Our Curriculum

At The Collett School, we have five key stages from Reception aged children to Post16 Provision (a West Herts Provision on the site of The Collett School).

All pupils follow a broad, balanced, relevant and functional curriculum, including the National Curriculum, individualised to meet their needs. There is a strong emphasis on enabling children and young people to become confident, participative, independent learners.

Each pupil works on a number of individual target items determined by an assessment of their individual learning needs. Targets can range from learning-to-learn skills such as sitting and attending, early learning skills such as being able to match a colour, letter or number, through to more complex skills such as abstract reasoning. Personalised programmes include functional and daily living skills in addition to more conventional academic skills.

Throughout the school day, whether in 1:1 or group work, whether in classrooms, around the school, in the playground, or in the local community, pupils are given learning opportunities to contextualise and generalise all that they are being taught.

The school environment and our varied approaches to teaching and learning aims promotes our young people's sense of achievement and belief in their abilities. Teaching is planned and delivered to ensure that pupils are able to build on their achievements, as well as generalise their learning.

The National Curriculum:

Learning Groups 2018-19

We are a primary and secondary all-through school. However, we call ourselves Lower, Middle and Upper Schools in order to celebrate age transitions and work across key stages.


We use the curriculum at The Collett School as a tool to deliver our aims, taking every opportunity to encourage personal, social and emotional growth through enhancements such as visits, visitors, focus days and activity weeks. We have fun on the way, as we know that a happy school experience supports the development of self esteem and human agency required to tackle the challenges that semi-independent living can bring for a young person with learning difficulties and disabilities. We are practical in our solutions to creating the smoothest transition from school to further education and the workplace.

Our school curriculum operates within an ethos of entitlement and participation. All pupils follow the National Curriculum at an appropriate level. Pupils are placed within a Learning Group with a class teacher and teaching assistants. We have mixed-age classes which are also ability-grouped in Middle and Upper School. This approach allows us to focus teaching for children with comparable learning and communication needs and to tailor the curriculum to personalized outcomes, offering accreditations from Entry Level 1 to GCSE. Our school structure of Lower, Middle and Upper Schools ensures that pupils experience appropriate age-related academic and social transitions as they progress through the school.

Lower School Classes

Lower School

Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception) and Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
Lead Teacher: Mr Alex Chaplin

Pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are in the main, taught as a single group in Robins Class. Pupils follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, which leads on to Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum. Teaching prioritises the development of basic skills including personal and social skills. The early years practitioners (teacher, nursery nurse and teaching assistants) plan for effective learning where children are supported to develop child-initiated play and explorative approaches to learning. The curriculum is based on EYFS statutory framework and is frequently reviewed and adapted in line with the current cohort’s developmental and educational needs. Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language are the prime fundamental areas of learning. Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design underpin the prime areas and are an integral part of the broad curriculum.

The pupils develop an awareness of themselves and how to relate to their peers and adults. They learn to participate in paired and small group activities and the basic skills of how to look after themselves and their belongings in preparation to move onto the next stages of learning.

Click Here to find a helpful website about foundation years

Key Stage 2 (Years 3 – 6)

The pupils are taught in three vertically grouped classes; Wrens, Rooks and Ravens. Our curriculum uses the National Curriculum with a strong emphasis on tailoring the academic provision to enable the pupils to progress effectively from their starting point.

Pupils are taught literacy and numeracy every day and other subjects (science, history, geography, RE) are delivered through topics using practical activities and experiences to reinforce understanding. Creative subjects like art, drama, music, dance, food technology and IT are interconnected and support learning across the curriculum as part of our broad and balanced provision.

Personal, social and emotional development education is at the core of all learning and extends the pupils’ understanding of safety, healthy living and the basic concepts of social interaction. Pupils begin to develop the skills to work within a small group or team. They participate in real-life related activities like visiting local shops and taking part in seasonal projects, to enhance the learning in the classroom as well as developing the awareness of their place within the wider community.

Middle School Classes

Middle School

Middle School Lead Teacher – Mr Ben Linford

Middle School has pupils mainly from KS3, though also some primary aged children. Middle School pupils are taught in one of four learning groups for most of their subject teaching.

Classrooms are age-appropriate and designed to de-institutionalise the school by making direct links with learning in the home and work environments. Simple additions such as sofas, lamps and tea-making facilities are used to form a comfortable and purposeful learning environment. The pupils tell us they love their classrooms, which they look after with pride. Our pupils communicate our school ethos clearly through their behaviour and enthusiasm – reflected in their lessons and informal situations.

Learning groups are set up to support pupils’ communication needs and abilities with approximately 10 -12 pupils in a class. Each learning group has a class teacher and one or two teaching assistants who are with the class for the majority of the day, teaching literacy, numeracy and a range of other subjects through a topic-based approach. The afternoon lessons include subjects such as music, cooking & P.E. with specialist teachers. In Middle School, all subjects in the National Curriculum are followed using the programmes of study from Key Stage 3 differentiated to ensure access to the curriculum is possible with our children who have cognitive disabilities. All pupils follow a course in personal and social development (PSD) and citizenship to support developing independence and prepare for life in modern Britain.

Progress in learning is usually outstanding as a result of high quality teaching that directly links subjects and topics through functional skills and a focus on the development of effective communication. Each class has its own ‘flavour’ enhanced by a curriculum that meets their needs and interests.

Upper School Classes

Upper School Lead Teacher

Middle School Lead Teacher – Mrs Jennie Witter
Accreditation & Vocational Learning

The pupils are taught in learning groups according to their communication needs and abilities with approximately 10-12 pupils in a class. Each learning group has a class teacher and up to two teaching assistants who are for the majority of the day, in the same classroom. The adult ratio is often higher when other professionals work alongside the teachers e.g. careers-related teaching and experiences.

The pupils follow KS4 aspects of the National Curriculum as appropriate with a strong emphasis on the teaching of English and maths as well as a thorough Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship education programme. Other subjects are taught through a topic-based approach, leading to external qualifications with high, yet appropriate stretch. The curriculum is regularly reviewed so that each pupil has an opportunity to develop personal skills and widen their interests. Working with other local secondary schools, we have been able to support a pupil access GCSE dance for 2017.

We offer a range of externally moderated courses to pupils with the aim of introducing a broader choice of qualifications to match pupils’ interests and abilities. All pupils work towards certification in English, maths, science, design & technology, humanities including Religious Education and, art. They take Entry Level Functional Skills Qualifications in English, maths and IT. GCSE courses in maths, English, Geography, modern languages and art are available to those pupils whom it is appropriate.

Pupils have the opportunity to choose vocational courses in horticulture and ‘community action’ leading to accreditations such as City & Guilds or Entry Pathways. They can also opt to gain Level One qualifications in horticulture, construction and cookery through BTEC and City & Guilds examinations. Last year, our pupils achieved Level 1 in the Jamie Oliver BTEC and this year, some children have passed Level 2 qualifications in this very important subject.

College Link and Work Experience
Pupils attend link courses at West Herts College or Oaklands College, giving them the opportunity to experience education in a different environment and to promote the values of learning as young adults. Here pupils learn alongside others with special needs and mainstream students. They spend either an extended morning or afternoon at college for a term to have comparative experiences. The programme is designed to meet a range of learning difficulties and include: preparation for work, basic skills, ICT, media, creative arts and life skills. The purpose of our link courses is also to build the pupils’ confidence in attending college as an intended destination beyond schooling.

Work experience is an integral part of the vocational learning followed by pupils in Years 10, 11 (and currently Year 12). Our vocational courses support the child’s broad and balanced curriculum that seeks to broaden pupils’ interests and engagement with the world of work. All pupils are encouraged to make an informed choice of their work experience placement. They each have an opportunity to undertake some community experience or sheltered placements that culminate in the chance to secure a longer placement – these are sometimes paid part-time employment opportunities. We also create extended work experience placements where this is appropriate, meaning children attend work placements to gain work and life skills, whilst undertaken supported programmes of study across work and school.

Careers Guidance and Work Related Learning
We have a range of external sources of careers guidance that meet the new statutory guidelines. These include employer visits, mentoring and website and telephone helpline access. This is together with the provision set up within school – careers teaching by the class teachers, progamme of our weekly college visits about next steps – education and work.

Careers is taught as a cross-curricular programme throughout the whole school. Younger pupils begin by looking at different job roles whilst learning the foundation subjects through a topic-based approach. From Year 10 onwards, pupils follow integrated courses including Work Related Learning thus allowing them to investigate in greater detail jobs of particular interest to them. All pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 have an individual interview with a Careers Advisor who visits the school and attends annual review meetings to support pupils’ college choices and advise the parents. We are also aware of the apprenticeships resources and access this throughout our teaching.

It is one of our aims of the school that all pupils will access the mainstream world on an individual level. Work experience and a desire to be part of the workforce – to pay our taxes and give to charities for those less fortunate than ourselves forms a key message in our provision. As such, we are developing opportunities for our pupils to experience work-related learning through effective partnerships with local, national and international employers. Our links with colleges and employers extends across Hertfordshire and supports children from all areas of the county.

Our newly created Collett Cafe is a mobile unit, converted from a horse-box, to set up stall outside employers' workplaces to sell great quality hot and cold drinks along with good quality cake that pupils have made. Simple but quality menus, served by our pupils looking to work in the service industry. Functional Skills in action.

If you have access to work experience placements, please do get in touch, we are always growing our range of opportunities for our pupils. 01442 398988.
Curriculum Subject Areas
MFL: French
PSD: Careers
PSD: Citizenship