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Our curriculum

Our curriculum is designed with the understanding that each pupil will have unique starting and destination points. Our curriculum structure has three broad levels which complement our Pathways. The model is based on the work of Dr Penny Lacey and Peter Imray at Swiss Cottage School (Challenge Partners, 2017).

Our linear curriculum is based on the content of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and the Preparation for Adulthood Framework. Through teaching lifeskills we  focus on the functional skills our pupils will require in later life. For some, this means equipping them with the skills to make simple but nutritious meals or to maintain good hygiene; for others it might mean creating a CV or catching a bus independently.

We recognise that some of our pupils, due to their complex needs, may never gain certain skills. Our lateral curriculum is focused on Personalised Learning Intentions (PLIs). With these we work together with parents and professionals to decide individual outcomes. These are based on what we feel each individual requires to learn to support their development and is delieverd through the intrests of the individual child.  

Pupils are sorted into classes and have a base classroom from which all their lessons are taught. Each classroom has access to toilets and a kitchenette. All classes are teacher led, supported by Specialist Teaching and Learning Assistants. Though the holiday pattern follows that of Derbyshire Schools, the school year runs from June-June. This enables all transitions to new classes to happen before the 6-week break, it also supports transition of new starters to the school. We run a thematic based curriculum and there is a new theme every 5 weeks. Where possible lessons are taught through the theme to give cohesion and meaning to the learning for the children. All classes have access to a range of specialist resources including sensory rooms, an immersive environment, bike/scooter track, soft play, sensory playground and forest school area.

Our Pathways

Pupils are not taught in chronological age groups; they are placed in class groups dependent on their cognitive, sensory, social, emotional and communication needs. Classes are organised into three pathways (illustrated below). Pupils may remain in the same pathway during their school career, or transition to another one depending on their development.



Personalised Learning Intentions

Brackenfield Characters

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Preparation for Adulthood and Personal Development including Careers