Mark College is a very special environment for vulnerable students who have great potential to achieve but have barriers to their learning. That barrier will be different for each of our students; for some it’s their reading, for others their writing, or social issues. We also work with students whose high anxiety means they struggle in a large mainstream setting. What we are able to do here at Mark College is to remove those barriers and provide a nurturing environment with specialist teaching up to A-Level standard. This allows each and every young person that we support to achieve their full potential.
Tailored support in the classroom
Mark College takes a highly individualised approach to every element of our young people’s education with each student having an Access to Learning Plan which will drive their academic and social education.
On average there will be six to ten pupils per class with one teacher. In addition to this, we will arrange for extra learning support in the classroom depending on the needs of the individuals being taught. Some classes might have just one additional support staff member, whereas others may have two or three. We carefully monitor the needs of the particular group being taught to ensure we are providing a high quality education with the correct level of support.
We also have a small junior class, for our most vulnerable students in Years 6 and 7. Whilst students will follow a KS3 curriculum, this is delivered in a set up more like a primary class, with one class Teacher and a dedicated Teaching Assistant, based in one large room in school.
Mark College believes it is important to recognise and reward both academic and personal development. We find this helps to develop our young people’s confidence and self-esteem, and motivates them to carry on achieving.
The school runs ‘The Green Point System’ where merits are awarded for outstanding behaviour, progress or achievement. Students are able to save up their points and spend these on reward trips or activities. We also present a ‘student of the week’ award at our whole school Tuesday assembly.
Giving students a voice
Mark College recognises the importance of involving young people in their education. We actively encourage students to share their views and ideas on how the school is run. There are regular opportunities for feedback, including:
- Regular School Council and Food Council
- Online surveys and questionnaires
- During tutor group sessions (each morning and a longer session once a week)
- During school assemblies
- Regular Keyworker meetings
- Management Team open door policy
Keeping parents informed
We understand the importance of good communication between home and school. Mark College has a range of systems in place to ensure parents/carers are kept up to date and have the opportunity to be involved in their child’s care as much as they want to be. These include:
- Regular contact via the student’s tutor and care keyworker
- Termly reports
- Formal parents’ days
- Annual reviews
- Full termly newsletters
- Regular e-letters
- Meetings as required
Mark College strives to introduce healthy habits for life for our young people. We only serve home-cooked food to students, with our chefs preparing a range of hot and cold options each day. We also cater for specific diets, including gluten free, as well as being able to offer Halal and Kosher food.
Our kitchen has a 5-star hygiene rating and all staff are trained in the needs of our young people.
We also take the opportunity to celebrate our International culture, with regular theme days celebrating International events.
A low-stimulation environment
The therapy team here at Mark College have a significant input into our school environment, helping to ensure it is calm and peaceful for students. By taking on board the therapy team’s suggestions, we have been able to create a low stimulation environment which reduces the anxieties of our young people so that they are better-placed to learn.