Pioneer School caters for children and young people with Severe and Complex Learning difficulties between the ages of 3 to 19. This covers a wide range of needs, but learning difficulty is the primary area of need. However, many of our pupils also have associated problems, such as physical disabilities (including sensory impairment), communication difficulties, difficulties with social interactions or autism, which further compound the difficulties they experience.

The majority of pupils are admitted to the school at an early age following the issuing of a Statement of Special Educational Needs. The reason for referral is usually because it is felt that the child’s needs can be best met in a special school, however, sometimes a referral is made at a later stage because a child has not coped with their placement in mainstream school and has failed to make progress in basic skills.
At Pioneer School we take learning for life as the primary purpose and our students benefit from a person centred curriculum of a high quality, including learning in and through ICT, with teaching based on carefully selected technologies and skills-based learning. The curriculum, therefore, is defined in the broadest sense to cover social, moral, physical and educational needs with an emphasis on the development of key skills for life.

The design of the school was driven by the recognition that our students’ diverse special needs demand a personalised curriculum and high quality provision through ICT that enables them to become socially included, develop skills and lead independent lives.

The accommodation is ICT rich and includes general teaching, sports and therapy areas, sensory rooms, an indoor swimming pool with lights and sound, specialist teaching rooms such as Art, Music and Performance spaces and our state-of-the-art Immersive environment. All rooms have the latest technologies and have a great impact on the students learning, engagement and motivation.

Pioneer is also at the cutting edge of technology to support learning with the development of its Immersive Room, the first of its kind in the UK. Within this space we are able to project images across the room to replicate a wide range of different situations, ranging from the local barber shop to under the sea, the Amazon rainforest and haunted houses. The range of possibilities is endless and enables us to give the children an experience they may never otherwise get, to creatively enhance their learning or to safely practice skills in a near lifelike setting. The room also has an interactive floor and walls which enable students to become more involved in the space and for staff to extend its learning potential.

The production of this video submission for the 3rd Millennium Award was a fantastic learning experience for students accross the school. In particular, the film group, which was made up of students from all year groups worked together to use the technology around them to produce the film. This included using iPads, Cameras and Camcorders to interview their teachers and produce images to put with their words.

The Award submission video

Notes on video

  • The students filmed the promo video independently using a variety of devices.
  • The kitchen area makes full use of technology to make food preparation and cooking accessible to the students.
  • Communication devices are used to provide students with a ‘voice’ to make choices.
  • The sensory rooms enable the pupils to be empowered to make choices.
  • iPads and other devices again empowers the pupils to make choices within their learning.
  • The immersive room allows pupils to experience and understand environments that would otherwise be beyond their reach.
  • Technology within the swimming pool area provides a simulating environment for the pupils with complex needs.
  • Technology in the school enterprise area provides an age appropriate learning environment.