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Castle School

Castle School


How do we organise learning

Our Curriculum aims to make the child’s learning stimulating, creative, fun and successful whilst setting high expectations for every child. It will be delivered by high quality teaching based on sound knowledge and understanding of each child’s needs. This will mean shaping teaching around the way different pupils learn and taking care to nurture the unique talents of every pupil. We will endeavour to develop a coherent curriculum based on a range of compelling learning experiences, which excite and inspire our learners. We aim to develop in each pupil aspirations to succeed and achieve their best, while providing a foundation for lifelong learning. We believe that children learn best when they are happy and secure so we strive to foster fun and an enjoyment of learning.

Learning approaches 

The curriculum experiences offered at Castle school are based on National Curriculum principles adapted to individual need. Our approach allows for variation in, pace, content, level and the method of presentation to ensure that learning experiences are appropriate for all children. We work closely with the Multi agency teams and parents to develop personalised learning programmes for students. Strong emphasis is placed on the development of life and independence skills to enable pupils to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and be well prepared for life after school.  

Our core curriculum focuses on developing communication, independence, and emotional wellbeing.

This is enhanced by the teaching and consolidation of key skills within English, Maths, Physical health and wellbeing, Creativity and Knowledge and understanding of the world around us. We strongly believe in contextualised learning and taught curriculum is enhanced by a range of opportunities in and out of school.

The principles of Fundamental British Values are focused on across all curriculum areas.

The curriculum is delivered in a variety of ways

 Pre- Formal

For pupils who have additional sensory needs and are working in early stages of development, we have developed a bespoke curriculum model called the Explore Curriculum which is built around pupil centred learning. This supports the development of core skills through a range of curriculum areas and specialist programmes which are based on the principles of Routes for Learning.  As the pupils move through school into Key stage 4 and 6th form they will follow the “Moving On” accreditation pathway. 

 Semi Formal 

When pupils move on from very early stages of development, they will follow the semi-formal learning pathway. This curriculum is based on a range of curriculum areas, interventions and specialist programmes. It continues to offer a pupil centred approach and an opportunity to develop current skills and explore next steps in learning.  This approach is based on a text which regularly changes. This encourages a contextualised and creative approach to learning.  As these pupils move through school, they follow the Life and Living skills accreditation pathway.


 For our formal learners in the secondary department we offer a subject specific curriculum. These pupils are taught by subject specialist teachers and transition to different rooms within the school. There remains a strong focus on personal development and independence skills.

As these pupils move through school, they will follow a more formal accreditation pathway which includes Entry Level and Functional skills.

Organisation of classes 


In the primary department classes are organised by age, ability level and learning style.

The pupils are taught for the majority of the time by a class teacher. PE including swimming is taught by the specialist team.

In Upper Key Stage 2 as part of the transition process into Secondary,  Resistant materials , Food Technology,  and Computing are taught by specialist teachers.   


In the secondary department pupils are organised in teaching groups based on ability and learning style.  Semi-formal learners are taught by a class teacher .Our more formal are taught by subject specialists, and the pupil’s transition between specialist rooms.

 Curriculum coverage and delivery


Curriculum coverage and delivery

  • In Primary all pupils follow a personalised learning programmes with a particular focus on developing, Communication, Independence, Physical skills, and where appropriate English Maths. Additional programmes and interventions to support individual needs are incorporated into these programmes.  Pupils not following the Explore curriculum are taught in a thematic way with the majority of learning based on a text. This encourages a contextualised and creative approach to learning.


  • In Key stage 3 all aspects of the National Curriculum are covered. Programmes of study are based on recommendations within the National curriculum, differentiated and adapted to meet the needs of the pupils.  Where required individual interventions are used to build up personalised timetables for each pupil. 


  • In Key Stage 4 and 6th form pupils will follow flexible learning programmes according to their needs and aspirations. These follow 3 main pathways but are flexible to allow for individual needs to be met .  


The pathways are:


  • Pathway 1: Equals Moving On: for learners within Entry 1

This is a modular curriculum focusing on the following areas:

Communication, Numeracy, ICT, Science, Technology, Creativity, PSHE, Leisure and Recreation, Daily Living Skills and Work Related Learning.


  • Pathway 2: Life and Living Skills:  for learners within Entry 1 and 2

This offers a range of units which can be selected to suit the particular needs and interests of the learner, these may focus on the following areas:

Communication, Maths, ICT, PSHE, Drama, Art, Music, Work

Related Learning, Home Management and Leisure


  • Pathway 3: Entry level and Functional Skills for learners within Entry 1 to 3 and beyond.

A range of qualifications in academic and vocational areas which may include

  • Functional skills English,Maths, ICT
  • AQA PSD (Entry 1 to Level 1)
  • Entry Level in a range of subject areas
  • GCSE Art
  • Young Leaders
  • First Aid
  • Aspects of Life and Living skills



These are supplemented with link courses with local colleges, a programme of work related learning, development of independent travel skills, and use of community facilities.  A range of pupil groupings based on ability, age and friendship will be used to maximise learning.

Extending opportunities 

We recognise that we cannot work alone in supporting the needs of each individual student. We therefore work in partnership with a range of agencies and with our local community. We believe that learning where possible should take place within context and students should have as many opportunities to explore the functionality and application of what they have learnt in real life situations.

Our curriculum provides a range of opportunities to motivate, support and teach children to develop effective learning skills. This will be enhanced opportunities to learn and consolidate skills outside of the classroom. We have extensive school grounds with areas linked to the curriculum. Regular visits to places of interest and expertise from a wide range of professionals are integrated into the schemes of work.

Additional opportunities to explore themes in greater depth will be covered in themed weeks or days such as book, arts, science, maths , STEM or enterprise weeks.

An extensive range of lunchtime and afterschool clubs enhance the development of personal and social skills and raise the self-esteem of pupils.

Residential opportunities are provided throughout the school.


Developing experiences linked to Nationally recognised schemes such as, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh, National Citizenship Service and the Arts award also enrich  and extend the learning opportunities for Pupils as they progress through the school .

Developing communication skills 

The development and use of communication and language are at the heart of our curriculum based on the principles of SCERTS.  Augmentative and alternative forms of communication such as signing or visual strategies are used to supplement enhance and reinforce learning.

Proven strategies and interventions are also interwoven within the curriculum, and used to formulate individual learning plans and timetables. 


The multidisciplinary team and a variety of outside agencies are involved in developing a “team around the child” and ensuring that all aspects of personal development are met.


We provide an environment that enables us to offer a wide range of multi sensory activities, both indoors and outdoors that encourage the pupils to explore, develop their curiosity and take risks which will help them make sense of the world.


We have a particular focus on developing personal, social and emotional skills as this gives the children the best opportunity for success in all other areas of learning. A programme of social and life skills is delivered across the curriculum, and within tutor time in the Secondary department. Emotional literacy will be used to supplement and support the curriculum, enabling pupils to develop skills of self awareness which will support them in making and maintaining positive relationships.

  Spiritual, Moral,  Social and Cultural

All subjects provide opportunities to promote SMSC. A significant contribution is also made by school ethos and effective relationships throughout the school.  Explicit opportunities to promote pupils' development in these areas are provided in religious education, personal, social health and citizenship education, (PSHCE) and PE. collective worship, thought for the week, school council and other curriculum and extra curricula activities.


Curriculum development and review 

Curriculum delivery is under constant and rigorous review, with each member of teaching staff is responsible for a curriculum area. Their role includes developing schemes of work which are accessible motivating and relevant for all pupils. These will be monitored regularly by the Leadership team ensuring that they are vibrant and meet the needs of our diverse pupil population. An annual curriculum audit will be led by each co-ordinator and will enable to co-ordinator to decide on priorities for strengthening their work and improve standards in their subject area.

Assessment,recording and reporting 

Assessment is the range of activities through which we come to know about the unique abilities and achievements of our pupils.  It also provides an overview of the knowledge, skills and understanding that has developed. It is the vehicle by which we can advise pupils, parents and carers of their targets and their progress towards them. It is at the heart of effective planning, teaching and personalised learning.



Assessment serves four fundamental purposes:


A)         To help pupils learn; in particular by allowing them to see their current level of progress and what they need to do next in order to reach or exceed their target. 


B)         To help teachers and teaching assistants to plan and teach more effectively and to adopt a more personalised approach to the needs of the students.


C)         To provide relevant and accurate information about achievement for pupils, parents and carers, teachers and others such as college providers at the point of transition.


D)         To provide a celebration and affirmation of success – thus raising self-esteem , mental wellbeing , motivation and engagement.

We recognise that assessment should be at the heart of the curriculum and that it should be continuous and multilayered.

A range of assessment techniques both formative and summative are built into curriculum delivery. Assessment for learning strategies are applied in each lesson and summative assessments are completed at the end of each unit of work.

All statutory assessments are completed at the end of  Key stage 1 and 2.

Assessment for Learning  

Within each lesson there is an expectation that the following principals will be applied

  • Sharing criteria and expectations
  • High quality interactions
  • Using feedback to inform the next steps of learning
  • Peer and self assessment
  • Reflection
  • Using a range of evidence to inform planning

Formal learners are encouraged to be actively involved in their learning and be able to state what they are doing to improve. Semi-formal and pre formal  learners will have clearly defined programmes where teaching assistants clearly understand the next steps in learning.


All pre formal learners  have core targets which are updated  twice a year,  these closely link to the ECHP and are in the  areas of 

•          communication

•          cognition

•          social and emotional

•          physical


All semi-formal learners will have a personalised learning plan (PLP) this will have targets in the areas of

  • communication
  • cognition - maths, reading and writing
  • social and emotional
  • physical

These will pull together advice from members of the multidisciplinary team and be reflected in and worked on across all curriculum areas.


All formal learners in addition to their curriculum targets will have

Young person outcomes which link to the EHCP (YPO) . These will be written annually  by the form tutor and reviewed  termly.  These are above and additional to the personalised learning targets and will focus on aspects relevant to each student, taking advice from a range of professions. Parents will be consulted either at a meeting, via a telephone conversation or through a written document. Pupil YPO’s and ways of tracking progress will be displayed within the tutor rooms.