Merrill Academy is committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum for all students. As part of this commitment various alternative provisions are in place to support the needs to students who may otherwise struggle to access mainstream education.
Every student is different and entry onto any alternative provision is carefully considered. In some cases a bespoke timetable is provided such as in Merrill Hall. In other cases students may receive additional support or follow a combination timetable comprising both mainstream and alternative provision subjects.
Merrill Hall is a discrete alternative provision unit where students follow a bespoke timetable separate to mainstream education. Some students may spend a brief period of time in Merrill Hall, where others require longer to support their transition back into mainstream.
All students follow a core curriculum comprising English, Maths and Science. This curriculum is followed as closely as possible to mainstream subjects to support reintegration. Assessments are carried out in line with departmental policies.
In addition to the core subjects, students are given options which will enable them to gain additional GCSE or vocational qualifications. This allows students to tailor their educational needs to their own ambitions and bright futures.
Merrill Academy is working with the Nisai group which offers an Ofsted Good rated Virtual School. Students on this provision may work either in the school or at home to complete virtual school courses which lead to GCSE qualifications. The courses are led by trained teachers and regular assignments are set and marked to allow progress to be checked.
Students following Alternative Provision are regularly consulted on their career aspirations and ambitions so that they can receive the appropriate guidance and support.
Merrill Academy has a large gardening area containing a pond, fruit orchard, a potting area and growing beds. Over the next few years we hope to develop this area to become a sustainable unit where students can grow crops or flowers for either use around the academy or for sale to make the area self-sufficient. This process will support many departments from a vocational context.
In addition, a part of the garden has been set aside for a sensory garden to provide a quiet area for reflection or creativity.
As this area develops there may be opportunities for a wider range of students to work in the area and receive the benefits of learning outside the classroom.