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Lifeskills Challenge provides tailored learning for SEND pupils

Lifeskills Challenge is an e-learning resource that centres use to provide a personalised curriculum for learners with special educational needs and disabilities. Teacher Joanne Brierley describes how the programme was the perfect fit for her students along with how it has helped boost their confidence and independence.

Crowdys Hill School, which currently has more than 170 students, is a special school in Swindon for pupils aged 4 to 19 with complex needs. We deliver Lifeskills Challenge to 25 students in Year 10 as part of the My Future My World curriculum they undertake on Wednesday mornings. This curriculum is aimed at preparing the learners for adulthood and Lifeskills Challenge is the key resource we use.

We opted for Lifeskills Challenge because we wanted a programme that would help the learners develop greater independence and confidence as well as fostering those all important life skills. We also needed a resource that would provide a structure for activities in the community since the course involves learners getting out and about. In addition, it was important for us to find an easy and effective way of accrediting the learning and skills development that’s gained through activities in the community.

Lifeskills Challenge is very popular with the learners. This is partly because there are so many challenges available – more than 500 – across a great variety of topics such as Communication, Employability, Environment and Sport and Fitness. We tailor the challenges to suit this group of learners, selecting activities that we know will be of interest to them and meet their learning needs.

The programme provides an effective structure for learning and it gives students a greater sense of purpose when they undertake activities. Lifeskills Challenge also encourages them to be more confident in making their own choices as well as staying safe whether this is at home or out in the community. The challenges are accessible for each learner regardless of their level.

As part of the ‘using money’ challenge (Mathematics topic) and ‘understanding own personal hygiene’ challenge (Personal Care topic), the learners visited a shop to compare the prices of hygiene products. On another occasion, we visited a café in the town where the learners talked to staff and customers. This resulted in the students being invited back to do voluntary work in the café. In another challenge ­– ‘paying for an item’ (Mathematics topic) – learners had to buy a snack in a shop, an activity which boosted their confidence in making simple transactions on their own.

From the teacher’s perspective, Lifeskills Challenge has been a great find because it is easy to deliver and the assessment methodology, the record of oral questioning and the observation checklist, is a quick and efficient way of assessing the learners and ensuring they’ve met the criteria for the challenges.

As well as continuing to deliver Lifeskills Challenge to this group of learners when they reach Year 11, we plan to roll it out to all students from Year 7 upwards.

Caption: a student buys a snack in a shop as part of the 'paying for an item' challenge