Margaret Brearley School - often shortened to MBS works with 3 groups of pupils:
- Pupils with severe learning difficulties
- Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties
- Pupils with multisensory impairment – by this we mean pupils who have a sensory impairment alongside other special needs such as learning difficulties or physical impairment
Our priorities are:
- To help all our pupils enjoy learning and get as much fun out of life as they can
- To identify what our pupils need to learn and challenge them all to make progress
- To support all our pupils to communicate with other people
- To help all our pupils develop their senses and their physical abilities
- To encourage all our pupils to work and play alongside other people
In order to do these things we have written our own specialist curriculum where we find the ‘targets’ that pupils work towards. We organise our classes into two groups (Purple and Yellow classes) so that we can offer the right curriculum to pupils with a wide range of physical, sensory and developmental needs. In the Purple classes pupils are learning to explore their world using their hands and their senses, to make their needs known and to develop physical control. In the Yellow classes pupils communicate using symbols, pictures, speech or sign language, work through the early stages of the National Curriculum and learn to work as part of a group. In the Purple classes our secondary aged pupils improve their communication skills, learn to use their leisure time positively and continue to learn how to use their hands and senses to reach out into the world around them. The Purple secondary classes work towards certificates accredited by ASDAN and OCR which record the progress they make. All pupils in Key Stages 4 and 5 are entered for accreditation and so far they have done very well.
The pupils are always at the centre of what we do. We listen to what they tell us through words, signs and other means of communication so that we can build their school day around activities which they enjoy and find interesting. We find that our pupils learn through activities including play, music, cookery, drama and sensory stories as well as more ‘formal’ work around the table. We spend time learning outside the classroom – around the school grounds or in the local community. We join in a whole range of expressive arts projects such as the Gospel Choir and enjoy working with visiting artists to complete sculptures or play instruments. We place great emphasis on being part of a community which comes together for shared events and celebrations and where pupils are able to take responsibility and look after one another.
Our very skilled staff teams receive specialist training to help them encourage learning and promote independence. All teachers are expected to gain a specialist qualification in learning difficulties or multisensory impairment. We also train our staff in safe moving and handling and the nursing team gives support and training for our pupils with medical conditions, such as the use of feeding pumps and some medications.
We work with speech and language therapists and physiotherapists to identify the next steps in language and physical development. The therapists work directly with pupils and help teachers to plan activities within the class timetable.