Our School Day

School starts at 9:00. Most children arrive to school by taxi or mini bus provided by Schools Transport. They are met by staff. All pupils are encouraged to be as independent as possible finding their way to their classrooms. Support is given for those who need assistance.

Some parents transport their own children to school. Children brought in by families are dropped at the front entrance where they will be collected by a member of the class team. Families with children in EYFS may bring their children to the classrooms but will need to sign in, be accompanied and wear a red lanyard at all times. As children move up to primary classes they are encouraged to go to classrooms with support staff or independently.

The first session of the day focuses on independence and ‘getting ready for learning’. Pupils arrive at different times so classrooms are set up for individual learning tasks, (generally linked to their EHCPs). Pupils are encouraged to be as independent as possible, e.g. self-registration, hanging up their coats, communicating messages from home etc.

During PLI many pupils will be transferred into workchairs so they are in the best position for learning. Others will be transferred into powerchairs for maximum independence or supported into or onto other equipment aimed to maintain their range of movement, comfort and mobility such as a stander, bench, wedge or Acheeva bed.

For EYFS, this initial session of the day has a similar focus but is called PSED (Personal, Social, Emotional Development) and C & L (Communication & Language) in line with the EYFS areas of learning.

All classes start the day with a communication and interaction and literacy session. The content of the lesson varies according to the age and stage of the pupils in each class but the priority given to this session recognises the key role that language development plays in all areas of learning.

This is the session where many pupils access the academy phonics programme and all practice core vocabulary and the signs of the week. All learners, (emerging, early and established learners) are exposed to a range of literature which may support or sit apart from the termly topic. Some, (our established learners) may practice spellings, others, (our emerging learners) may focus on sound discrimination and forms of intensive interaction. Pupils will practice individual reading goals and take part in shared reading too which may come in the form of sensory or massage stories, picture books or chapter books.

For EYFS, this session is called C & L (Communication & Language).

Our 10:10 session is a Cognition and Learning session. The focus of this session is for pupils to practice applying their communication and literacy skills in a topic-based context. Each term has a theme which varies according to whether they are in EYFS, Primary or Secondary. This session generally combines Understanding the World with Communication and Interaction and Literacy but more established learners may continue to focus more heavily on Literacy.

All our learners access a lot of their learning in cross-curricular ways. EYFS access the 3 Prime Areas of Learning and the 4 Specific Areas of Learning through a Continuous Provision model. For further information about how EYFS learn, please contact our EYFS and Primary Lead Amanda Jebb.

Our 10:40 session is known as SCI. The focus of this session is communication. During this session, some children work on communicating preferences of food, people or activities. Others work on developing those social communication skills that are so important when sharing time with others, whether eating, playing or simply being together. There is also plenty of opportunity during this sessions to develop other independence skills: putting on a coat to go outside, unwrapping their own chocolate bar wrapper, trying different foods etc. Speech and Language Therapists support teachers in tailoring these sessions to the needs of individual pupils.

Our 11:10 session focuses on Numeracy and Science and Technology. For the majority, learning is very much embedded in the term’s theme and through the Understanding the World curriculum. Our more established learners continue to access these areas of the curriculum through the term’s topic but lessons are more geared towards subject-specific content.

At Thomas Wolsey we adopt a ‘family dining’ model. Pupils eat with their pastoral groups in their classrooms. This model works best for our pupils, many of whom require a quieter environment for eating as eating can be very effortful.

Lunchtime is still considered very much a learning time for our pupils; many have personal targets based around feeding such as choice-making, or using a fork or trying different foods. Where possible, pupils are encouraged to use this opportunity to participate in conversation and practice life skills such as table manners or washing up.

Alternative activities are provided for pupils who are tube-fed which focus on play or encouraging social interaction.

After lunch, pupils have opportunities to join in with extra-curricular clubs run by our playworker, or play in one of our 2 playgrounds, (one for younger children, (EYFS & KS1) and one for KS2-4).  Pupils are supervised by our special support staff and our welfare team.

The half-hour session after lunch aims to refocus pupils and get the ready for their afternoon session. This varies according to the age, stage and needs of each pupil. It may include activities such as Attention Bucket, (which helps pupils learn to concentrate), Sensology, (which helps ‘wake up the senses’) or Mind and Body Workouts, (which help pupils regulate their emotions after lunchtime). More established learners may not require the full half-hour and after registration may head straight into the afternoon session. Alternatively, they may engage with an afternoon challenge or a short-focused activity such as a quiz to introduce the afternoon’s learning.

In EYFS this session is also adult-led to encourage focus and build communication skills.

Afternoon sessions are generally cross-curricular and focus on the term’s topic. They will vary according to age and stage.

The final session of the day may be combined with the 1:45 session or may be a stand alone.

Home-time is staggered as pupils are called for their taxis. Pupils are encouraged to make their way to their taxis independently. Pupils engage in personalised learning tasks whilst waiting for their taxis such as reading or fine motor tasks.

Throughout the week, pupils engage in specific sessions: assembly, PD and swimming.