The Burley Model Of Combined Education & Support

Our unique model of combined education and support is the first of its kind, and challenges the assumption that personal support and education are separate things. The Burley Model combines the following elements:

Qualified Staff

You can’t teach without a teacher, and we question how other support services incorporate meaningful learning into their programmes without a directive curriculum and professionals who understand how we manipulate and retain new knowledge.

Contextual Relevance

Learners develop independence in activities and locales that are important to them. They might not be able to catch buses all over town, but the route between their house and the grocery shop is functionally relevant to their life, so we’ll start by learning how to catch that particular bus.

Free Choice

We learn best when we are motivated by things we enjoy. Burley embeds the learning of new skills into fun and engaging projects such as running a bicycle hire shop, growing vegetables at our horticulture sites, singing and making music and even building a racing car. Even leisure activities such as a cinema visit or an afternoon of bowling provide ample opportunities to practice money skills and social interactions. Our learners create a self-chosen week of fun stuff that inspires them to find purpose in the skills they are learning.

Functional To Generalisation

Independence is a sliding scale; just because a student can cook a meal in their own kitchen using the equipment they have practised with, it does not necessarily mean they are fully independent and can cook that meal in all kitchens everywhere. The Burley Model recognises the difference between functional capability in familiar contexts and the ability to generalise a skill across all contexts, and helps students develop the theoretical knowledge required to apply their functional skill to new situations.

Personalised Strategies

We all have our own preferred ways of approaching the challenges we face, and our model is designed to equip learners with their own individualised strategies for tackling the tasks they find difficult.

Core Skills

Some skills are universally applicable to all situations and contexts; we use them every day to manage our overall picture of the world and help keep us organised. A working understanding of time, money, health, communication, navigation and how to keep ourselves and our environment clean and presentable is naturally built into relevant activities and studied on an ongoing basis. Our core skill curriculum is the glue that holds the learner’s week together.

Ongoing Assessment

Our development plans are designed to be robust and clear for a wide range of professionals. In line with the format of the Education, Health and Care plan, our documentation presents medical and behavioural information, care and support needs and progress toward independence, all supported by the educational routes they have taken to reach their current level of ability. Our simple traffic light assessments are quick to update and understandable by the student, providing a straightforward overview of their skills and enabling them to take control of their own learning.

Gradually Fading Support

Our staff gradually step back as the learner’s ability increases, initially supporting them side by side as they tackle a new challenge and reducing the supporting presence through planned stages as the staff member's help is needed less and less. Through assessment of the student's skills we judge how much assistance is required for a particular task, so learners can feel reassured that support is on hand if needed while enjoying as much freedom as possible.  

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