The curriculum is organised through modules of work and topics. All the primary National Curriculum subjects and Religious Education are covered, but within the constraints of short-stay admission, and thus the breadth and depth of coverage will be different to mainstream schools. Amber Lodge also follows the Oxford Reading Scheme and uses phonics programme to develop literacy skills.
The curriculum is carefully planned to enable each child to enjoy a successful service experience. On entry, many children may be poorly motivated, lack certain basic skills and experiences, have poor self-esteem or be extremely unsettled and confused. Their Amber School experience will offer them the opportunity for beneficial change so that they can successfully return to school.
This can best be achieved by offering a curriculum which engages the children, providing interest, enjoyment and relevance. There will be a strong emphasis on personal and social education, with behavioural expectations clearly articulated within a supportive and understanding environment. The curriculum will be underpinned by the development of emotional literacy.
The adjustment difficulties of the children will necessitate a range of different school-based responses to meeting their needs, and many will need a significant amount of personal support in engaging in the curriculum. The individual and small-group support available is seen as an important part of the whole curriculum, and often involves teachers taking on a counselling role with children.
The service provides a curriculum which offers appropriate differentiation bearing in mind the individual needs of the children. The service provides an extensive and varied range of classroom approaches and teaching strategies according to the task and nature of the learning group. The curriculum offered varies in pace and depth to reflect differences in abilities, experiences and maturity.
The aim is that all children should be stimulated and challenged by the work. There will be an emphasis on enabling children to function as part of a group. Individual teaching will be provided if necessary and appropriate.
The curriculum is underpinned by the principle of equality of opportunity. The access to the curriculum experiences and opportunities is the same for girls and boys, irrespective of class, cultural background and ethnic origin. The example of school and staff, though the curriculum and school organisation is recognised as having a powerful influence on the children.
Children should leave Amber lodge with a feeling of having been a success and with a positive view of their own future within school, their family and the local community.