Learning, Independence, Needs and Care (for 19-25 year olds)
LINC aims to provide a bridge between a school setting and the world the learner will transition into. We plan carefully with parents, carers and other professionals and take into account the learner’s voice in preparing suitable provision. We can offer flexible packages to include part time study at a social firm where this is appropriate to the individual.
Our broad curriculum provides learners with a range of experiences and skills to help them live a fulfilled and more independent adult life.
Our adult learners are divided into two groups across two learning spaces and follow either our Blue or Green Pathway. Our adult provision is aimed at learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) or those with severe learning difficulties (SLD). Learners will require a high level of adult support for their learning, communication and personal care and health needs.
Our Blue Pathway learners are predominantly highly sensory learners.
Our Green Pathway is aimed at learners who require additional support with communication, coordination, self-help skills and cognition. It follows the same core areas as the Blue Pathway but moves away from a predominantly sensory focus. Progress across both Pathways is assessed against personalised EHCP outcomes, Blue or Green Pathway targets and the Engagement Model. Our learners also have the opportunity to work towards ASDAN accreditations via the Lifeskills Challenge.
A day in LINC
- LINC students do not have a uniform and should attend in comfortable clothing appropriate for a range of activities, some of which may be PE-based.
Food at LINC
- We appreciate that our students’ wide ranging needs mean that some of them will only eat a restricted diet. That said, please try to keep any snacks or packed lunches as healthy as possible.
- We are a nut free school. Please check that anything you send in is nut free.
- School meals - most of our adult learners supply their own packed lunch, but sometimes our students are supported to cook their lunch on site.
Free school meals - If your son/daughter is eligible for free school meals this will be provided. Check if you are eligible for free school meals by visiting Cambridgeshire County Council website at: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/ and searching “free school meals”
- Many of our learners travel to and from LINC on taxis or mini buses. However, if you live within a certain distance from Highfield you may not be eligible. Please see the County Council website for further information.
- All learners are assessed informally during their first few weeks with us. Progress is measured from this baseline point. Account is taken of previous assessments and information from any previous setting
- At the annual review the individual’s learning and developmental priorities are agreed, forming their EHCP “Outcomes” (targets). Parents/carers, learners, teachers and other professionals work together deciding what are the focus areas for the coming year, and this forms the basis of addressing each learner’s additional needs.
- Learners are assessed against progress towards their EHCP Outcomes and their Pathway framework
- Parents’ and Carers’ Evenings – We hold two evenings, one each in the Autumn and Summer terms. The focus for the autumn evening is to discuss how your son/daughter is settling in and what we plan to work on throughout the year . The summer one is to feedback progress and discuss the next steps in your son or daughter’s learning.
- Annual reviews – A meeting is held annually when each learner’s EHC Plan is reviewed. Parents and professionals are invited. This is part of the statutory process for learners who have an Education, Health and Care Plan
- Evidence for Learning—this software allows us to regularly share your son/daughter’s progress with you in real time. Once you have signed up you will receive a notification each time a piece of evidence is uploaded by the teacher. You can also upload your own evidence of progress if you wish.
- We recognise that our young people are among the most vulnerable and, as such, take their safeguarding and protection extremely seriously.
- We have 6 “Designated people” (DP’s) for Safeguarding at Highfield Ely. These are the Department Leaders, the Head of School and the Executive Headteacher. 1 of these is based full time in LINC. All staff are regularly trained in Safeguarding procedures and we have an ethos of “it could happen here” so that nobody becomes complacent.
- LINC staff have additional training specific to safeguarding adult learners.
- Our Health and Safety committee meets regularly to ensure that the school environment remains a safe, pleasant place to be.
- Please do not hesitate to contact the Head of School if you have any concerns around safeguarding.
- Parents and carers are always very welcome in LINC. We maintain close links and are willing to discuss a learner’s progress and any concerns formally or informally at any mutually convenient time.
- Regular meetings are planned to give parents and carers the opportunity to consult staff about their son/daughter’s progress. The annual review of the EHC Plan is an important meeting for staff, parents, learners and other professionals when progress is assessed and new priorities are planned for the forthcoming year.
- We use an email system for sending home letters and information from the office. Parents are encouraged to set this up when their son/daughter joins LINC. Teachers or office staff will also phone if a conversation is ever needed. Parents and carers are encouraged to keep up a good level of communication with the school.
- For day to day home/school communication we use ‘Class Dojo’. This allows parents and carers to see what we’ve been doing in school and to pass on important information. We value good communication, so if you ever think there’s not enough, please don’t hesitate to speak to your son/daughter’s teacher or the LINC Leader.
Although our curriculum does not explicitly follow the core subject areas found in mainstream educational settings (Maths, Science, Literacy, Geography etc) we incorporate aspects of these into our curriculum. To provide a few examples, we encounter science in our sensory exploration sessions and educational visits. Phonics are a key aspect of her sensory stories and songs. Use of number is introduced through counting songs and rhymes.
Topic themes help to provide context and focus for learning and are helpful in maximising enjoyment and engagement. Topic themes run on a five year rolling programme. Some examples of these themes are:
Learning is based around key engaging texts usually adapted into sensory stories in addition to other themed learning experiences. Learners also have “Wow experiences” for each topic, which include special visitors or educational trips and community visits.
The Blue and Green Pathways are divided into 6 broad areas:
Responsiveness, interaction, intentional communication, preferences and rejection, choice making.
Physiotherapy, fine and gross motor skills, whole body awareness, hydrotherapy, rebound therapy, tac pac, use of the gym.
Anticipation, exploration, contingency awareness, object permanence, attention building, problem solving.
Personal care and health, self care skills, safe transfers and travel, encountering life skills and associated job skills, supported transitions to new settings.
My Social Development
Shared attention, the encounter of play skills through interactions, encounter and explore toys or motivating objects, social skills, tolerance of others, turn taking.
Out and about in the local community, special dates and events, trips and visits, residential trips, environmental communication, special guests, outdoor learning.
Therapies and interventions
Learners at LINC have access to a wide variety of therapies and interventions appropriate to their learning goals and needs. Some of these are:
An aquatic therapy designed specifically to support a pupil’s physiotherapy needs. We have a heated hydrotherapy pool onsite. Hydrotherapy has proven to improve quality of life for pupils with respiratory conditions.
Whole body awareness
This is a technique which helps students understand their own bodies and themselves in relation to others and wider contexts. Whole body awareness helps to develop self-awareness and promotes well-being.
This a sensory communication resource using touch and music to help develop communication and social skills.
One to one interaction between learner and an attentive adult whereby the adult copies the sounds and movements of the learner. This encourages communication and shared attention.
Music therapy utilises different musical styles, methods and instruments and allows learners to express themselves and engage with the outside world in a unique musical language. Learners access music therapy on a 1:1 basis or in small groups.
An exercise therapy, which uses trampolines to provide opportunities for movement, therapeutic exercise and recreation in addition to helping develop communication and social skills.
This is an intervention model designed by Gina Davies, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. It aims to develop natural and spontaneous communication with visually based and highly motivating activities. It also provides opportunities for helping learners to understand transitions.
AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication
This encompasses Makaton, PECS, Communication books, visual supports, the use of switches, timetables and social stories. We aim to have total communication classrooms.
Progression in LINC varies from learner to learner and our highly individualised curriculum is designed to support and reflect this.
Some of our learners will be making small steps through their pathway, developing skills along the way. Others will be focusing on maintaining skills from previous years of learning.
All learners in LINC will be assessed against:
- their individual EHCP outcomes, designed specifically for the individual learner and their specific needs
- their Pathway curriculum
- the Engagement Model (Initiation; Persistence; Exploration; Anticipation; Exploration)
Learners at LINC also have the opportunity to gain accreditations in ASDAN lifeskills. Learners have the opportunity to sign up to a whole range of “Lifeskills Challenges”, including anything from Hydrotherapy skills to Gardening.
Learners can remain at LINC until they turn 25 if it is in their best interest to do so and if learning outcomes are being met.
After LINC, our learners move onto a wide variety of settings, including supported living, day centres and other social care settings. Our aim is to prepare our learners in the best possible way for their transition to these new settings.