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Our Approach

#375 Accelerated Learning Unit (ALU) – Norwich Secondary School

What did we do?

The school launched a Year 9 Accelerated Learning Unit, using the Human Toolbox approach, Zones of Regulation language, ELSA training and support from ADHD Norfolk. Students were supported to regulate their behaviour and improve how they felt about school.

“There were no permanent exclusions for the group, fixed term exclusions reduced, and attendance and student confidence significantly improved”

Summary of impact

All students made good progress in reading as well as being more willing to take part in learning. In addition,
• Attendance is now above national and whole school average
• Reading ages have made rapid progress
• Extended writing is taking place and being assessed
• Maths engagement has drastically improved – monitored through Hegarty Maths
• Through BoxalL Profiles and working with CAMHS we have been able to get to know our students well and put strategies in place
• Reintegration has started and GCSE pathways have been put in place for September.

Steps taken

The school identified students in Year 9 who were close to permanent exclusion due to a range of social / emotional needs which were compounded by an underlying poor standard of literacy. These students, all boys, displayed highly challenging behaviour in school which had not improved using traditional behaviour management techniques. Prior to joining the unit all students were poor attenders at risk of permanent exclusion and had a history of SEND.

All students were profiled using the Boxall assessment tool and assistance from an Education Psychologist helped to put together individual needs analysis’ for the students.

The Accelerated Learning Unit is a SEND provision for Year 9 boys with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. It is ultimately designed to ensure students go on to access Key Stage 4 rather than a long term, possibly external, provision.

The unit operates a reduced timetable from 8:45 until 2:30 each day. In the morning students have a timetable which includes Maths, English and PSHE. In the afternoon we have an active and therapy focused curriculum, including Forest School, swimming, PE, allotment work and group discussion.

The Accelerated Learning Unit blends:
1. Maintaining the knowledge rich curriculum used in the main school to allow students to access school when they returned to mainstream
2. A heavy focus on literacy and improving their reading ages
3. Afternoon sessions doing therapeutic / counselling work to really focus on the underlying needs of the students


What would we do differently

• The environment matters – but it will also evolve.
• Less is more – don’t try to do too much too soon – again, it will evolve and that is a measure of progress!
• Don’t bring in too many people too quickly – but make use of all possible contacts and collaborations
• Be kind to yourself. It will frequently feel like ‘it’ has failed so make sure you have plenty of good moments planned each week and take every opportunity to celebrate.
• It takes a village – work with and support parents and the wider school community so that a return is possible.


IT Provision (Chromebooks)
Services of Ed Psychologist for identification and reports
Books and resources
Boxall Profile credits and therapeutic resources
ELSA training for two staff

Resources to do something similar yourself

Find below a link to The Boxall Profile. The Boxall Profile Online assessment tool for social emotional and behavioural difficulties for children and young people:

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Development of therapeutic and vocational student support alternative provision – City Academy Norwich

At City Academy Norwich (CAN) we acknowledge that the mainstream environment is one that some students find particularly difficult and high-quality alternative provision (AP) is essential to addressing these difficulties.

Zones of Regulation - Magdalen Gates Primary School

Development of Alternative Provision - Colman Federation


Norwich Opportunity Area Team