Vision & Ethos

The Keystone Academy will work constantly to provide excellence for every learner. With a highly-trained, specialised team, we will support the entire cohort’s needs, particularly focusing on the whole child making sure they make accelerated personal, social and emotional progress as well as academic progress by focusing on individual needs such as: needing a safe, aspirational, positive and creative environment to recapture an often lost passion for learning and creativity.

‘Keystone’ represents far more than just a name for a school. It neatly summarises our vision for the Academy, and expresses the ethos for education we strive to provide; an ethos focused on positive achievement and success at every stage.

A Keystone in a literal sense is the main stone that holds complex structures together and we see our role with this school as a figurative keystone for children, families, support services and wider life ambitions. By adopting this keystone approach, we will make sure there is a core focus on a child centred, fresh start, with full support, to turn around their education to give them real life opportunities. These fall into four main focal areas ‘Child Centred, Engagement, Enablement and Destinations’’

These core values are deliverable with the suggested staffing structure and budget. The plans will be driven and overseen by the YES Trust providing the expertise and capacity to develop an excellent school all stakeholders are proud to be associated with.

While learners are with us, we will base our KS1 & KS2 with a focus on a nurturing curriculum and thematic learning, underpinning foundation phonics, literacy and numeracy skills alongside emotion coaching and developing creativity at every point.

At KS3, the focus turns to the development of wider communication underpinned by literacy and numeracy skills across all areas of the curriculum. The breadth and depth of learning increases and students start to develop a greater interest in option subjects and useful life skills, such as cooking and horticulture while also providing further sensory development.

At KS4, students follow an individual learning pathway, through our ‘webbed curriculum’ over a broad range of ELC and GCSE qualifications; the most-able access a full Progress 8 offer, gaining relevant qualifications to support post-16 destinations.

Students are placed at the very core of all we do. All approaches are child centred, ensuring that each student can maximise their potential through a bespoke and tailored approach in an environment and climate which enables each and every individual to succeed.

Throughout the Academy we employ ‘First Quality Teaching’ which encompasses and builds upon the highly effective planning and skilful design of appropriate learning activities combined with a robust and effective system of tracking student progress, identifying gaps in learning and providing quality, timely intervention. Planning is sequential, based on prior learning, revised and tailored as each student progresses; the curriculum is broad, balanced and relevant, constantly reviewed to ensure it reflects the needs of the cohort and allows pupils to make maximum progress. Curriculum mapping details intent, implementation and impact with high quality schemes of work at all Key Stages providing the basis upon which a wide spectrum of distinctive teaching approaches, strategies and techniques can be applied to planning and teaching to meet the needs of all students across the Academy.

Student engagement is key to the learning process; we urge and empower students to articulate their ideas, develop their understanding and critical thinking skills by actively promoting discussion and participation within a learning environment which is safe and secure for each individual. Working with neuro-diverse/developmental students requires constant evaluation, reflection and review, so that individuals are regularly assessed to identify gaps in skills, knowledge and understanding in order to provide bespoke intervention tailored which will allow them to make progress.

Our focus is on Stage rather than Age so that we develop a curriculum which is continuously reviewed and allows a personalised approach to learning which is matched to students’ individual aptitudes, interests and dispositions; there is therefore a more holistic approach to developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of all students.

We are determined to provide a much-needed, specialist provision with an effective curriculum for students who have previously struggled to find much if any success.

Emotional Well-being and Resilience: In order to create a highly focussed successful provision, every detail of the Academy’s education plan has been developed to support the whole child. Within the academy we will offer dedicated mental health counselling, a variety of support therapies including speech and language as well as education psychology and bespoke parental support to make sure as many elements of a child’s life can be supported through informed practice. We also draw on our extensive experience of trauma informed teaching, known successful education strategies, and recognised education pathways that have successfully led to exceptional outcomes for all learners within the trust from those at risk of permanent exclusion through to high end bespoke individual 25-hour SEN curriculums.

We will be pioneering in our approach to whole-school emotional intelligence coaching and support, working closely in tune with any current developments within Shropshire local authority and moving on to helping the local authority meet the needs of all its children local through first-rate education as a focused joined-up approach. Furthermore, where ever possible we will develop close connections with the LA’s TMBSS and the NHS to help identify those students in need of immediate ‘triage’ to help prevent further trauma i.e. self-harm or exclusion.

ALL students get the support needed to become emotionally healthy, and to grow both personally and socially, by means of detailed ILP’s and a mix of in-house and linked support services.

Staff support students during social development times, encouraging appropriate social interaction, and working informally on interpersonal communication. Lunchtimes are a particular opportunity for students to bond and peer mentor/support one another. This develops a supportive, self-regulating cohort of positive role models, growing in confidence and communication skills. Our cohort may well have issues with confidence and self-esteem, requiring staff to create a positive environment, encouraging inclusion and participation. Love of learning is encouraged by belonging, feeling safe, and feeling respected throughout school. Staff acting fairly, respectfully and being excellent role models helps guide students to take ownership of their own behaviours and learning. Deploying a restorative approach to behaviour and offering a clean slate each day shows how overwhelming emotions can be dealt with and helps model how learners can develop coping strategies and thrive.

The Behaviour policy will clearly and consistently deal with situations positively and in a restorative way (this is an underpinning principle of the trust). The systems adopted by the academy will allow for parents/carers to track their child’s behaviour around school and in class, see what work their child is producing in class and communicate with all staff from admin to the Headteacher and local governors, all in real time throughout the school day. We pride ourselves on open and transparent communication with all stakeholders.

From the outset of KS3, students will be encouraged to work independently and develop organisational skills. There will be high expectations of behaviour and attitudes to learning to prepare students for standards required in mainstream education, the workplace and wider world. Older students will be given opportunities to take on further responsibilities such as independent travel planning, representation of the academy at events and becoming a student leader, focusing on a particular aspect of school development.

To allow students to spend vital time with peers in caring, supportive and informal settings, the extra-curricular programme will be integrated into a slightly longer school day, a half-termly Saturday programme; further supported by an Easter/Summer school club. At KS1/ KS2 & KS3 the range of activities will reflect the preferences and personal interests of students, at KS4 more of this time will be used for engaging with careers’ opportunities and wider educational advancement, but not to the detriment of PSED.

The bespoke curriculum for both academic and vocational learning allows and encourages ALL students to progress towards high-quality destinations.

The curriculum structure proposed enables students to achieve their highest possible qualifications both academically and vocationally, allowing them to gather a repertoire of skills and knowledge anchored around personal pathways. Students will develop positive learning habits – a basis for effective lifelong learning – when they are able to make links and identify patterns which are transferrable across all areas of the curriculum as well as everyday life.

Independent learning is a strong feature of all courses at KS4 in preparation for post-16 study and positive destinations, with students experiencing a broad and balanced SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-dependent) curriculum, accessing the same learning as their peers in mainstream where ever possible but in the effective environment set by the academy. It is vital that students become able to make informed choices for their next steps, and are encouraged to be inquiring about learning, themselves, their teachers and peers.

All students have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) incorporating regular target setting and reviews. The Keystone Academy will foster close relationships with parents/carers bringing them into our learning community striving to maintain 100% online parental engagement, allowing parents to see student work / talk to staff through our parental portal. Progress reporting is facilitated through drop-in sessions, coffee mornings, formal reports and through regular correspondence/advice/classes on how to support their child. This set-up will form the basis of a vibrant parent partnership to help improve the Academy.