The Joseph norton Offer
Joseph Norton Academy is the same as any other academy in that we:
- Have high expectations of our pupils
- Build a secure and happy atmosphere in which pupils can learn effectively
- Support pupils to access a broad range of subjects and qualifications, including GCSEs
- Provide opportunities and facilities for pupils to develop special interests and talents through a range of extra-curricular activities
- Foster good home-school relationships to enable parents and carers to play their part in the education of their children
- Have a school uniform and a Code of Conduct called our 'Ways of Working' (WOWs)
However we are different to other academies in that we:
- Are a special academy and only accept pupils with complex SEMH difficulties
- Organise our pupils into nurture groups rather than year groups
- Structure our day and our curriculum to support pupils with SEMH difficulties
- Employ specialist staff to support the special educational needs of our pupils
- Offer a range of interventions to support pupil progress in all areas
- Have specialist facilities including a therapy centre and a school farm
- Work with outside agencies to help pupils develop relevant skills and abilities such as confidence, creativity and self-control
Central to the philosophy of nurture is attachment theory, an area of psychology that explains the need for any person to be able to form secure and happy relationships with others in the formative years of their lives. We adapt this approach because by successfully addressing barriers to learning, academic attainment and health and well-being are improved. All of our practice is guided by the six founding principles of nurture, which are:
- Children's learning is understood developmentally
- The classroom offers a safe base
- The importance of nurture for the development of self-esteem
- Language is a vital means of communication
- All behaviour is communication
- The importance of transition in children's lives
At Joseph Norton we utilise social pedagogy to ensure a focus on the overall development of every child. Social pedagogy is concerned with well-being, learning and growth and is underpinned by the idea that every individual has inherent potential, is valuable, resourceful and can make a meaningful contribution to their wider community if we find ways of including them.
We adopt this approach because it requires us to focus on the needs of the whole child and has a proven ability to support pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. It requires interdisciplinary work between professionals and close work with families, friends and the community. Every member of our staff is team is a social pedagogue, supporting our pupils on a journey of learning and development. While teachers focus on social education and support staff focus on academic support and inclusion, our Interventions and Pastoral Teams focus on socialisation, care and welfare.
In July 2013, the school was awarded the Engaging Families Award for the work we undertake in this area.
At Joseph Norton we believe that every member of our school community should have the equal opportunity to fulfil their potential in a safe and positive environment. To support this belief we aim to provide pupils with the skills and mental agility to establish and maintain productive relationships, cope with conflict or upset and rebuild friendships if problems arise. To do this, we adopt a restorative approach.
Effective Restorative Practices focuses on an awareness of how people have been effected by conflict or an incident that has caused upset. This is done by actively engaging participants in a process which separates the deed from the doer and rejects the act not the actor, allowing participators to make amends for the harm caused. Restorative Practice acknowledges the intrinsic worth of the person and their potential contribution to the community.
We are extremely proud to be listed as a holder of the Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM). The RSQM is a badge of quality that guarantees we provide safe, high quality restorative practice that meets the six Restorative Service Standards. Our work in this area has also been recognised in the national press and we were recently featured in the Guardian newspaper. A copy of the article can be accessed by clicking here. The following video, featuring one of our pupils, shows how restorative practice can help pupils deal with conflict and improve relationships, inside and outside of school.