SPEAKER 3: Section her hair.

    • 08:35

      HELEN JONES: Why?Why do you section hair?

    • 08:37

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: Helen delivers the NVQ coursein hairdressing and in beauty.It's given her the opportunity to takea really practical subject and to then make itinto a really academic subject.And her work, for me, if she's compiling a file, for example,about their skills, those skills need

    • 08:58

      MAXINE PITTAWAY [continued]: to be shared with teachers in other lessons.Because they can see then, well, they can do this here,so they should be able to do this somewhere else.So it's been really positive.And Helen has really embraced the whole notion of childrenlearn by experience, which is reallyimportant and transferable skills.

    • 09:16

      HELEN JONES: The only thing we're allowed to wear is a--

    • 09:18

      SPEAKER 3: Wedding ring.

    • 09:19

      HELEN JONES: Wedding ring.Why can't we wear jewelry during our [INAUDIBLE], what have you?

    • 09:22

      JEFF EGGINGTON: The experiential learningis absolutely vital to our pupils.You're looking at their oracy skills.You're looking at how they are communicatingwith other people, people they don't know,working with others, working with staff.You've then got, obviously, the numeracy skills, wherethey handle their money and havingto deal with number and money hands-on.

    • 09:43

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: People think children with special needscan't do things independently.They do struggle, but we always have a way,if you like, looking at a different option of howwe can do it.And all our work, obviously, all our enterprisework, for example, it's all about the children beingindependent learners.So that transferable skill then comes into the classroom.

    • 10:04

      NARRATOR: At St. Christopher's, theyfound that the social skills and growingindependence the students acquired in enterpriseeducation filtered back to the classroom, most significantlyin peer to peer assessment.And this began with some of their younger students.

    • 10:18

      JEFF EGGINGTON: Capital, so Tom knows himself, yeah?

    • 10:20

      TOM: Oh, my god.

    • 10:21

      JEFF EGGINGTON: So your one advice for himis, there's one capital letter in the wrong place.But I would say to Tom, look Tom,it's only a small thing, because your handwriting's lovely.Your title's underlined.Everything's great, just that one little thing,just that capital G. Other than that, brilliant.It is important that you do model these processesfor the pupils.And at first, we were doing it with staff.

    • 10:41

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: So I might use another member of staff in the classroom.Obviously, I'd talk to them firstand say, I really liked the way you didthis and the way you did that.But you might be able to do this better.So it was all about modeling and modeling really simple tasks.Well, you tell me, what would your feedback to Louis be?Try and make him feel good.Because if there's only one little thing,we don't want to go on about it, do we?

    • 11:01

      TOM: If you were going to put a capital letter,make sure you do it after the full stop, instead of.

    • 11:06

      JEFF EGGINGTON: OK.So tell him what you like now, the twothings you like about his work.

    • 11:10

      TOM: Hand's clear.

    • 11:11

      JEFF EGGINGTON: It's clear handwriting, yeah.

    • 11:12

      TOM: It's got capital letters as well.

    • 11:14

      JEFF EGGINGTON: Yeah, good.I mean, as a teacher, one of the most nerve-racking things youcan do is stand before other teachersand talk about what you do and throw yourselfopen to your peers.And these are their peers.And I think when they're talking to each otherand listening to each other, it'sfar more important to have everything rightand make it look as good as possible.You don't want to present your peers with something

    • 11:36

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: they can be overly critical about.And so, it does give them that motivation, once theyknow their peers are going to look at it, to maybe just stepit up and make sure that everything is going to be OKand do their very best.

    • 11:48

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: We banned red pens.They are only allowed-- the children can usethem to underline their work.But no teacher's allowed to mark in red.And I think it made a real positive impact on the schooland on their confidence.And we try as much as we can to always look for the positivesand strengths of the children.

    • 12:07

      TOM: I think Louis has done tremendous as well.

    • 12:09

      JEFF EGGINGTON: Has he done tremendous?Let's have a look.A great example of our peer to peermarking, once we established it, we did justdo some work on creating sentences.And one young man made a range of errors throughout.After his peer had spoken to him,we repeated the exercise in the afternoon.

    • 12:30

      JEFF EGGINGTON [continued]: And he did not make those errors again.

    • 12:32

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: Because I think it'svery important that children learn by doing things, as wellas them having academic activities in the classroom.And we found the more enterprise opportunitieswe gave the children, the better theybecame in doing the skills-based curriculum that we needed.

    • 12:48

      HELEN JONES: It's trying to teach learner autonomy, gettingthem to think for themselves.They also get to learn as well that they'rerelied upon by not just us as staff, other students,and their clients.It's growth.You see them grow and develop over that period of timethat they're with us.And that is motivating for us as staff.

    • 13:09

      MAXINE PITTAWAY: When you do something like the enterpriseeducation, or something like after-school clubs,or putting in basic skills, intervention packages,you can never say which is the one thatmakes the impact, because they're allmeasurable in their own areas.And they're all good, but the impact is children improve.And our accreditation here has got better year on year.

    • 13:30

      MAXINE PITTAWAY [continued]: And I think it's all down to the actual structureswe've put in place, especially with assessment for learning.It's the driving force, if you like,for every aspect of the school.[MUSIC PLAYING]

A Case Study

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The staff of St. Christopher's School describe and show how they use enterprise education to help students with special educational needs develop their social and academic skills.

A Case Study

The staff of St. Christopher's School describe and show how they use enterprise education to help students with special educational needs develop their social and academic skills.

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