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Athena Rationale

ATHENA at Astrea Academy Dearne

What is Athena?

Athena is an alternative provision for students who join the school who have either SEND E or K designation and are significantly behind age related expectation. The provision is about to move into its third year, spanning years 7 to 11. It has been developed in collaboration with colleagues from both the primary and secondary sectors to ensure all students at our school achieve success. We have a ‘primary approach, secondary expectation’ mantra that under pins all we do. We were thrilled to be recognised as an ‘Area of Excellence’ for SEND by Challenge Partners in July 2019 and recently been awarded the further accolade of ‘Most Dedicated Mainstream SEN Learning Environment in South Yorkshire’ by Corporate Vision.

Athena Strategy

Initially, students join Athena in Year 7. Through close liaison with our Feeder Primary schools we identify students who are not yet Key Stage 3 ready. It is a fluid intervention strategy and students graduate back into our mainstream curriculum offer when they are deemed ready but they can stay with Athena for all of Year 7 and 8. There are currently 20 places available spanning 7 and 8. The group is allocated two colleagues at all times.

The curriculum is built upon the National Curriculum objectives from Year 5 to 8 as students are yet to have mastered these key building blocks which would be a barrier to learning in Year 7 and beyond.

In Year 7 and 8 we offer:

English (20 hours per fortnight)

Maths (10 hours per fortnight)

Humanities (4 hours per fortnight)

Science (4 hours per fortnight)

Art (2 hours per fortnight)

Drama (2 hours per fortnight)

Music (1 hour per fortnight)

Computer Studies (1 hour per fortnight)

MFL (1 hour per fortnight)

PE (2 hours per fortnight)

Food (2 hours per fortnight)

Prep for Adult Life (1 hour per fortnight)

It is essential for Athena students to integrate with their peers on a daily basis, therefore, students attend form time and social times in mainstream school. English, maths, science, humanities, prep for adult life and MFL are taught in our SEND Faculty. The classroom mirrors a primary setting. However, students access drama, art, music, food, computer studies and PE in the mainstream building.

Athena is delivered through a half termly theme that threads through all subjects.

Autumn 1: Supernatural

Autumn 2: War

Spring 1: Identity

Spring 2: Other Cultures

Summer 1: Relationships

Summer 2: The Natural World

 

Just over 50% of the Athena curriculum in 7/8 is planned and delivered by primary colleagues with experience in all phases from EYFS to Year 6 they bring a wealth of experience and resources to support students who are not yet Key Stage 3 ready which includes working below Year 6 objectives where necessary. Our HLTAs work closely with our Athena students within lessons and offering further one to one support using Read Write Inc, Accelerated Reader, Lucid and Lexia.

The Athena Leadership Team meet fortnightly to review the academic, social and emotional progress of every student and make recommendations on next steps, additional support, further intervention and to plan reintegration into mainstream school with precision.

Graduation

When students are ready to reintegrate into mainstream on a full time basis. The Principal is invited to present students with their Graduation certificate and their Owl of Athena badge. Graduates maintain a strong connection with Athena and are supported by SEND colleagues as they adapt into mainstream. We run an Athena Alumni form time every Thursday and all ex-Athenians attend.

Athena from Year 9 to 11

If students have not graduated into mainstream school by the end of Year 8 the Athena offer will then continue.

The Students

Athena Year 9 will be available for up to 10 students who are not yet able to access a full mainstream curriculum. Students will have accessed Athena in Year 8. It is essential for Athena students to integrate with their peers on a daily basis, therefore, students attend form time and social times in mainstream school.

The Curriculum (Year 9)

Students will study the following subjects:

AQA Step Up to English (16 hours per fortnight)

AQA Step Up to Maths (10 hours per fortnight)

AQA Entry Level Science (5 hours per fortnight)

Art (2 hours per fortnight)

Drama (1 hour per fortnight)

Music (1 hour per fortnight)

Computer Studies (1 hour per fortnight)

MFL (1 hour per fortnight)

PFAL (1 hour per fortnight)

Wonderful Wednesdays (4 hours per fortnight)

Graduation

In Year 9, Graduation into mainstream would take place at the end of the academic year once the Step Up/ ELC qualifications are complete.

Year 10 and 11

If students have not graduated into mainstream school at the end of Year 9 they will continue into Year 10, with the beginning of either a GCSE or alternative pathway they will stay with Athena in order to ensure they complete these qualifications and leave our school ready for the world. At this point the curriculum is likely to individualised to each child’s specific needs.

The Students

Athena Year 10/11 will be available for up to 10 students who are not yet able to access a full mainstream GCSE curriculum. All students will have accessed Athena in Year 7-9. It is essential for Athena students to integrate with their peers on a daily basis, therefore, students attend form time and social times in mainstream school.

The Curriculum (Year 10/11)

Students will study the following subjects:

AQA Functional or GCSE English (10 hours per fortnight)

AQA Functional or OCR GCSE Maths (10 hours per fortnight)

AQA Entry Level Science (Level 3) (8 hours per fortnight)

AQA GCSE Art (5 hours per fortnight)

RSL GCSE Drama (4 hours per fortnight)

ASDAN (4 hours per fortnight)

Edexcel Functional IT (2 hours per fortnight)

Wonderful Weds including RSPH Nutrition (4 hours per fortnight)

PE (3 hours per fortnight)

Leaving School

All Athena students will leave Astrea Academy Dearne with qualifications to support them in life. They will leave our school with confidence and success. Most will engage in level 2 courses at Post 16.

Angela Moore

Assistant Principal: Inclusion