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Great Arley


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Whole School Curriculum Overview


At Great Arley School we have high aspirations for all our pupils. Our curriculum is designed to provide high-quality, tailored opportunities for each pupil to achieve their full potential, maximise their talents and to be happy, healthy and safe. We aim to support them to become confident, independent adults who can make a positive contribution to their communities and enjoy and achieve lifelong learning.    


Our curriculum is underpinned by the 5 key life skills1:    

  • Self-control    

  • Self-perception    

  • Social skills    

  • Motivation    

  • Resilience    


Within our curriculum we teach and promote British Values and the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of our pupils.    


1“Life Lessons, Improving essential life skills for young people” (Carl Cullimane and Rebecca Montacute, October 2017, pub. The Sutton Trust) 


Our curriculum is designed through Great Arley School’s 12 Principles of Curriculum Design, which are:  

  1. Recognise the intrinsic link between knowledge and skills    

  2. Develop the 5 Life Skills domains for all pupils (self-control, self-perceptions, social skills, motivation and resilience)    

  3. Incorporate cross curricular themes and links     

  4. Maintain the principle of “Mastery Learning” (Benjamin Bloom)    

  5. Embed retrieval and intelligent practice through interleaving, practice and repetition    

  6. Sequence (order) and layer (level) learning, clearly and in detail, to maximise pupil progress and attainment    

  7. Focus progression through the national curriculum in all subjects to create a progression model    

  8. Ensure appropriate breadth, balance, depth and pace of learning for all pupils    

  9. Consider the local context and pupils’ own, personal contexts and needs    

  10. Maximise opportunities for active learning and personal learning preferences     

  11. Enrich the quality of education with well-planned regular trips to the local area and beyond, and visitors to school, that are tightly linked to the curriculum    

  12. Reflect on and review the curriculum regularly for ongoing development and improvement  


At Great Arley School, to ensure equal opportunities and to maximise the progress of all our learners by accessing the curriculum, our provision is as follows: 

A whole school curriculum that is age appropriate and that is well matched to the cognitive ability of pupils and based on the statutory requirements of the national curriculum September 2014. This includes the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for pupils in Primary Red who are at Key Stage 1 (KS1) and lower Key Stage 2 (KS2); the Key Stage 1 curriculum for pupils in Primary Yellow or upper Key Stage 2; a combination of Key Stage 2 and 3 curriculums for pupils in Key Stage 3 (KS3) which has been developed by subject specialists, identifies key learning opportunities by subject and maximises opportunities for pupils to make good progress.  We provide an accredited curriculum for pupils at Key Stage 4 (KS4). This focuses upon preparation for college, further education and working life beyond school. KS4 pupils all study link courses at two colleges and undertake work experience placements. 


In addition, our Personal, Health and Social Education (PSHE) curriculum, which includes Citizenship, has been developed by our PSHE subject leader and is specific to the range of needs of pupils at Great Arley School. PSHE is a core subject area across the whole curriculum and we have fostered extremely useful links with our school nurses and other professionals in the community, who visit school regularly to support the teaching and learning of this vital subject. 


We use digital technology and ICT to provide effective support and enable pupils to access the curriculum, enhancing learning and communication. 


A curriculum that is broad, balanced and relevant in meeting individual learning needs whilst providing cross-curricular opportunities for transferring skills to new situations and is adapted to meet a range of needs through a creative curriculum or theme-based approach. 


Pupils work towards Personal Learning Goals (PLGs), which are annual targets, set according to the pupil's outcomes in their Education, Health and Care Plans. These are reviewed throughout the year and implemented across the full school curriculum. Parents and carers have live access to their child's progress towards PLGs using the Evidence for Learning app. 


Further timetabled intervention includes sensory diets, speech, language and communication sessions, physiotherapy programmes, social skills development and emotional resilience. You will be informed if your child takes part in any of these discrete interventions. 


The curriculum is resourced and funded through budget allocation to each form tutor and subject leader, with priorities for funding identified in a rigorous cycle of school improvement planning. 


There is access to a wide range of enhanced opportunities and approaches including educational visits, music, drama, outdoor learning and links with partner schools and colleges. 


Specialist multi-agency support is accessed by school and delivered by professionals from a wide range of services. These include Social Services, the school nursing team, the Education Psychology Service and visiting specialist services including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists who support pupils that are identified from their EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan). Our speech and language therapists are based at Great Arley School and work closely with our Speech, Language and Communication Assistant and teachers. All visiting professionals are considered part of our multi-disciplinary team, working together to improve the learning opportunities of all our pupils. 



The curriculum is delivered by a dedicated, experienced and expert staff team who work hard to ensure the curriculum is aspirational and accessible and all individual needs of learners are met. Staff are the school’s main and most essential resource. The staff learner ratio is set at a high level to ensure full access to educational provision and care for all our learners. 


Each tutor group has a teacher and a Level 3 Teaching Assistant and a Level 2 Teaching Assistant if required. A review of staffing and pupil groupings takes place each summer term or when required and this considers: 

• the effectiveness of the current organisation and allocation of resources 

• the implications of the leavers and the new intake of learners 

• the availability of resources including classrooms available. 


The school’s Citizenship scheme of work includes the teaching of: 

  • How citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process. 

  • An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens. 

  • An understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary. 

  • An understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law. 

  • An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself should be accepted and tolerated. 

  • An understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination. 


We further promote British values by ensuring all pupils have a voice to be listened to; they have the opportunity to understand a range of faiths and we include, in suitable parts of the curriculum and assemblies, relevant and meaningful resources and experiences.  


Curriculum Maps 
For each subject area in the curriculum the overall coverage is displayed on Curriculum Maps. These maps share the intent, implementation and impact of each subject. Each map demonstrates: the expectations for the formal and semi-formal cohorts, the coverage in each term from EYFS throughout school to Key Stage 4, the sequence of learning and progression of knowledge and how we assess pupils across every phase in school. As reading is such an important part of our curriculum, key language and reading opportunities are referenced. Our extended curriculum is also mapped out showing trips, events and additional enrichment opportunities. 


Adaptive and Responsive Learning 
Our curriculum is flexible which allows teachers to adapt and scaffold learning to suit the variety of needs within each class family. Students are placed into groups of students of a similar age to ensure they have an appropriate peer group. Throughout school, all classes have a mix of abilities including formal and semi-formal learners reflected in the planning and delivery of subject lessons.  


We ensure that all students have access to their National Curriculum entitlement, which may be adapted to suitably complement each student's pathway within our curriculum and assessment offer.  


Our curriculum coverage goes beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum in all phases of school.  


Planning and teaching 
Teachers across the school, work both individually and collaboratively to plan subjects and share their expertise to provide our students with the highest quality learning offer. Planning is dynamic and adaptable with an overarching sequence of learning. This ensures clear progression and incremental learning, building blocks of sufficient knowledge for future learning and employment. Teachers also use the knowledge of our highly skilled support assistants to guide lesson planning. Planning templates are provided reflecting the curriculum areas and all lessons are planned with a sensory and academic learning plan. 

Skilled teachers can teach in a way that overcomes learning barriers and provides support, allowing all students to make good progress whilst also challenging and stretching the most able students. Whether this be dynamically risk assessing appropriate behaviour for learning support, adapting and scaffolding learning opportunities, considering communication preferences and incorporating sensory diets. 


Personal Learning Goals 
All students have a personal learning goal profile (PLGs) with individual targets to work towards. These are accessed and utilised across the school to ensure teaching and learning links to assessment on EFL and B-Squared. The PLGs provide focus when gathering evidence of students meeting their learning outcomes. All PLGs reflect B-Squared assessment, phonics progress, interventions, pupil premium and interventions. PLGs are smaller steps of progress set and monitored for individuals throughout the year in addition to our Education and Health Care Plan (ECHP) targets. 



All Primary Students access Big Fish Little Fish Swim School for their weekly swimming lessons. All students can access the Multiuse Games Area (MUGA) daily for PE lessons, whatever the weather.  


All KS3 and KS4 students access specialist teachers in bespoke classrooms for a wide range of subjects: science, gardening, food technology, design technology, physical education, computing and music lessons. 


Individual students can access our therapy hub, which includes a suite of rooms for pupils to access learning and support outside of their classroom. These include our Speech and Language Room, Physiotherapy Room, Interactive Sensory Room and our Sensory Pod. 



The overall goal for our curriculum is that our learners will get the right support to become confident, resilient adults with excellent communication skills who can make a positive contribution to their communities, who are inspired to aim high, challenge themselves, be as independent as possible and enjoy and achieve lifelong learning.  


British Values 

At Great Arley we actively promote British values as part of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils. British values include those of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. 


Through the delivery of our PSHE and Citizenship scheme of work pupils: 

  • Develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. 

  • Learn to distinguish right from wrong. 

  • Respect the civil and criminal law of England. 

  • Accept responsibility for their behaviour. 

  • Acquire knowledge and respect for public institutions and services. 

  • Acquire an appreciation of and respect for, their own, other cultures and those of other people. 

  • Respect democratic processes. 


To ensure we are providing the most suitable learning opportunities for our pupils, we ensure the impact of our curriculum is monitored regularly through learning walks, team meetings, data scrutiny, moderation of learning evidence and communication between home and school. 


We use B-Squared connecting steps assessment system to assess all students across the school. All students are on a personalised assessment journey to suit their individual needs. We utilise the different assessment tools within B-squared to do this. Our assessment offer is flexible so it can be accessed by all students and allows everyone to make progress. 

Our Reception and Key Stage 1 students are assessed using B-Squared Early Steps assessment framework. This splits the early learning goals into small achievable steps for our students.  


They will then access a ‘Formal’ or ‘Semi-Formal’ pathway.  

The Formal Pathway is suitable for our more able students who are working on equivalent to a P level 4 to National Curriculum Level 7. They will be assessed using the B-Squared Connecting Steps V5 tool Progression Steps framework in English, Mathematics, Science, Computing and PSHE and Citizenship. Whilst following this pathway, if they are able, students will access statutory assessments. They will also be assessed against the key stage one and two Key stage standards. 


The Semi-Formal Pathway is suitable for our pupils who are on the Autistic spectrum and have sensory needs, these students are working below the equivalent to a P Level 4 in some areas. They will be assessed using the B-Squared Autism Progress framework. This tool helps teachers to set small achievable goals within the four areas of need: cognition and learning, communication and interaction, sensory and physical and social, emotional and mental health. 


Often due to barriers and needs, students with autism can struggle to access lessons and show progress within the curriculum. Running alongside our pathways is the B-Squared assessment tool Autism Progress. This tool is used for students who are on the Autistic spectrum and allows us to show progress through small achievable steps in areas which may not usually be assessed and monitored such as: communication, social interaction, emotional regulation and flexibility of thought.  


We currently have 3 data captures per year. This data is then collated and used to show how much progress students have made within each subject area. This allows us to highlight areas of strength and areas of need for improvement.  


Evidence for Learning is an app we use to record evidence of students learning and meeting both their personal and academic targets. As many of our students are unable to complete written pieces of work as evidence of their learning, this tool enables staff to take photographs and videos of the progress they are making.  


Evidence collected is moderated by teaching teams at regular intervals throughout the academic year. During moderation meetings teachers check evidence to see if they agree that it shows a student has met their target. This ensures we have quality evidence and consistent expectations across the school. 

We are part of the North West Schools Assessment and Curriculum Group which consists of several special schools in the North West who meet throughout the year to share their evidence and evaluate whether judgements made within assessment are correct. This allows us to share good practice and ensure we are consistent and in line with expectations and judgements made by other schools. 


External accreditation and moderation 
Teachers deliver accreditation which is then moderated externally. External moderators consistently give good and valuable feedback, sharing that our judgements when assessing students are good. 


Education and Health Care Plan outcomes 
EHCP outcomes are set by class teachers in collaboration with support staff, families and other professionals. Smaller targets called PLGs (Personal Learning Goals) are set to reflect the smaller steps of progress made towards these outcomes. Outcomes and PLGs are shared with parents/carers and reviewed formally through annual review meetings. This allows for quality conversations about progress in and out of school. 

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