JASS at Pilrig Park School
- 12 June 2018
At Pilrig Park Special Secondary School a broad and challenging curriculum based on the “Curriculum for Excellence” is offered to 80+ pupils from 12 – 18 years of age with moderate/complex learning needs and autism.
Catriona Ferguson, Art Teacher, has led the delivery of JASS at Pilrig Park and adapted it to suit the needs of the pupils. First year pupils have often completed the JASS Bronze Award at primary school, enabling them to start the Silver Award in 1st year and progress to the Gold Award which they complete over 18 months. Pilrig Park has delivered JASS since 2012 with pupils achieving 15 Silver Awards and 21 Gold Awards and they are on track for a similiar number of awards to be completed in 2013. Pilrig Park also runs a successful Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) programme. Participation in JASS gives pupils the skills and confidence to progress to the DofE.
Initially JASS was delivered as a period at the end of the day, however JASS is now embedded in the curriculum, which Catriona feels happened naturally once awareness of JASS had been raised. Catriona has focussed on “using what we have and channelling that into the award”. Parents have also been encouraged to highlight any activities their children are doing out of school that could count towards JASS.
The school has run several group activities, involving lunchtime clubs/options groups, which have produced an end product. For example, for the Me and My World section enterprising pupils made crafts to sell at the school fair and the money raised contributed to the cost of the school camp, which in turn counted for the Adventure section. Pupils have taken part in a range of activities for JASS including making posters to advertise a Fair Trade week, serving at the school cafe and taking part in the Look Good Feel Good Salon and the Litterbugs club for the My Interests and Me and My World sections.
JASS has given pupils the opportunity to work towards something and see that an end product is achievable and Catriona believes this is one of the main benefits of JASS. In addition, JASS motivates pupils as they realise taking part in extra-curricular activities will enhance their chances of gaining an award. The school recognises these achievements at the Friday Celebration Assembly.
Feedback from an evaluation of the experiences of pupils taking part in JASS and staff has been very positive. Fern Brodie says, ‘’ I like being a member of the Drama Club because it’s good fun and it counts towards my JASS Award!’’. Catriona believes JASS supports interdisciplinary learning and helps the school meet the objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence, as it has improved teachers’ forward planning and encouraged communication between staff.
Catriona believes JASS has encouraged pupils to become more independent and responsible and as a result their confidence has improved. This links directly to the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence – helping children to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. A familiarity with JASS from primary school has also supported pupils with the often daunting transition to secondary school, helping them understand the connection between primary and secondary school.