About Our Curriculum
Welcombe Hills School approach to Learning
Students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) are provided with a pre formal curriculum, which is specifically designed to meet their needs in connecting and responding and incorporates the therapies they need in order to access learning.
Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) benefit from a semi-formal curriculum, which is play based, promotes life-skills, independence and communication and uses sensory integration activities to prepare pupils for learning.
Learners with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) receive an adaptation of the National Curriculum, which emphasises life skills. These pupils go on to work through nationally recognised accreditation opportunities and work experience.
We are committed to offering our children and young people with the best opportunities. For some, this will include part-time inclusion in other settings, usually in mainstream schools. We provide opportunities, which are meaningful, accessible, motivating, contextualized and appropriately challenging to maximize progress for each child and take the learning opportunities across every aspect of the pupil’s day.
At Welcombe Hills School, we want our pupils to be able to engage in their learning, develop transferrable skills and become equipped for life beyond school.
Every pupil at Welcombe Hills has an idiosyncratic approach to learning. We place great importance on developing our pupils’ confidence and self-esteem. We build on individual strengths and interests and focus on developing the key skills of communication, cognition, independence, physical development and self-care.
Our curriculum is skill and context based and encourages active engagement in learning. It is also challenging and aspirational, with high aims for the progress of our pupils. In each Key Stage, teachers plan together to produce a rolling plan, which supports a balance of stimulating contexts for learning through different learning experiences, themes and subjects.
We recognise that our pupils require a curriculum that is designed specifically for them. We have created three core curricula which address at an appropriate level the complex learning difficulties of our pupils and incorporate the requirements of the statutory EYFS curriculum and the National curriculum. Students in KS4 work towards ASDAN and Entry Level Certificates and pupils in phase 16-19 work towards Open Award Diplomas.
Within each class, the teaching teams have a thorough understanding of each child’s learning profile; their interests, strengths and barriers, medical needs, developmental stage and learning level. Each of these areas are used to plan effectively for a range of learning targets for each pupil, which are personalised to that pupil’s stage of learning across the Curriculum. Regular pupil progress meetings review individualised provision maps for each pupils to ensure they are on the correct curriculum and are accessing all they need in order to reach their full potenital.
Provision map example
The school works with a rolling plan of themes in each key stage. This allows for pupils of all abilities to work together regardless of the curriculum they are on. Whole key stage curriculum days and out of school trips support with this integration. Planning in KS4 and 5 is based around life skills, independence and employability at an appropriate level. Pupils follow modules within Entry level and ASDAN awards and qualifications. Functional English and Maths is taught in real life contexts. Medium term plans are tailored to the needs of the specific class, adapting the learning areas and opportunities to their interests, needs and level of learning. Daily planning supports the point of learning of individual pupils and is very adaptable to changes to support pupil’s point of learning and changing experiences. For further detail please see the key stage pages on the website.
We use a combination of teaching methods, which are appropriate and adapt them to support the pupils learning styles and needs within individual classes. Phonics are taught where pupils are accessing the semi-formal and formal curriculum in EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3. We follow Letters and Sounds scheme and use 'Jolly Phonics' as a resource. Reading schemes are chosen to reflect the pupils' emotional understanding of the world about them. We use Oxford Reading Tree in EYFS, KS1 & KS2. KS3 use Rising Stars. KS4 use Rapid Readers. The words first scheme is used for emergent readers.
Pupils are encouraged to take risks in their learning and not fear making mistakes. Our highly trained support staff help them to develop their readiness to learn by increasing their attention and focus within tasks and their self-motivation to ,”Have a go!”
Across the school, teaching provides relevant opportunities for learning, motivating and inspiring pupils to make progress in their learning targets. Structured routines, appropriately paced and motivating activities with assessment for learning firmly embedded across all contexts.
Teaching provides opportunities for pupils to contextualise their learning, working within whole class, small group, individual and independent learning opportunities appropriate to that learner. We also use cross Key Stage grouping to further personalise the learning and ensure that pupils are given the opportunity to make as much progress as possible. Through this they will be enabled to use their skills in a range of contexts, to become increasingly independent, resourceful and resilient when faced with challenges. Teachers are continually reflective in their practice and adapt planning and teaching to meet the differing needs of the pupils.