There is clear evidence of student progress being made and skills consolidated through the MSI curriculum in students’ good books and summative assessment on SOLAR. The effect of having a dual impairment of deafblindness has a multiplying effect on the complexities of the challenges our students face. The curriculum enables them to develop holistically, empowering them to make decisions and affect their world. This is made possible through building close, trusting relationships with key workers, the teaching of skills and staff having a detailed understanding of student’s learning needs. Planning reviews and lesson observations demonstrate appropriate learning activities. Individualised timetables guarantee students can engage in lessons which promote learning and enhance motivation and engagement. Students and families are well supported through daily home school diaries, annual EHCP’s and parents evenings. Students who are in their final year within the unit will engage in a long transition programme. We work closely with new key workers, supporting them to develop a relationship which enables a smooth transition.
As a regional resource we host visitors from across the UK to see the unique and outstanding provision. In addition, the unit has close links with the University of Birmingham, hosting a virtual visit for students on the MSI MQ course, supporting MSI teachers of the future.
Students’ progress each year is evaluated using criteria which judge their responses to the learning environment provided. Factors which affect their ability to respond are also recorded – usually changes to their health or social circumstances in addition to their Sensory Profile. Significant change can have a catastrophic effect on their ability to learn, because they receive so little sensory input that the impact of change is usually overwhelming. Students are enormously disadvantaged in understanding and interacting with the world around, and their behaviours are often diffuse, inconsistent and hard to interpret. This poses challenges ensuring the quality and accuracy of achievement evidence, which are addressed below.
The focus of assessment within the Deafblind unit is on how students learn and especially on the development of effective learning and interaction skills. We promote a process based, branching, learner-centred curriculum, with an emphasis on cross-curricular working. This is in contrast to the traditional clear set of linear, product based learning outcomes of mainstream learners.
A range of approaches are used to check and promote the quality of evidence within the unit, including:
The assessment of students who are deafblind is challenging, as there is no typical student who can serve as the norm upon which to base assessment or evaluation tools. Therefore, the mutilative challenges of deafblindness combined with cognitive, physical and emotional challenges are considered with the assessment looking at a holistic approach.
As a unit we record progress through:
A student who makes outstanding progress will:
Some adjustment to this criteria may be made if the student has faced significant stress or changes within the year.