We are pleased to share an overview of our school curriculum, describe our highly specialised approach and explain briefly the content within each Key Stage of the curriculum which not only supports the development of subject knowledge, but also acts as a medium within which cross-curricular skills can be taught, practiced and mastered. It captures our curriculum within ‘a moment in time’ as it is an organic document that changes in response to pupils’ needs, staff skills and any opportunities that may present themselves.

Our curriculum at Springhead School is skill and context-based and encourages active engagement in learning. The curriculum focuses on developing the key skills of communication, cognition, independence, physical development and self-care, all transferrable skills that equip children and young people for life beyond school. The pupils’ learning difficulties at Springhead School cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.

Our curriculum strives to be responsive to each learner, is broad and ambitious and builds on individual strengths and interests. Throughout the school, a rolling plan is in place, which supports a balance of stimulating contexts for learning through different learning experiences, themes and subjects.

Our three core curricula

Pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) are provided with an informal curriculum which is specifically designed to meet their needs in connecting and responding.

Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) benefit from a semi-formal curriculum which promotes independence and life-skills, and is highly stimulating.

Pupils with Complex Moderate Learning Difficulties (CMLD) receive an adaptation of the National Curriculum which emphasises mastery and deeper learning.

In addition, children in the Early Years Foundation Stage follow the statutory EYFS curriculum. We are committed to offering our children and young people with the best opportunities. We aim to provide curricula opportunities which are meaningful, accessible, motivating, contextualised and appropriately challenging to maximise progress for each child and take the learning opportunities across every aspect of the pupil’s day.

At Springhead School we ensure that the emphasis on Communication and Literacy across the Curriculum is informed and effective. We use a range of augmentative or alternative strategies to promote the ability of some learners to communicate successfully, enabling them to respond and interact to their full capacity

Reading at Springhead

At Springhead, we recognise the need for a varied and personalised approach to the teaching of reading. Some pupils will need to develop early ‘readiness for reading’ skills and all pupils are assessed to identify any gaps in their readiness for reading skills before moving onto more formal reading learning. Some pupils will continue with developing these skills throughout their time at school. Some will be able to progress to decoding, and/or language comprehension and reading comprehension. Some will be able to become independent readers.

All pupils at Springhead are exposed to a wide and rich variety of stories, rhymes, songs and books, to embed a love of reading and to build communication skills whether through sign, gesture, tone of voice, facial expression, participation etc. Stories and books are selected to reflect whatever is developmentally appropriate for them, whilst still recognising age appropriateness and interests. There is considerable evidence that reading to children promotes brain development and reading skills and that it is highly beneficial for children to listen to stories read at level which is beyond their own reading ability.

Phonics is regarded as the accepted approach to teach reading in mainstream primaries. However, phonics does not work well for all children. Where phonics is used, the programme the school uses is ‘All Aboard Phonics’. No single reading method will be effective for all students with learning disabilities. Most individuals with learning disabilities will benefit from the application of a variety of methods and teachers will assess what will work best for each pupil/student.