CA LONDON: CURRICULUM
The key to success at the school is our ability to work closely with all children so that we may understand their learning patterns and needs. This informs the planning of a pathway for each student as they move through the school. It enables us to plan and achieve successful outcomes for the student at whichever level is appropriate for them.
Our programmes are also diverse and varied, despite our small size. For all Key Stage 3 and Foundation students, for example, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy are an integral part of our curriculum. And depending on the changing needs and requirements of a student, our provision is adjusted accordingly to ensure that the needs of the whole youngster are addressed.
Academics at CA London are broad and varied. Fundamentally, we follow the National Curriculum for all our students at Key Stage 3. From Key Stage 4 students then follow one of two pathways: the Foundation Learning Pathway or the GCSE/High School Diploma pathway.
Key Stage 3
As you would imagine, our emphasis is very much on literacy and numeracy, the cornerstones of and gateway to essential knowledge. In addition to English and Mathematics, we also offer National Curriculum subjects in History, Geography, Science, Art, ICT, RE, Music, Drama and PE.
The Foundation Learning Programme
Our Foundation Learning programme is set up for Key Stage 4 and 5 students who are not following a GCSE pathway. The programme is a route which allows them to track and follow their own progress towards a destination that has been agreed between student, parents and school.
English and Maths qualifications are nationally recognised and these, together with the development of key social and personal skills, ensure our students become more prepared for independent life. The Foundation Learning programme often links with an FE college to promote a successful transition to life outside of school for our learners. For some students, it is possible to combine a programme of Foundation Learning with some GCSEs.
CA London’s GCSE curriculum is broad and balanced. It offers choice options to our students that address a range of skills and interests, thereby giving them the opportunity to earn nationally recognised qualifications. Delivered through a highly supportive programme, their two-year (and when necessary, three year) study will enable them to achieve the outcome most appropriate for their particular needs—whether this be an onward move to a Level 1 or 2 FE college, or to remain at CA London to study for the American High School Diploma.
Students ultimately planning on going to university will be encouraged to take a minimum of five GCSEs, to include English, Mathematics and Science. Additional options may then include subjects such as History, Citizenship, Drama, Film, Art or ICT.
THE AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
We offer the Diploma, the gateway to university study, in place of A-Levels. Recognised by all British universities, the Diploma, unlike the A-Level, is not examination based. Rather, it uses a system of continual assessment wherein a student earns credit for writing essays, conducting research, completing Art or other projects, and engaging in dozens of other subject-based tasks. Significantly broader than the A-Level, the Diploma eliminates much of the anxiety and stress that SEN students feel when sitting examinations.
Students completing their GCSEs may be admitted to the Diploma programme for years 12 and 13. The Diploma focuses on English, Mathematics, History and Sciences. Diploma students generally study each of these subjects together with 1 or 2 additional subjects tailored to the cohort. These may include subjects such as Geography, ICT, Art, Current Affairs and Drama.
We are also pleased to offer a variety of other subjects to serve the individual needs of our students. For instance, we find that at times those who are university or college-bound profit from courses such as Advanced Writing and Current Affairs.
CA London is particularly proud of the Diploma programme—and especially of the fact that in the 21 years we have been offering this programme we have never had a Diploma graduate fail to secure a place at University.
HOMEWORK AND THE PREP PERIOD
We believe that homework is an integral part of learning. It reinforces what has been explored in the student’s classes, it reinforces the student’s effort in class, it develops independence with individual study, it develops skills in organisation and time management, it promotes self-discipline, literacy and numeracy skills—to name but a few.
As CA London is a special needs school, our approach to homework reflects our awareness of the ages, often disparate needs and conditions of our students—and, indeed, our understanding that homework can cause stress and anxiety in many students. Accordingly, homework assignments always reflect flexibility that takes into consideration the learning challenges that each of our students face.
Moreover, because of the nature of the school and our students, homework at CA London is addressed under the guidance of trained and experienced teachers through our daily Prep Period, which takes place after the last class of the day. In essence, homework is done at school, not at home, and this removes the responsibility from the parent and places it where it belongs—on the school.