Upper School

Pupils in the upper school can expect a wide range of learning experiences designed with individual pupil destinations in mind. From Key Stage 3 onwards, all aspects of Upper School provision are focused on providing the skills and knowledge necessary to allow our pupils to make positive contributions to their community and reach their fullest potential. 

Pupils in Key Stage 3 work within the EQUALS curriculum which provides breadth and balance. This is an accredited scheme which rolls on a 5 year programme, which means they will continue to work towards these accreditations until year 11, receiving certification at the end of each academic year. The course in divided into four units including Vocational Studies, Sex and Relationships, Independent Living and World Studies. 

Vocational Studies includes the development of functional and practical skills including the world of work, money and economic wellbeing, and healthy living. 

Independent Living includes advocacy, self-expression and pupil voice as well as personal organisation, looking after the home and themselves, and the use of technology. 

World Studies provides experiences in which pupils can engage with the local and wider community to explore local events, current affairs and world cultures. 

SRE focuses on personal safety in the context of healthy and supportive relationships. 

Communication, teamwork, application of number, self-evaluation and self-improvement are the key skills that are embedded within each unit. 

Pupils with a destination that includes progressing to college at the end of year 11 will work towards Entry 3 BTECs in Vocational Studies, Art and Design and Sport and Leisure. These formal accreditations allow the pupils to develop useful skills which can be used built on in their life after Mill Water. 

Entry 3 BTEC in Vocational Studies helps pupils develop their cooking and daily living skills. They work on using technology for leisure, communication and work, and engage in personalised online safety sessions to learn how to stay safe online. They also work on outdoor activities such as growing vegetables on our allotment, shopping and looking after their health. 

Entry 3 BTEC in Sport and Leisure allows pupil to explore their more competitive side by working on individual sports as well as their collaborative skills when playing team games. We use our own Sports Barn for circuits, team sports, yoga, gymnastics and games. In addition, we have a selection of bicycles and tricycles, a rebound room, fitness suite and local swimming facilities to allow every pupil to have positive experiences of exercise. 

Entry 3 BTEC in Art and Design helps pupils develop their creativity and the vocabulary to describe and self-assess two dimensional and three dimensional art work. During the course, pupils will benefit from visits from artists, experiences of new techniques and materials and visits to galleries. 

6th form: Some of our pupils stay after year 11 to join our 6th form where the curriculum allows them to develop practical and useful skills for living and employment. Over a 3 year period, 6th form students work towards a Diploma in Personal Progress (BTEC). The qualification is divided into units including Supported Employment, Independent Living, Communication Skills, Maths skills and ICT skills. Each pupil has an individualised curriculum which will lead to meaningful accreditation and their course of study is supplemented by a sensory curriculum, enrichment curriculum and individual learning goals (specific targets). 

Functional Skills in ICT, Maths and English: All pupils in Key Stage 4 and some in Key Stage 5 are able to work towards Entry Level Functional Skills. Each pupil begins by working on Pre-entry level skills, initially developed during KS3. Once they have met the standards associated with ‘Fundamental Level’, they can work towards accreditations at Entry Level 1, 2 and 3. Pupils sit tests in May each year and these qualifications can be continued at local colleges beyond Mill Water. The emphasis is on using and applying Maths, English and ICT skills so pupils are encouraged to take the learning out of the classroom and develop these skills in real-life contexts. 

Community Participation: As well as working towards accreditations, Upper school pupils work to become valued members of the local community. All pupils take part in seasonal events such as the annual Carol Service which is hosted and run by pupils from the upper school. Our pupils go shopping once a week and cook what they buy in weekly cooking sessions. We have taken part in regular art projects and enjoy visits from local artists and to local galleries. For those that enjoy sport, we have an annual sports day and for those who prefer to work outside, all pupils either work on the allotment or take part in rural skills sessions. 

At the end of their time in the Upper School we hope that pupils will leave with the skills and understanding necessary to take the next step in their journey. For most of our leavers, this will mean going to college or staying in the 6th form while some will gain employment or engage in work experience, and some will move to residential, supported or independent living accommodation.