Introduction to Flourish by Vicky Bolster – Section Leader for High Needs (Head of Flourish FE)
I hope you enjoy reading and finding out a little more about what we offer at Flourish. Our overarching aim is the development and progression of your son or daughter, supporting and teaching them to successfully achieve their personal outcomes and aspirations. We will positively challenge them, and always have the highest expectations of our learners. My team of experienced teachers and support workers may at times have to take them beyond their comfort zones and try new things in order to develop and achieve their potential; but this is done with support, care, motivation and the best interests of every individual coming first. We only push, build and challenge our learners when we know they are fully prepared, ready and able to successfully meet the challenges.
Our ultimate objective is that these wonderful young people have meaningful and happy adult lives, where they can make their own choices and participate with confidence in a community which also supports and understands their needs.
This is the reason Flourish FE was established, it was recognised as extremely important that young people with such high needs remain in the community in which they will ultimately be living their adult lives. Being educated out of borough learning new skills in a different town or city – and then having to transition back into their own communities at the end of their education creates many difficulties. By learning and living, creating partnerships and developing links along the way within the local community, ensures everything the learners experience and achieve is transferable relevant and meaningful. This makes for a much smoother and simpler transition when they eventually leave Flourish FE.
My team and I very much look forward to welcoming new learners into Flourish FE each year, and supporting them on their journey into adulthood.
If you have anything you would like to ask about please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Introduction to the provision
At Flourish FE our curriculum is based on Preparation for Adulthood which focuses on the key aspects of life skills – promoting positive mental and physical health, social skills & relationships, community inclusion and being more independent in everyday life as well as developing work or vocational skills. With effective support and a lot of encouragement this will allow young people to take more control of, and be involved in making choices that affect their adult lives.
The current curriculum timetable consist of approximately 60% community based activities. Sessions and activities planned at Flourish incorporate academic and vocational teaching but also address the various sensory needs of our learners. This ensures our learners have access to multiple opportunities to learn how to become more independent as well as supporting them to regulate behaviours and thus building self-esteem and confidence.
Below is a breakdown of what you can expect your son or daughter to be involved in whilst at Flourish. Some activities included on the timetable will be planned on an individual basis, based on their interests, preferences, skills and outcomes in their Education Health and Care Plans. However, other key life skills activities are core to the curriculum and all learners will take part in them, for example, healthy lifestyle, community access, preparing snacks and lunches.
We continually adapt and build our curriculum adding and changing content to meet the needs and interests of all our learners.
Each morning the learners take part in sensory circuits. These set of exercises focusing on balance, endurance and deep pressure are highly recommended by physiotherapists to alert, organise and calm our learners so they feel refreshed and ready for the daily activities. Specific activities for particular learners, if they are advised by their own physiotherapist, can be incorporated into this session.
Our music lessons will help learners explore their senses through a range of holistic and musical approaches. Learners will engage with various musical instruments and can have fun whilst expressing themselves through the arts.
Our sensory room is designed to provide a calming environment to help develop a learner’s ability to regulate themselves and meet sensory needs, through lighting, music and various sensory objects. We have screens, lights and trays full of resources and tactile objects for hands on experiences to indulge the senses.
Arts and Crafts
Let’s get creative with arts and crafts. Our learners will engage in the classroom working on various projects, developing fine motor skills through cutting, pasting, colouring, painting, enjoying a proactive hands on experience. Arts and crafts not only allows for artistic expression but aids development of hand eye co-ordination and physical dexterity skills.
We are fully equipped with the necessary tools for our horticulture sessions and we are fortunate enough to have green areas around our building. Dig in, let’s work together to plant, sow and reap the rewards of these interactive sessions, which aid gross motor skill as well as sensory needs. Horticulture provides an excellent context for developing the understanding of sequencing and order, as well as embedding the development of useful and relevant maths skills.
It is important that our learners are integrated into their communities, feel confident in being in their own communities and be able to continue active participation long after they have left us here at Flourish FE. We want them to actively take part and mix with our neighbours and gain a sense of belonging. We enjoy trips out to parks, cafes, shops, galleries, cinemas, leisure centres and community halls.
We have links with local swimming pools and regularly attend the Huyton, Stockbridge and Kirkby leisure centres. Our learner’s greatly benefit from being in the water. We do a range of exercises and swimming techniques before enjoying some play time in the pool. Swimming is planned into the timetable twice a week at the beginning and the end of the week, this is an important motivator for many of our learners, who love the freedom the water offers.
We have been visiting sports centres throughout the year, using rebound therapy, basketball, football and participating in circuits. We have been enjoying long walks and using the gym equipment in the parks when the weather is nice. Physical education is vital for our learner’s well-being and mental health.
As well as the learners helping to prepare their own lunched we also provide interactive and hands on cookery sessions. We work on fine motor skills using as many household kitchen objects as possible and making cooking a fun experience. Whilst we do focus on making some healthy and nourishing meals and snack we do also encourage the learners that treats from time to time are a good thing too and very often they bake cookies and cakes to take home and share with their families.
Practical Life Skills
It is our aim to provide our learners with the necessary skills for their transition into adulthood. Our life skills sessions range from everyday chores such as cleaning, washing dishes, hoovering and tidying up as well as recycling. So other activities include writing and sending letters to family and friends, as well as personal hygiene and self-care routines supporting learners to look after oral hygiene, wash, dry and dress independently.
In 2020/2021 we have also added Nature sessions and Sensory Celebration themed sessions to our timetable enabling the learner to explore more of their surroundings and experience cultural and seasonal activities through sensory and physical activities.
If you would like any further information regarding Flourish please either call 0151 443 2004 or email Flourish@knowsley.gov.uk