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Semi-formal curriculum

An overview

The semi-formal curriculum recognises that many of our pupils have a range of complex obstacles to learning as well as learning difficulties. We meet each pupil’s needs through a personalised approach delivered through a bespoke curriculum offer appropriate for pupils identified as having a severe learning difficulty.

It is an approach based on the pupil developing their core learning skills and becoming a literate communicator and a mathematical thinker. This approach encompasses the development of thinking skills, creative learning, sensory processing and transition skills and is designed to be developmentally appropriate. It enables all pupils to take part in activities that are engaging, meaningful to them and provide relevant and challenging goals.

It is a curriculum for pupils who learn best when learning is related to their own experiences. Some pupils may learn through structured play whilst others will learn more effectively through functional activities or through topic-based approaches.

Older pupils will be expected to achieve accreditation in awards and certificates that make use of formal accreditation schemes which are carefully matched to learning needs. There are opportunities for learning that focus upon the development of independence skills and preparation for their next stage beyond school.

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

  • The semi-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 personal hygiene etc.
  • Support for engagement. This will be provided in a way that is appropriate to the individual pupil. Amongst the tools we use to promote engagement/early communication are Attention Autism and Intensive interaction (see the Kingsweston School ‘Communication in Context’ document).
  • 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).

The semi-formal curriculum is for learners largely working between P4 and P8.