What does learning look like at Wandle Valley?

At WVA we use every opportunity to teach and work with our pupils. Learning takes place from the moment the pupils come through the school gates to the moment they leave. At times the staff take the learning to the pupils, and where ever they are.

Some of the pupils who attend WVA have not been in school for a year or more, and the anxieties that come with that can cause a real block and difficulty for them to enter or remain in a classroom situation. With support over time this changes, but in the early stages, learning may take place in a variety of places, such as: a hallway, on a window sill, in the garden, on the field, in the front reception and even at times in the car park.

What does engagement look like at Wandle Valley?

Engagement can be seen in so many ways and not always the so called “norm’. At Wandle Valley, loud voices are a common sound across the school; many of our young people have Speech and Language difficulties that cause frustrations and as a result they feel that speaking loudly is the answer. As a result, sometimes engagement can be noisy and loud. It is also possible for it to be distant and quiet. Pupils may be seen outside of a classroom engaging with staff, but from a distance. Learning to manage themselves and being given silent direction and cues that are not always noticeable to outsiders. At other times, engagement can be seen in a physical manner, a response to a situation and a pupil unable to voice their needs, only knowing the physical way to communicate. With the support of the trained staff, this form of engagement will change over time. At other times, engagement is a class of pupils all talking over each other with excitement and possible frustrations. Engagement is everywhere at Wandle Valley; it doesn’t always look positive, but it is, any interaction is a form of engagement and means that the pupils want to be part of learning. They don’t always have the tools to access it in the same way as those pupils in a mainstream environment, but they will by the time they leave Wandle Valley and move onto their next destination, whenever that is appropriate to the individual pupil.

Wandle Valley offers a unique opportunity to its pupils, by allowing them to learn and engage in the way they need to; in the way they feel that they can. Learning and engagement is not boxed up into a set package, the staff work to what the pupils need at the time. As time progresses, pupils learn how to learn and how to engage positively and are able to show this by moving on to College, Apprenticeships and the World of Work.