Education other than at school (EOTAS)
- Part of
Explains key features of education other than at school.
Curriculum for Wales, with its focus on the four purposes and progression, offers increased flexibility with more learners able to benefit from engaging in a wide range of learning experiences. The increased collaboration which the curriculum requires can result in some learners, who might otherwise be disengaged from learning, having their needs met by their mainstream school.
This section of non-statutory guidance refers specifically to education other than at school (EOTAS) which is provided by local authorities. The summary of legislation section sets out the requirements of the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021. EOTAS plays a crucial role in giving some of the most vulnerable children and young people access to learning in a range of settings including, but not limited to, pupil referral units (PRUs), further education institutions, independent special schools and third-sector organisations. Learning in these settings can also be combined with part-time education at a mainstream school as part of a package of measures designed to provide suitable education. As such, EOTAS often requires greater flexibility than mainstream education. While concerned with educational progress, EOTAS must also focus on helping learners to address and overcome those barriers that are preventing them from accessing mainstream provision and from participating fully in education.
This section for EOTAS sets out what is needed over and above what is set out for all learners in the Curriculum for Wales framework guidance. However, because the principles of planning, designing and implementing curriculum and assessment are broadly the same for mainstream and EOTAS settings, links to other parts of that framework guidance are also included here.
Key features of EOTAS provision
In all education settings, including EOTAS settings, curriculum design will be underpinned by the principles of curriculum design. However, learners who attend EOTAS settings face considerable barriers to learning. They attend these settings for diverse reasons and have often experienced challenges in their lives that are greater than those of many of their peers. Therefore, EOTAS curriculum planning, design and implementation should be strengthened by the following elements:
- nurturing and strengthening the health and well-being of each learner
- systematic collaboration between learner, parents/carers, school and EOTAS providers
- access to an inclusive curriculum that focuses on the individual needs of each learner
- supporting the reintegration into or transition of learners receiving EOTAS to mainstream or specialist provision, and/or enabling them to progress towards further education, training or the world of work
Nurturing and strengthening health and well-being
It is vital that the curriculum is planned to support and meet the needs of learners’ mental, emotional, physical and social well-being. Learners who are not content, safe and secure will not learn effectively: well-being is a critical enabler of learning.
Learners’ progression in the Health and Well-being Area of Learning and Experience (Area) can impact their progression more widely.
The framework on embedding a whole-school approach to emotional and mental well-being includes guidance for action plan development, using case studies and examples of good practice.
In addition to the general considerations around evidence, expertise and co-construction, when planning, designing and implementing a curriculum for learners receiving EOTAS, collaboration between key stakeholders is essential. These stakeholders include:
- learners and parents / carers
- practitioners from the learners’ previous, present and future schools and settings
- PRU management committee and head teacher / teacher in charge of the PRU
- local authority and its commissioned providers
Regional consortia can help support this collaborative working.
A person-centred approach requires the involvement of the learner at every stage in decisions that affect that learner.
Working with partner services and agencies, such as health and social care and youth offending services, as well as preventative, therapeutic and youth services, can help address a learner’s individual needs.
Such collaboration leads to a common understanding between stakeholders of what is required to plan, design and implement curriculum and assessment to reflect the needs of the individual learner. This includes the arrangements for matters such as designating roles and assigning responsibilities for the delivery and quality assurance of the curriculum.
Access to an inclusive curriculum
Curriculum for Wales has been developed to be accessible to all. The planning, design and implementation of a curriculum in PRUs and other EOTAS settings should be needs led and provide a clear progression pathway to support each learner.
The summary of legislation section sets out the requirements of the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021.
In terms of PRUs, the first step is for the local authority, management committee and the teacher in charge to design a curriculum for the PRU that meets the following requirements, namely that it:
- secures curriculum provision that enables learners to develop in the ways described in the four purposes; that is broad and balanced, suitable for the learners’ ages, abilities and aptitudes, and offers appropriate progression
- secures, for the individual learner, learning that develops the cross-curricular skills, encompasses developmentally-appropriate relationships and sexuality education, and encompasses the Health and Well-being Area
- ensures that curriculum provision, if it is reasonably possible and appropriate to do so, includes teaching and learning in the other Areas and in the other mandatory elements (Welsh, English, and religion, values and ethics)
Once the curriculum for the setting has been designed, the next step is to consider how each of the above requirements can be secured for each learner. The teacher in charge must also take account of learners’ additional learning needs (ALN).
For EOTAS provided in a setting other than a PRU, the first step for the local authority is that it must:
- secure curriculum provision that enables learners to develop in the ways described in the four purposes; that is broad and balanced, suitable for the learners’ ages, abilities and aptitudes, and offers appropriate progression
- secure, as far as appropriate, for the individual learner, learning that develops the cross-curricular skills; encompasses developmentally-appropriate relationships and sexuality education; and encompasses the Health and Well-being Area
- ensure that curriculum provision, if it is reasonably possible and appropriate to do so, includes teaching and learning in the other Areas and in the other mandatory elements
Once the curriculum has been designed, the next step is to consider how each of the above requirements can be secured for each learner also taking into account learners’ additional learning needs (ALN).
Assessment that supports progression along a continuum of learning from ages 3 to 16 is central to the Curriculum for Wales.
PRUs and others EOTAS providers are required to put in place assessment arrangements that:
- assess the progress made by learners in relation to the curriculum that has been devised for each learner
- consider the next steps in the learners’ progression and the teaching and learning needed to make that progression
Curriculum and assessment arrangements must be kept under review.
Supporting reintegration and transition
Supporting transition along the 3 to 16 continuum is essential for learner progression. Curriculum planning, design and implementation should support reintegration into and/or transition to mainstream or specialist provision and/or enable learners to progress towards further education, training or the world of work.
Planning to enable reintegration and transition should be based on the assessment of learner needs and should be modified over time to reflect the changing needs and priorities of the learner. Key considerations will include:
- collaborative tailored provision to support transition
- assessment and progression
- practical arrangements, such as those around roles, responsibilities and resourcing
- quality assurance of provision
All types of transition points need to be carefully considered in collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that learners can build on their learning and continue to progress and develop on their learning pathway.
Person-centred planning should specifically address assessment that supports progression.
Questions for practitioner reflection
Through reflecting on the questions posed in the Designing your curriculum: introduction, all involved should develop a vision for their own curriculum. When designing the curriculum these questions are key:
- What should we teach and why?
- How should we teach it?
- How will this support our learners to realise the four purposes?
Further questions are provided below to help those involved in EOTAS provision reflect on their curriculum planning and design, and on their learning and teaching.
Nurturing and strengthening the health and well-being of each learner
- How do we plan, monitor, evaluate and then further develop our health and well-being provision?
- How do we identify, monitor and continually meet the health and well-being needs of learners?
- How do we ensure access to suitable support, including local organisations and specialist services?
- How effective is the provision in supporting the health and well-being of each learner?
Systematic collaboration between learner, parents/carers, school and EOTAS providers
- How do we work with learners and their families towards shared goals?
- How do we decide who needs to be involved and what their specific roles are?
- How do we work with partner agencies, including mainstream schools, to support progression?
- How do we develop a shared understanding of progression?
- How effective is this collaboration in supporting learners?
Access to an inclusive curriculum that focuses on the individual needs of each learner
- How do we ensure suitable depth and breadth in learning and experiences while meeting individual needs and interests?
- How effectively does our curriculum engage all learners?
- How do we ensure that all learning contributes to progression?
- How do we support learners to understand how the curriculum will support them to realise their aspirations for the future, including through helping them gain qualifications?
- How effective is assessment in supporting the progression of learners?
Supporting the reintegration into and transition of learners receiving EOTAS to mainstream or specialist provision, and/or enabling them to progress towards further education, training or the world of work
- What learning will be essential to enable reintegration into a mainstream setting or to support transition elsewhere?
- How well does person-centred planning support reintegration and transition?
- How do we ensure a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for everyone involved?
- How effective is our curriculum and assessment in supporting reintegration and/or transition of learners?
- Guidance on roles and responsibilities for committees and their members: A Handbook for Management Committees of Pupil Referral Units.
- Requirements and guidance on the additional learning needs system: The Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales 2021.
- Wales Safeguarding Procedures detail the essential roles and responsibilities for practitioners to ensure that they safeguard children and adults who are at risk of abuse and neglect.
- Guidance on providing inclusive education and developing school attendance and behaviour policies: Inclusion and pupil support: guidance for schools and local authorities.
- Welsh Government plan to improve the outcomes and wellbeing of children and young people when they cannot attend a mainstream or special school: Education otherwise than at school: Framework for action.
- Public Health Wales has information on adverse childhood experiences.
- The Review of local authority commissioning arrangements for education otherwise than at school provision sets out the practices and models in use to commission and quality assure EOTAS provision across Welsh local authorities.