New College Worcester (NCW), Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX
Independent Living Skills (ILS)
What are Independent Livings Skills?
Independent Living skills are activities that are necessary to take care of oneself, family and home to live as independently as possible. They involve the teaching of processes and methods that those with sight often take for granted.
Recent research has found that those who master the key skills of ILS will be more successful in other parts of their lives.
At NCW it is part of the curriculum and is timetabled for all students. The College has across campus targets for each learner to ensure that their ILS needs are met, developed and monitored to ensure that progress is made.
Aims of Teaching ILS
The aim is to introduce, develop and apply a range of age appropriate skills, which will enable learners to participate fully in everyday living. Support for all students and parents is provided in the development of consistent methods to ensure that tasks are managed safely and independently.
Students are taught in small groups with support from a specialist team but with differentiated outcomes for each student where appropriate. From the students’ EHC plans and observations within the classroom and care environment, pan-campus targets are set to provide targets to support the student across the waking day.
Key Stage 3
An exciting practical skill focused scheme has been developed to embed skills, mobility within the room, safe working practices and knowledge based upon the Schools Food Program currently being launched within all mainstream secondary schools. As well as teaching nutrition, preparing and cooking food, students are also taught laundry and clothes care, safety and first aid, the use of technology to aid identification and personal
skills such as signature development and methods for money management.
In Year 7, it is important to embed basic skills such as weighing and measuring, pouring and spreading, mobility around the kitchen and core knowledge about making good food choices.
In Year 8 the focus is on particular food groups and developing safe practice in the use of equipment, further developing and applying core skills and knowledge acquired in Year 7. During Year 8, the laundry process is reviewed and students investigate methods to sort, wash, dry and organise clothing. Bed making is also introduced.
In Year 9, the emphasis is on working with equipment with the additional complexity of following a recipe or using of two pieces of equipment simultaneously. During the year, the student will also learn about the use of internet shopping, online banking and the facilities a bank offers plus continually developing and applying skills developed in previous years.
Unit award accreditation in the key themes of ILS is continued throughout Key Stage 3 and 4 through the AQA exam board.
Key Stage 4
In Year 10, students continue to develop and extend their range of independent living skills.
All students will be given the opportunity to achieve accredited courses, which could enable employment within community, and skills that can be identified for CVs and applications for further education. For example, students may achieve a Level 1 Food Hygiene Certificate.
Students are given specific briefs to develop a range of recipe dishes that can be utilised within the sixth form residential setting where students are supported to prepare their own meals at weekends.
In Year 11, all students will follow the Btec Level 1 Home Cooking course. This provides a selection of breakfasts, snacks and meals that they will be able to produce independently, preparing them for transition into the sixth form.
Sixth Form Programme
This is a personalised programme focused on the needs of the individual referred to as Activities for Daily Living (ADL). Each student is assessed, a review of skills is undertaken and they asked to identify areas they feel require development in order for them to function effectively. This can be anything from setting an alarm clock snooze button effectively or using online banking for internet transactions. A trained NCW ILS teacher produces a personalised plan, which is shared with the students’ keyworker in their residential setting for pan-college collaborative working. Students are in the residential environment by both their keyworker and the ILS teacher.
Timetabled one-to-one sessions are attended within school and occasionally within the residential area to aid orientation or the application of a specific skill. As skills develop, targets are reviewed and revised to ensure that the student can manage their clothes care, food preparation, personal care needs and studies independently and safely.
“Every student has their own ideas of what they want to achieve. For some it’s putting on make-up in the right way, for others making a hot drink safely or learning how to iron. We work with them one to one, for as long as it takes, to get them there. It’s a proud moment when a student who couldn’t turn on a tap when they joined us, actually fills a kettle and makes a cup of coffee for the first time.”
Nathalie Bufton, Head of Independent Living Skills