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Formal curriculum

An overview

The formal curriculum is for pupils who are working at levels that can be related to National Curriculum performance expectations. This group of pupils are largely taught through individual subjects such as Maths, English and Science. At KS2 and KS3 these may be grouped into thematic modules.

Pupils at Key Stages 2–3 will follow National Curriculum subjects and the core subjects at Key Stage 4. All pupils within the 14-19 age range will undertake accreditation routes through awards or examinations, including Entry Level and GCSEs for some students. This group of pupils benefit from structures that support personalised learning. Older pupils will undertake work related learning including, for most, opportunities for work experience. The formal curriculum recognises that many of the pupils have a range of needs and may require access to further specialist interventions. This is made available through specifically designed arrangements, for example access to members of The Team around the Child for emotional health and wellbeing support.

The formal curriculum recognises that many of our pupils have a range of complex obstacles to learning that need to be addressed in order to support their engagement and progress. Social communication skills, sensory processing difficulties and complex attachments needs feature within the formal curriculum pupil profile. We meet each of these pupil’s needs through a personalised approach delivered through a bespoke curriculum offer.

The curriculum offer for each pupil draws its content from a range of sources:

  • The formal curriculum framework.
  • Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) priorities derived from the end of key stage aspirations for each pupil. Progression planners, which are being developed by the school, are themed around dimensions of life skills, health and wellbeing and are used to support the identification of key EHCP priorities in those areas which lie outside of the National Curriculum, for example behaviour in social settings, managing money, etc.
  • Support for engagement. This will be provided in a way that is appropriate to the individual pupil. Amongst the ways in which we promote engagement are: approaches informed by mindfulness; understanding of ‘self’ (especially the impact of autism); and trying to understand the world from the perspective of the pupil and supporting them accordingly.
  • We may also make reference to structures such as that from the Autism Education Trust (AET) where this is helpful and relevant.
  • Emotional health and wellbeing. We draw upon a number of frameworks to inform our practice. Key amongst them are systems theory, attachment theory and PLACE (Playfulness, Loving attitude, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy).