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Curriculum Development at Collett

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum seeks to meet the individual's needs and prioritise those most important to them.  We have moved away from the teaching of separate subject areas, instead, combining those most important aspects of the national curriculum under themed areas of learning;
  • COMMUNICATION: To be able to communicate effectively with members of their community.  To be able to read and write in everyday contexts
  • FUNCTIONAL SKILLS: To acquire and practise the skills to communicate effectively at their individual level and for their individual needs.  To understand how to apply functional skills in life and work.
  • PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: To be able to form positive relationships and manage their own emotions.  To develop the physical skills to interact effectively with the world.
  • UNDERSTANDING MY WORLD: To develop an awareness of the world around us, including all forms of diversity and how to stay safe and healthy.  To be able to use mathematical skills functionally.

Our Journey

Collett's Curriculum Journey

The Collett Curriculum Journey

Issues We Addressed Through Our Journey

  • What the needs and wants are of our children and their families
  • How the Curriculum is mapped over time (annually and across the years)
  • The challenges of keeping NC schemes of work when some were not relevant
  • Appropriateness of examinations
  • Ability and Stages covered that are necessary, engaging and encourage enquiry
  • How effectively we work with employers and colleges of FE leading to work
  • Parents' engagement with their child's learning
  • How well literacy, reading and comprehension were taught
  • The impact of pupils' low working memory and strategies to support them retain information
  • The impact of interventions - their successes and tracking this through their schooling


When the National Curriculum Levels were disbanded in 2015, our school sought to create our own system of assessment, cross-referencing expectations of existing schemes and seeking to ensure the premise of the EYFS curriculum was embedded throughout the child's schooling. 

In the absence of better 'off-the shelf' systems, our Collett Assessing Pupil Progress Scheme (CAPPS) enabled teachers to have a framework of curriculum coverage from pre-national curriculum levels (P-Scales) through to GCSE.  At the time, we knew our cohort was changing from the typical MLD pupils to a more complex cohort and that we would be needing to adapt and amend our curriculum going forward to meet the new pupils' needs.  When we devised this system, we aligned our CAPPS attainment targets (a common and user-friendly system of 'I can' statements) to the GCSE, BTEC and Entry Level assessment objectives, in order to benchmark progress towards a range of outcomes our pupils were working towards.

In using the National Progression Materials - a government produced body of work that tracked achievements nationally from different starting points, we were able to address what typical progress of a child on different starting points would achieve through their schooling and, as such, what expected, good and outstanding progress would look like.

However, as special schools have often sought to create an adapted curriculum that supported the requirements of all schools (mainstream-focused) we have felt our curriculum has been a 'watered-down' mainstream curriculum at times.  Through our extensive fundraising with local and national companies as well as through our other community engagement work, we have first-hand knowledge of the workplaces in our area and the challenges faced for employers and employees with SEND.  Until recently, our pupils' destinations beyond college has been difficult to track as Youth Connexions were not routinely tracking SEND longer-term outcomes.   With GDPR and the challenges this brings to information holding, we have navigated our way through systems, supported by the aims of the Gatsby profile work to give credence to our information gathering.  We have known for a while that many of our pupils go through college, though continue to find it extremely challenging to both attain work placements and, sustain these when achieved.  Statistical data shows this to be a national problem.

In the creation of a curriculum that is bespoke to the school, the individuals and their futures, we have relished the confidence given by Ofsted in focusing on this.

Our curriculum design will remain fluid as our cohort of pupils continues to change.  The spiky profiles of some of our ASD and SEMH pupils will be catered for, along with our more SLD children even though we do not have the economies of scale that a mainstream school has - resources and teacher specialists working across all abilities from EYFS to entry level (pre-GCSE) in all areas of the curriculum.  We will do this through working with the same teacher for most of the day, where older pupils will work with teachers who have specialisms in areas to support the individual achieve the desired outcomes their abilities will sustain.

Children & their Families' Needs Were Central in Creating our Curriculum 

Addressing The Wants & Needs of Our Children & Their Families

Children with SEND often aspire to the same sort of outcomes as non-disabled children. However, what these outcomes meant, the way they are prioritised, and the level of achievement expected, often differs from non-disabled children.

Outcomes in certain areas of children’s lives – physical and emotional well-being, communication and safety are seen as fundamental and need to be addressed before other outcomes can be achieved.

Being able to communicate is fundamental to meeting desired outcomes in other areas of life for all groups. Children and parents highlight the importance of other people who have regular contact with the child (including parents and siblings, teachers, hospital staff, carers and peers) having the knowledge and skills to understand the child’s means of communication. Apart from giving the child a ‘voice’, having the ability to communicate is seen as opening doors to more opportunities, such as socialising, being active and becoming more independent, which in turn help promote a child’s feeling of security and self-esteem.

Keeping Children Safe from exploitation, abusive relationships or physical danger, and the difficulties this poses when children receive care from a number of people, cannot communicate well or lack any sense of danger, is emphasised by parents.. Staying safe is also talked about in terms of preventing the child having accidents. There were different reasons why children might be vulnerable to accidents including using inappropriate or unsafe equipment, living in unsuitable housing and/or requiring high levels of supervision.

Enjoying and achieving encompassed various inter-related areas:  Socialising and having friends Having friends was a priority for many children and their parents. However parents of children with ASD recognise that to have friends their children would first need to have the desire to interact. The lack of contact with school friends out of school was seen as a barrier to achieving friendship, and is a source of considerable frustration for some children.

Activities and experiences: having interests and being able to participate in activities is something parents want for their child. Many are concerned that their child’s ‘world’ was restricted to home and school and they want their child to have greater variety and opportunities. Most parents express the desire for their children to participate in mainstream activities in their local community. The exception was some parents of children with degenerative conditions who reported their children were no longer able to cope with such situations. Many children also express a desire to be ‘doing more’. The lack of accessible or appropriate facilities and/or the lack of support to assist the child mean that taking part in mainstream activities can often very difficult.

Education and learning: Parents’ aspirations for their child’s education varies according to the severity of the condition and associated learning difficulties. All parents want their child to fulfil their learning potential. For those with limited cognitive abilities, acquiring self-care and living skills and enjoying a stimulating environment is often prioritised over academic achievements. However, for children with greater cognitive abilities, parents want their child to at least achieve basic skills such as reading, writing and number skills. Children with complex health conditions do not want their schoolwork to be affected by having time off due to ill-health or for treatments. 

Self-care and life skills: While for non-disabled children independence is often seen as the child being able to do something without help, for many disabled children, this is not achievable in certain areas of their lives. Managing self-care tasks as independently as possible, with or without support, was a key priority among many children and parents.

Independence is often seen in terms of children reaching their potential in carrying out life skills with or without support. The life skills children want to acquire include being able to make snacks, go out alone, handle money and manage unforeseen circumstances when out and about.

Feeling loved, valued and respected.  Parents want their children to feel that they were loved and that what they wanted matters. Treating the child as an individual, involving the child in making decisions about his/her life, and respecting the child’s privacy (in a way appropriate to their age) were among things said to make children feel valued.

Identity and self-esteem.  For many children feeling ‘normal’ can be important and this tends to be linked to being accepted by their peer group. ‘Looking good’, wearing similar clothes to others and being able to use attractive equipment (boots, wheelchair etc.) contribute to how they feel about themselves. Parents want services to be more sensitive to the child’s identity and social integration when issuing with equipment, making sure that it is attractive whilst still offering appropriate support. They also stress the importance of the child experiencing success, and having their achievements recognised.

Being part of the local community: having the same access to opportunities and activities as non-disabled children and being part of the local community was important to many children and parents across all groups. However, for children who attend special school, the location of the child’s school and the inaccessibility of local facilities can often mean children do not participate in local community-based activities.

Feeling involved and having the opportunity to exercise choices: being involved in decisions that affect their lives was important for many children and their parents. This ranges from choices about what to wear, how and where they spend their time, planning for the future and decisions about their care and treatments.

Economic well-being; having a job and earning money in adulthood is seen as important by young people with good cognitive ability and their parents. Employment opportunities and support, and access to transport are seen as key factors in achieving these outcomes. Parents of young people with more limited understanding want them to be meaningfully occupied and be able to contribute something when they become adults.

Not all disabled children will be able to make an economic contribution and families with disabled children are more likely to be living in poverty than other families, so the presence of adequate levels of benefits is important.

Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital

Ofsted added the term 'cultural capital' to their inspection handbook as part of its 2019 update.  It defines it as: the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said, and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman explained: By 'cultural capital', we simply mean the essential knowledge, those standard reference points, that we want all children to have.  So for example, it’s about being able to learn about and name things that are, for many, outside their daily experience. 

It is for the school to decide what is 'essential knowledge' for our pupils and as such, our curriculum outlines the cultural capital we want our pupils and students to learn about; with due regard to relevance for their particular needs as young people with specific needs in our mainstream world.

It is crucial to our pupils that they develop their cultural capital so that they have equal opportunities for social mobility and to achieve success in society, diminishing the difference. With this in mind, our curriculum has a strong focus on PCSHE (Pastoral, Citizenship, Social, Health, and Economic) as well as growing in pupils a strong mental health by developing values such as compassion, resilience, teamwork, risk management and performance.

At The Collett school, we recognise that for pupils to aspire to be successful in our mainstream world, they need a curriculum that embraces the complexities of their changing needs. It needs to give pupils appropriate opportunities and experiences that in turn nurtures their self-esteem through engagement and learning the required skills and knowledge in order to survive and thrive. 


Collett's Curriculum INTENT

The rationale for our curriculum is to enable robust foundations for an impactful adulthood.

Our 'Intent' outlines the core and moral purpose of our curriculum design.  In addition, we carefully considered the design of the curriculum, what is covered and its relevance for our individual pupils transitioning through childhood into adulthood.  This school's curriculum covers the entire learning experience for each pupil - what's learnt in class, unstructured learning times - breaks, lunches, games and clubs, informal and formal learning of knowledge and the skills to apply this.
Our Collett School Curriculum intent is ultimately to engage children with learning in order to successfully access our mainstream world with increasing independence.  We want our pupils to thrive through their childhood whilst enabling robust foundations for an impactful adulthood.
Learning is a complex activity and not necessarily linear; particularly so for children and adults with cognitive disabilities and disorders, syndromes and the layered complexity of these.  Often subject-specific learning requires earlier 'building blocks' to be in place in order to acquire new knowledge/skills.  As a child, each pupil needs to be supported in remembering and embedding knowledge and applied skills to encourage an enquiring mind.  Our teaching consistently supports the individual in their developing independence to further their learning and apply knowledge and skills in different contexts. 
The National Curriculum entitlement forms a strong part of our school curriculum; ensuring a broad, balanced and meaningful programme of learning and experiences.  Within our school, relevance is of particular importance and as such, some national curriculum areas of study have different relevancies to our pupils in childhood, whereas other areas are crucial, such as reading and skills in communication.  
Learning at different rates and the embedding of knowledge can be particularly difficult for some of our pupils.   Due to their difficulties, our pupils are likely to:
  • Be working below or at the lower end of the standards set out by the National Curriculum, though have some age-appropriate knowledge and skills
  • Have non-traditional learning needs such as feeding independence skills in managing transitions, medical needs, personal care or requiring specific therapies.
As such, the skill in teaching concepts and knowledge by breaking down the activities and tasks to help the individual grasp and retain this means our assessment methodology needs to cover both small steps and assimilate these into chunks of progress.  Assessing progress in our school considers carefully what 'we' (including the child, their teachers, potential employers, the child's family) want the individual to achieve and as such, we make judgements on whether enough progress has been made and how we enable/ facilitate this potential for the pupil.  In doing so, we look carefully at 'outcomes' - both in terms of accreditation and those outcomes identified in the individual's EHCP.
Our Learning Disability (LD) Sector schools in Hertfordshire do not have Post-16 provisions, but pupils statutorily have to continue education until 18yrs.  As such, the vast majority of pupils leave our school for one of the four colleges of further education in Hertfordshire, an FE college in another county or, sometimes a private SEND school with a sixth form provision. 
We want to know the impact of our curriculum and school experiences on our leavers.   As such, we have been having purposeful conversations with young adults and their families who attended Collett and St Luke's to find out about their experiences since leaving school.  Discussions have highlighted the challenges faced of attending college, expectations and attempts to access the world of work.   Like the majority of adults with cognitive disabilities, many are unemployed, though the majority are active in voluntary roles.  Some view their situation positively as further building experience of the working world to gain subsequent employment.  Some of our alumni students have continued with education beyond 18yrs as part of the 0-25 agenda, though a few who went on to undertake apprenticeships have left these and as such, their EHCP has ceased.
The picture of early adulthood (and longer term) is challenging for many with cognitive disabilities.  Like their mainstream counterparts, our young people (and alumni) have been significantly affected by COVID-19.  The 'Big Ask' of 5million young people has however, revealed a majority have retained a positive outlook for their future.  Proportionately few young people with SEND make up the consulted young people, which will hopefully be rectified to capture the views and needs of those with disabilities and provide a national body of information from which to inform further evidence-based decision-making. 
The impact of COVID-19 on our current learners has been varied, though having school staff's strong relationships and support, knowledge of their capability and how to respond effectively to their needs, has supported the majority of children in their self-regulation and mental health needs.
The challenges for our young adults with SEND continue into and across their adulthood.  Young people starting employment now will work longer and change jobs more often – competing in what is an increasingly uncertain jobs market.   Government statistics identify 94% of adults with SEND and/or complex mental health difficulties are not in employment.   In competing with highly qualified peers (more than 50% of school leavers nationally attend university) our curriculum has to be relevant, purposeful and appropriate in supporting our youngsters to see themselves in employment, to secure work and have the resilience to remain in their job. 
Within and across our schools the young people’s needs are incredibly diverse, requiring high levels of flexibility and creativity of the adults working with them to ensure curriculum breadth, work-related learning and the functional application of skills in addition to the rising confidence levels and self-esteem needed to effectively navigate the challenges of our mainstream world.
Our curriculum seeks to meet the individual's needs and prioritise those most important to them.  We have moved away from the teaching of separate subject areas, instead, combining those most important aspects of the national curriculum under themed areas of learning;
  • COMMUNICATION: To be able to communicate effectively with members of their community.  To be able to read and write in everyday contexts
  • FUNCTIONAL SKILLS: To acquire and practise the skills to communicate effectively at their individual level and for their individual needs.  To understand how to apply functional skills in life and work.
  • PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: To be able to form positive relationships and manage their own emotions.  To develop the physical skills to interact effectively with the world.
  • UNDERSTANDING MY WORLD: To develop an awareness of the world around us, including all forms of diversity and how to stay safe and healthy.  To be able to use mathematical skills functionally.
We still want to identify subject area specific teaching for aspects of literacy, numeracy etc. whilst ensuring these are also included in the wider thematic foci for learning.

Relevance of Learning Through Pathways

It is recognised that children will not always fit neatly into a particular pathway, and that a best fit approach is required.   That said, we have created Pathways of learning which are more relevant to the child than an arching curriculum that loses purpose and intent. 
Within each pathway there is flexibility in terms of the content delivered to ensure that the needs of all children over time can be most appropriately met.  As such, our Pathways are a route of learning knowledge and skills that our pupils need to learn in order to reach their 'destination'.  The destination is a combination of accreditation that is relevant to the learner and, their next programme of learning towards the world of work.
Capturing progress against skills ladders, that allow learning to be pitched appropriately and knowledge areas; mapped out over time to ensure coverage of key ideas.  Objectives are identified for each strand, differentiated by pathway, with each strand of learning revisited in subsequent key stages to allow progression, over-learning and gap filling.

Curriculum Areas of Learning

The terms 'Functional Skills', 'Personal Development' and 'Understanding My World' form the headings of our curriculum areas of learning, all within the umbrella of 'Communication'

FUNCTIONAL SKILLS: To acquire and practise the skills to communicate effectively at their individual level and for their individual needs.  This area of learning will include taught knowledge and skills in English; reading, writing and speaking skills.  Using skills in the expressive arts to apply existing knowledge into individual thought, interpretation and creativity, with relevance and purpose. 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: To be able to form positive relationships and manage their own emotions.  To develop the physical skills to interact effectively with the world. As such, physical skills are developed as are practical skills to be proactive in our choices, safety and health.  We  examine and develop personal, spiritual and moral codes as well as the ability to explore what truth means in order to find fulfilment and self awareness.

UNDERSTANDING MY WORLD: To develop an awareness of the world around us, including all forms of diversity and how to stay safe and healthy.  To be able to use mathematical skills functionally.Developing an ability to understand different contexts, express individual thoughts and appreciate others' views.

Though teaching discreet subjects happens, we seek to ensure learning is contextualised and translated to different situations.  Our work leads to external and internal forms of accreditation that are relevant to the individual and their abilities/capacities - with high expectations of every child. 


Pupils' Progress Towards Relevant Outcomes

Pupils following a carefully constructed curriculum will lead to accreditations in Year 11.  These are relevant to the child's adulthood and are pitched at a level with stretch and appropriateness.

It is recognised that children do not always follow the same pathway as their peers, and that progress will not always be smooth; they may make more or less progress than their peers at different points in the school life. Therefor there is provision for children to move between pathways. At the end of each key stage, children are assessed to ensure that they are on the correct pathway.


Curriculum Implementation

Curriculum Content, Organisation and Delivery

All pupils are offered a broad and balanced curriculum that is differentiated according to their personal needs and strengths.  These are formulated through Pathways that target teaching and experiences relevant to the child's needs.   Every Pathway addresses the development of functional skills in literacy and numeracy, speech, language and communication, social interaction and independent living.

The wide school curriculum includes a wealth of routes for learning, which include lunch-time and after-school clubs, with high levels of skilled staff who continue to educate and support learners. There are planned integration experiences, for example with pupils from local mainstream schools, and educational outings as part of the curriculum.

Timetables at The Collett School follow a primary style manner of teaching, with pupils having a 'learning group' which most of their lessons are taught in.  However, specialist teachers and/or teachers who developed expertise in a primary or secondary setting work with our children over the course of the week. School organisation is flexible to meet the changing pattern of pupil needs. 

Organisation is responsive to the needs of the pupils as they develop in skills and age. Small classes, and variable adult/pupil ratios depending on the needs of the group, ensure that learning can be tailored to a pupil’s individual needs. Included in this offer of a personalised approach is the assurance that intimate care and attention to all basic functions is guaranteed.

Teaching uses a wide variety of methods to teach key skills and abstract concepts through national curriculum subjects. Children learn in different ways so knowledge is delivered and skills taught using kinaesthetic, visual, practical and concrete approaches. Pupils are likely to require access to a high level of visual support, e.g. objects of reference, photographs, the use of symbols and appropriate signing strategies.  Some children benefit from SCERTS and TEACCH principles and these are deployed where relevant. 

Pupils are given regular opportunities to learn new skills and to generalise those already learned through frequent repetition and the chance to practise skills in different situations.  This will include a large range of curriculum enrichment activities, such as visits to museums and subject-related facilities in the wider community.

We enable pupils with complex learning needs to access education and engage in learning in preparation for adult life. This is provided in a safe environment. All our pupils have learning difficulties and cognitive barriers to learning to differing degrees.  As such, our curriculum is created in Pathways that focus on the child's needs and progress through a relevant curriculum.


Our Curriculum Pathways

Our curriculum and subsequent planning is divided into three main sections, based on the differing needs of our pupils within the lower, middle and upper school - with relative and meaningful aspirations.  The learning intentions within the Curriculum Pathways are aligned to the National Curriculum, but topics are chosen that are relevant to the needs, skills and understanding, as well as interests of the pupils. We strive to ensure that the topics chosen reflect the ages of the pupils exploring them; otherwise, they are left vulnerable, particularly when out in the community. e.g. young adult with Thomas the Tank engine lunchbox. There are no perceived limitations to what pupils can achieve.


Pathways Overview at The Collett School

Pupils entering The Collett School at nursery age will follow an adapted Early Years curriculum until they reach the age of 5 years. At this point, teachers and parents will decide which of three curriculum pathways is most suitable for pupils; This could be Pathway 1, 2, 3 or 4. The curriculum selected will depend upon the pupil's barriers to learning, their needs and long-term goals.

We avoid rigid placement within a pathway and movement between pathways is possible following re-evaluation of a pupil’s needs and progress each term. Each curriculum pathway is enriched through therapeutic interventions, the performing arts, outside learning opportunities and employee encounters or work experience. In addition, objectives for lessons are taken from the National Curriculum but also a wide range of other avenues.

The curriculum is structured into a rolling programme of topics, through which the above themes are delivered.

Specialist spaces including the Soft Play, the and the Sensory Room are used regularly to support the development of these areas. Pupils have daily opportunities to take part in child-led play; more structured learning is introduced when each individual pupil is developmentally ready for this. Pupils participate in specialist Literacy programmes, including the Read Write Inc and Handwriting Without Tears, where this is relevant and accessible for them.

Throughout the Early Years curriculum all pupils are considered as individuals and where appropriate, individual learning activities are planned that reflect pupil’s abilities and specialist needs. Some pupils benefit from learning within the EYFS Framework for longer, depending upon need.


Pathway 4 

Highly Structured Learning

Pupils' will tend to be Autistic, have more Severe Learning Disabilities

This pathway is designed to meet the needs of pupils facing the most severe and multiple barriers to learning. Teaching focuses on stimulating and developing pupils’ capacities in the following key areas:

  • Cognition Development
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Language and Communication Development
  • Physical Development
  • Self-care Development
  • Skills for engaging with reading and writing

As such, pupils will

  • learn to self-regulate and self soothe so that they can enjoy a sense of calm and wellbeing
  • learn to relate to others so that they may enjoy companionship 
  • learn to communicate their wants and needs
  • be supported in developing and maintaining a healthy body and mind
  • learn to reduce their dependency on adults and develop increased independence with regard to self-care and decision-making
  • have access to, and contribute to, their wider community.
  • develop an awareness of their environment through access to outdoor learning


Pathway 2 and 3 

Semi-Formal Learning

Pupils' will tend to be lower ability Moderate Learning Disabilities, Global Development Delay

This pathway is designed to meet the needs of pupils facing moderate to severe and complex needs. Teaching focuses on supporting pupils to engage with practical skills that are needed in adult life and will enable the individual to access social, cultural and leisure activities beyond school. For some pupils, the practical skills will have an application to vocational enterprises. As self-confidence grows, levels of support are reduced and new challenges are offered to widen pupils’ skill-base.

Teaching focuses on developing pupils’ skills in the following key Areas of Learning:

  • Personal, Social Development
  • Communication
  • Physical Development
  • Creative Arts development
  • Understanding My World
  • Functional literacy and numeracy

Key Outcomes

  • Pupils learn functional numeracy and literacy skills
  • Pupils learn to follow basic instructions
  • Pupils learn to respect social boundaries
  • Pupils will be supported to maintain a healthy body and mind
  • Pupils learn to observe safety protocols
  • Pupils engage in a variety of internal work experience opportunities
  • Pupils learn skills that will enable them to live as independently as possible
  • Pupils complete accredited Entry Level and Functional skills units of study
  • Pupils engage with community based social, cultural and leisure activities and where possible, work experience
  • Pupils develop an awareness of their environment through trips into the local community and outdoor learning opportunities


Pathway 1 

Formal Learning

Pupils will tend to be Autistic, have Moderate Learning Disabilities and have spiky learning profiles

This pathway is designed to meet the needs of pupils facing more moderate barriers to learning. Teaching focuses on developing pupils’ skills in the key Areas of Learning:

  • Personal, Social Development
  • Communication
  • Physical Development
  • Creative Arts development
  • Understanding My World
  • Functional literacy and numeracy

Key Outcomes

  • Pupils learn to follow routines, schedules and instructions as independently as possible
  • Pupils learn to safely initiate social interaction in a range of different contexts
  • Pupils are encouraged to maintain a healthy body and mind
  • Pupils engage in a variety of internal and external work experiences
  • Pupils develop the life skills needed for independent living
  • Pupils develop their verbal, written and numerical capacities to prepare them for further education
  • Pupils complete accredited Entry Level, Functional skills unit awards and GCSE English and Maths
  • Pupils access community based social, cultural and leisure activities and work experience
  • Pupils develop a connection to their environment through trips into the local community and outdoor learning opportunities·



Functional Skills Learning

The curriculum has a focus on ‘functional’ so that pupils develop the skills necessary to thrive and live as independently as possible. Some topics are also chosen to excite and motivate our pupils e.g. myths and legends - we have a large group of pupils who enjoy playing with mythical figures at playtime. Links are made between elements of learning e.g. letter writing to a figure from history. Where possible, learning is linked to first-hand experiences such as going to the shop for money handling. This puts the learning within a context, making it more meaningful and useful. Wider skills such as reading are also laid out across the subjects to build comprehension.


Measuring Progression

Assessment information feeds into curriculum planning which ensures that there is progress in concepts from year group to year group, department to department. One of our progress measurements is  CAPPS, a system designed by staff.  Staff are able to track next steps in learning and highlight pupils who need intervention and/or further challenge. They are also used to identify curriculum areas that need strengthening. CAPPS enables staff to pitch the curriculum at the correct level and to ensure topics are progressive across the school.  We use additional measures for assessment to judge standards against national measures including age-related expectations for neurotypical children.

Targets are set in collaboration with pupils, parents and other professionals and reviewed together on a regular basis. Assessment is moderated across the county and regionally. Information and data is held at school, local authority and national level. A range of assessment tools are used to provide a picture of attainment and progression. These tools include our bespoke system, CAPPS, the use of historical National Curriculum levels, new P Levels, visual assessment tools, Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Wide Range Intelligence Testing (WRIT), TOMAL2, reading and comprehension tests, receptive and expressive language tools and teacher assessment.


Challenge and Relevant Outcomes

The right pitch and challenge is ensured for pupils by a series of pathways, based on their starting points. There is the option to transfer to a more challenging pathway, should this be appropriate. These are aligned to National expectations and appropriate external accreditations to support them accessing college and the world of work beyond.

Each Department has a different rationale for the structure of their curriculum although there are some key methods of teaching such as revisiting and reinforcing, building on prior knowledge and skills, teaching in a logical sequence building to an outcome that transfer across all.



Staff are the greatest resource in the school and they are expert in using strategies to overcome barriers to learning.  Learning difficulties schools provide expertise in a number of associated areas which impact on the education of the pupils.  Pupils have access to staff trained in alternative communication approaches, for example signing, symbols and IT-based alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices. Staff are trained in physical intervention as a matter of routine. 

Visual aids such as schedules and social stories support social communication and learning.

Facilities to support teaching and learning include, for example sensory resources, ICT, adventure play equipment, IT, library and minibuses.  Additionally pupils have access to swimming and appropriate outdoor spaces.


Trans-disciplinary Approach

A range of professionals works with the pupils, parents and staff of the schools to ensure that the best possible guidance is provided to encourage and support educational development. These professionals include Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Music and other therapists, School Nurses, Consultant Paediatrician, Educational Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Counsellors and Advisory Teachers for Autism, Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment, Connexions Personal Advisers and FE College tutors.

Schools work with a variety of external professionals to provide for the holistic needs of children and young people.


Accountability Structure for The Collett School's Curriculum

The Blue Tangerine Federation Governors - Monitoring of Quality of Provision

Executive Headteacher - Quality of Provision, Analysis and Impact

Head of School - Development of Framework, Intent, Standards, Training Needs

Deputy Head of School - Teaching and Learning - Leader of the curriculum: Strategy and Operation, Delivery and Training Needs, Analysis

Heads of Department - Coverage, Standards, Assessment, Implementation, Interventions, Action Planning, Analysis

Teachers - Triangulation of planning, assessment, teaching and learning. Feedback to pupils and parents, collaborative practices, reporting, termly pupil progress, contribution to curriculum area development and analysis

Teaching Assistants - Standards, consistency of delivery, adaptation to needs, contribution to curriculum area development and analysis