Curriculum Policy – Enjoy Engage Learn

**N.B. If you prefer, you can view this policy as a PDF document by clicking here.**


Section 1



Vision, Values and Aims

Section 2

Curriculum design

The Curriculum framework

  • Early years
  • Key Stages One, Two and Three
  • Key Stage Four
  • Post 16

Section 3

Interventions and individualised programs

Assessment and Reporting

Section 4

Resources, Spaces and Health and Safety

Curriculum monitoring and subject leadership


  • Appendix 1 Links to other policies
  • Appendix 2 English topic map
  • Appendix 3 ICT topics
  • Appendix 4 RE topics
  • Appendix 5 Curriculum Topics
  • Appendix 6 My Communication subject rationale and content
  • Appendix 7 My Body subject rationale and content
  • Appendix 8 Myself subject rationale and content
  • Appendix 9 My Creativity subject rationale and content
  • Appendix 10 My Community subject rationale and content
  • Appendix 11 My World subject rationale and content

Section 1


The purpose of this policy is to provide a comprehensive document to share with staff, governors, other professionals, families and other interested stakeholders. The policy incorporates our philosophy, aims and values as well as describing the approach to our curriculum, the content and the specialised approaches required for teaching the pupils at Briarwood. The Briarwood curriculum policy also aims to describe the context behind the tailored approach to our curriculum and the reasons why such a bespoke approach is required.

A curriculum is the basis for any school to provide a meaningful and effective education to the pupils who attend. At Briarwood we believe this should be a broad and balanced approach which identifies and meets the needs of our pupils. The curriculum, alongside specialist teaching approaches, provides consistency throughout the school, whilst recognising developmental and age related aspects to learning.

The development of the curriculum at Briarwood, whilst being led by the Senior Leadership Team, is the responsibility of all staff and we consider it their right to be involved in curriculum design and content. All teachers have a subject or curriculum area responsibility and many learning support staff also contribute to the process. Staff have worked closely together to develop the curriculum, meaning there is real ownership and understanding to the route we are taking. Consistency is vital for pupils with learning disabilities and therefore careful consideration is taken when making any changes to the curriculum.

The policy document starts with describing the context, vision, values and aims of our curriculum. This underpins the fundamental need for a bespoke curriculum to meet the needs of the pupils at Briarwood. It then describes the curriculum design and the reasoning behind this model. The curriculum content is detailed later in the policy, split into our key age milestones. Further information about Interventions and individualised programs and how these integrate into our curriculum can also be found in section 3. Although approaches to teaching can be found within this document, full detail can be found in the Teaching and Learning policy (available on the website).

Due to the nature of such a bespoke curriculum, further information relating to assessment and reporting methodology is stated in section 3 (however full detail around this can be found in the Assessment and Reporting Policy – available on the website). Also included is information around resources, spaces, health and safety, curriculum monitoring, subject leadership and curriculum review and development.

The appendices give further information about the creative and life skills areas of our curriculum including their rational and content.


Briarwood school is a special school for pupils aged from 3 to 19. We are spread across 3 sites; The Pod our Early Years provision, Primary and Secondary. Our Post 16 department is co-located on the Primary site. We have 112 pupils across the age range. At Briarwood we support pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), Autism (ASD) and children with Complex Needs.

Many pupils come from the East central area of Bristol though some children come from other areas in the city; our pupils have a diverse mix of nationalities and languages.

Due to the complex nature of the pupils that attend Briarwood, it is our responsibility to provide them with the most appropriate curriculum, a tailored approach, to both academic learning, life skills and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education.

Vision, Values and Aims

“Enjoy, Engage, Learn”

We believe that Briarwood is a safe, happy and stimulating school that supports pupil’s individual needs. The staff and the school community work hard to ensure that a nurturing approach supports all pupils through their education, providing a bespoke curriculum to each child depending on their current needs.

At Briarwood all aspects of school life are designed to inspire and engage pupils, through a mix of a learning curriculum, creative approaches and essential life skills. The roles of communication and engagement are key to all we do and underpin our approach to learning.

Our curriculum is designed as a cohesive approach with an individual’s EHCP at the core; therefore facilitating greater involvement of families, the pupil and other professionals in their learning and development.  The overarching curriculum vision is one that supports the idea of provision and curriculum linking together. Consequently, what a pupil needs at that point in time, becomes both a provision requirement and a learning opportunity. This means there are closer, consistent connections between the schools curriculum and the provision we offer. We provide positive challenges to foster individual achievements and promote confidence and self-expression. This allows the curriculum to show progress of pupils over time; celebrating the challenging, enriching and developmental progress of all pupils.

Our curriculum is developmental, but child centred, with our recognition that each pupil will have a different pathway. It is a life skills and creative curriculum that aims to promote the social inclusion of all pupils and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life as pertinent to their circumstances. As the pupil’s move through the school, the skills they need for living become an integral part of learning. These include

  • Communication
  • Academic achievement (including Literacy and Numeracy)
  • Qualifications where appropriate
  • Mobility
  • Independence – including self-help
  • Relationships
  • Self-respect, dignity
  • Self-esteem, self-confidence
  • Self-regulation.

The Briarwood curriculum, is an adapted form of the National Curriculum and whilst some of the curriculum areas do not appear ‘traditional’ it addresses the expectations of the new National Curriculum 2014;

“Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:

  • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • Prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.

All schools should make provision for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.”

Although the National Curriculum and expectations it holds are taken into account, for the pupils at Briarwood, it is often more important to consider their needs and the skills that will be supportive for the future;

Content should be determined by the needs of the child rather than cultural values in respect to academic subjects and so it needs to be pupil centred and not subject centred. (Powell and Jordan 1997:25).

Assessment of the Briarwood curriculum is outlined later in this document, however it is important to note that the vision and aims of the curriculum have been considered in relation to the ‘final report of the commission of assessment without levels.’ This report encourages schools to adapt their curriculum to support the needs of the pupils;

“Removing levels encourages schools to develop approaches to in-school assessment which are better tied to curriculum content and which do not restrict teaching solely to the specific content in the National curriculum, but encourage the wider exploration of subjects which results in higher attainment and greater enjoyment. Similarly the freedom to choose their own approaches to assessment is consistent with the freedom many schools have to develop and deliver their own curriculum and allows schools to ensure their curriculum and approach to assessment are aligned.”

For the pupils at Briarwood, our curriculum must incorporate the opportunity for pupils develop depth of knowledge and understanding, as Ofsted 2015 states “As part of pupil’s progress, inspectors will consider the growth in pupil’s security, breadth and depth of knowledge, understanding and skills.” This is especially important where pupils are studying life skills or targets that fall outside of traditional areas. In our curriculum, this features in our progression planners (see curriculum framework and subject appendices) and also the assessment systems we have in place to allow for skill development.

We believe that a curriculum should constantly be evaluated for its effectiveness for our current cohorts of pupils. Therefore regular reviews of curriculum content and suitable updates are made where necessary, with careful consideration of consistency and prior learning. The Briarwood curriculum aims to give each pupil the best start in life and prepare them for the challenges of later life.

Section 2

Curriculum design

The Briarwood curriculum has been designed as a multi stranded approach in order to provide pupils with the most appropriate approach and content:curriculum-policy-1

Whilst many pupils will work within one curriculum model for several years, as skills and knowledge progress, many will move into the next model. It may also be appropriate for some pupils to move to a less formal curriculum model, to support skill consistency and maintenance.

At Briarwood we also vary the curriculum based on age;

curriculum-policy-2The content of the curriculum at these different age milestones can be found later in this document (see curriculum framework)

The starting point for the curriculum is the individual child with a programme designed to meet his/her needs taken from the full available curriculum, delivered in a way that is enjoyable and will engage each child or young person.

Each academic year, a pupil’s EHCP is reviewed. The long term targets for this are used to populate a pupil’s current pathway. The current pathway is a year long target for each curriculum area that is broken down into 3 shorter term skills, to be reviewed 3 times per year.

These targets are incorporated within the curriculum subject areas each term and the topics that a class are studying, making it entirely pupil led.

All pupils, regardless of the curriculum strand they are following, study English and Maths. These subjects feature heavily in our curriculum as a developmental approach. They are taught both as discrete subjects and as cross-curricular skills within other subjects.

Communication is another key aspect of our curriculum, with both specific communication sessions timetabled, to ensure each pupil has the most appropriate communication systems set up for them as well as cross-curricular opportunities throughout the day.

The Curriculum Framework

Early Years

The Early Years Curriculum at Briarwood is followed from Nursery through to and including year one. We believe that an early years approach is the most suitable for the year 1 pupils at Briarwood. It is in keeping with the Early Years foundation stage (EYFS) expectations. We aim to provide a broad, balanced, differentiated curriculum which addresses the children‘s social, emotional, physical, intellectual, moral and cultural development within a safe, secure, stimulating environment.

Through the use of the Differentiated Early Years Outcomes (DEYO), our curriculum enables the pupils to learn and develop skills, attitudes and understanding in these areas of learning;

The prime areas;

  • Personal, Emotional and Social Development. (PSED)
  • Communication and Language. (CL)
  • Physical development

The specific areas;

  • Mathematics.
  • Literacy.
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Art and Design

Throughout the EYFS we plan activities to give pupils learning experiences and opportunities to work towards the Early Learning Goals. Teaching and learning takes place within the classroom and outside areas. Pupils participate in a variety of activities, both with an adult and independently. The approach and curriculum is primarily a play based approach with specific teaching methods and opportunities being used to support pupil’s needs. We believe that play, both indoors and outdoors, is the fundamental way in which young children learn. See Early Years policy (available on the website) for more information around the approaches used in the Early Years.

As well as considering what opportunities we are providing for the pupils, we observe the skills and qualities that pupils need to support them to become successful learners throughout life. Included within the DEYO, we use the characteristics of learning (see Early Years policy available on the website) to examine the overall development of the pupils. In addition to the standard characteristics of learning we also consider a pupils emotional wellbeing.

Whilst there are elements of the 3 stranded approach – Pre-formal, Semi-formal and Formal, within the EYFS, it is less evident here due to the use of the DEYO and the play based, child led approaches that are used. However, sensory approaches, specialist teaching methods, the use of TEACCH and specialist equipment are all utilised.

Each pupil, has their own learning pathway and bi-termly learning map, which sets out their targets each term (3 times a year). These targets are used to plan appropriate, individualised activities, bespoke to a current need. Pupils in our EYFS classes, follow a 2 year rolling program, with different topics 6 times per year as outlined below.

EYFS 2 year rolling program



Key Stages One to Three

The curriculum at Key Stage One starts in Year 2. Dependent on the need of the pupil, the teacher will follow the Pre-formal, Semi-formal or Formal curriculum. The content and balance of each learning area is adapted as required.


The Pre-Formal curriculum is a sensory approach to learning. The curriculum acknowledges what learners can do by supporting and developing their strengths and abilities. It is defined developmentally and is finely stepped so that progression can be plotted, measured and acknowledged. The curriculum focuses on developing the learner’s understanding both of the world around him or her, and of social interactions and relationships. It values the process as much as the achievement and it is flexible in order to be responsive to the needs of the individual learner. It is delivered in an integrated manner incorporating learning, therapy and health needs.

Each pupil, has their own learning pathway and bi-termly learning map, which sets out their targets each term (3 times a year). These targets are used to plan appropriate, individualised activities, bespoke to a current need. Pupils following the Pre-formal curriculum, follow a 2 year rolling program, with different topics 6 times per year. These topics help support the generalisation of skills into different contexts.

The Pre-formal curriculum consists of both ‘traditional’ and less traditional subject areas;


English in the Pre-formal curriculum, consists of early Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening skills. There are separate topics for students who are working at Primary and Secondary age to ensure age appropriateness but to support consistency. These pupils have 2 sessions per week of phonics. This has a basis in pre-phase and phase 1 from letters and sounds. Schemes of work are available based around a termly topic (6 per year). Pre-phase and phase 1 phonics focus on listening and sound discrimination. This supports pupils when moving on to listening to letter sounds and developing phonetical awareness. Pupils also receive at least one session per week in the allocated English sessions via ‘Communication Through Music’. This has been developed by Briarwood as a class based intervention, for all pupil’s working below P4, (see Communication Through Music Policy – available in English subject file). Targets are set in line with Progression Guidance for English and progress is measure through the P-Levels.

Maths at Briarwood is a developmental approach, all pupils regardless of the curriculum they are following, look at a new topic each term as follows;

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Number Number Number Number Number Number
Calculation Calculation Calculation Calculation Calculation Calculation
Handling Data &


Money &

Size & Length

Position, direction & motion Pattern Time Capacity & Weight

Schemes of work are available for all topics, which set out suggested learning objectives and developmentally appropriate activities. An approach called Maths Through Music, which has been developed at Briarwood, is also available to Pre-formal pupils, to enhance their mathematical learning.  Targets are set in line with Progression Guidance for Maths and progress is measure through the P-Levels.

ICT is a developmental approach, at the Pre-Formal stage, pupils will experience a range of age related topics (see appendix 3) and will work on the development of skills as follows;curriculum-policy-4

RE is taught through a range of age related topics. These topics cover themes, stories and celebrations as well as the key concepts and aspects of spiritual appreciation (see appendix 4). The schemes of work that accompany the topics set out appropriate objectives and activities for pupils working in the pre-formal curriculum.

The other subject studied within the pre-formal curriculum are within the life skills and creative part of our curriculum. More information about these subjects, their rationale and content can be found below and in the appendix 6-11. However specifically at the Pre-formal stage;


All pupil’s, regardless of the curriculum they follow, have an Engagement target. This is a target related to their Engagement profile (see engagement policy available on the website), which supports their ability to learn. For pupil’s following the pre-formal curriculum, this is often sensory based or postural and physical input.


The Semi-formal curriculum is a flexible approach, designed as a mixture of the Pre-formal and Formal curriculums. It gives teachers the opportunity to support pupil’s strengths and fill their gaps, whilst using the best approach to their learning style. Below the diagram shows the full range of subject options available to teachers when deciding on the best approach for each pupil. More detailed descriptions of the additional subjects can be found under the description of the formal curriculum section below.

curriculum-policy-6English within this strand starts to become a more formal approach. It identifies students working at P4-P7. There are separate schemes/topics for students who are working at Primary and Secondary age to ensure age appropriateness but to support consistency.

These students will have 2 sessions per week (in stage groups) of phonics. This is a separate scheme which teaches the skills required in order to identify sounds and words. There are reading scheme books attached to this and students will work through the program at their pace. There is an assessment system for this which maps against the P-levels. As this is a flexible approach, strategies from both the pre-formal and formal strands can be applied.

The Maths topics are as above in the pre-formal curriculum, with developmentally appropriate objectives and activities.

ICT continues in the developmental model;

curriculum-policy-7At the Semi-Formal level, pupils have the opportunity to start learning some more formal life skills in the following areas;


The formal curriculum consists of adapted National Curriculum subjects, along with some life skills and creative aspects. Pupils working within this curriculum, tend to be near the top end of the P-levels and into National Curriculum expectations. At Briarwood we have adapted many of subjects and topics to reflect the needs of our pupils, whilst ensuring challenge and progress.

curriculum-policy-22English at this stage is focused on students that are working at P8 upwards. This is a separate scheme of work corresponding to letters and sounds phases 2 to 4 depending on level. These pupils will have at least 4 sessions per week of phonics. There are reading scheme books attached to this scheme and students will work through the program at their pace. Pupils working at this level may combine phonics learning and comprehension with writing and handwriting skills. For pupils that struggle with phonics learning there is also the option of a functional literacy route (see further in the document for interventions and individualised programs – section 3).

There are also schemes of work that develop writing and speaking and listening at this more formal level. There are assessment systems for English at this level (see English policy for more information available in the English subject file).

The maths topics are as above in the pre-formal and semi-formal curriculums, with developmentally appropriate objectives and activities. However there are also the options of Numicon and Singapore maths to support teaching methods (see further in the document for interventions and individualised programs – section 3).

ICT continues with the developmental approach, with a stronger focus on using ICT for a purpose. A new appropriate and meaningful computing and programming curriculum is currently being written for the pupils who require it.

curriculum-policy-11RE continues to be taught through a range of age related topics. These topics cover themes, stories and celebrations as well as the key concepts and aspects of spiritual appreciation (see appendix 4). The schemes of work that accompany the topics set out appropriate objectives and activities for pupils working in the formal curriculum, with a greater focus on understanding their own and others beliefs.

Rather than studying My World, pupils following the Formal curriculum study more traditional science and design and technology topics. Pupils follow age appropriate and developmental topics on a rolling plan, depending on the key stage of the pupil (see appendix 12).

Pupils also study humanities topics – Geography and History, again these are on an age appropriate and developmental topics which rotate on a 2 year rolling plan.

My Body becomes more formal PE, pupils still learn any aspects of My body that they require but the focus is on more traditional PE, with pupils learning skills such as ball skills, gymnastics, dance and rules for games etc.

curriculum-policy-12All pupil’s, regardless of the curriculum they follow, have an Engagement target. This is a target related to their Engagement profile (see engagement policy available on the website), which supports their ability to learn. For pupil’s following the formal curriculum, this is often sensory input from the occupational therapist or self-regulation as well as more traditional behaviour for learning targets such as organisational and learning routines.

Learning outcomes

Across the range of curriculum there are expected learning outcomes for the 6 areas of the life skills and creative curriculum. These set out the expectations of the subject and are expanded on further in the subject rationale and content (appendices 6-11) Each area has a Progression planner (within same appendix) with statements which break down the overarching outcomes below;

My Communication

  • To have and enjoy receptive and expressive communication within their community.
  • To communicate their wants and needs / to have their voice heard as citizens of their society.
  • To use a range of communication tools, including ICT, to enable inclusion within their community.


  • To access their community, as independently as possible, through self-organisational skills.
  • To develop hobbies and leisure for adult life.
  • To have a strong self-image and understand we are all different.
  • To have positive interactions with their community, through well-developed social and play skills.
  • To understand myself.

My Body

  • To leave with mobility that ensures access to their community.
  • To enjoy an active life in society, through the health benefits of looking after their body i.e. lifestyle, exercise, diet.
  • That body changes are part of being an adult.
  • To know how their body works.
  • To ensure that their personal care skills help them access their community.

My Creativity

  • To develop an appreciation of the arts.
  • To be able to express and develop their ideas and imaginations through their creativity.
  • To express themselves through their body- dance, drama.
  • To experience/enjoy/develop curiosity about the beauty of art, photography, music.
  • To be able to manipulate materials to create new things.

My Community

  • To have positive interactions with their community.
  • To access their community as independently as possible.
  • To understand the dangers of independently accessing their community.
  • To be able to find their purposeful role as citizens of society.

My World

  • To have curiosity and explore the wonders of the world natural and man-made – weather.
  • To have curiosity and explore the phenomenon of natural world, living things.
  • To be able to find solutions for problems
  • To have curiosity about the people that used to live in this world.

Key Stage 4

The key stage 4 curriculum, recognises the need for pupils to move towards a higher proportion of life skills and independence. The SEND code of practice recommends that from 14 years old;

“High aspirations about employment, independent living and community participation should be developed through the curriculum and extra-curricular provision. Schools should seek partnerships with employment services, businesses, housing agencies, disability organisations and arts and sports groups, to help children understand what is available to them as they get older, and what it is possible for them to achieve. It can be particularly powerful to meet disabled adults who are successful in their work” (SEND code of practice January 2015)

Our curriculum follows the structure of key stages 1-3 with the Pre-formal, Semi-formal and Formal curriculums. All the same subjects are on offer to the pupils to access as a teacher deems necessary.

Pre-formal route

Pupils considered to be working on the Briarwood Pre-formal curriculum, will continue to follow this curriculum. They will follow the topics and coverage provided within the Briarwood curriculum framework. This will however be supported by Asdan’s Transition Challenge. By using Transition Challenge to enhance the curriculum, pupils will have the opportunity to gain accreditation for their work. There are 2 levels of Transition Challenge – Sensory for our most profound pupils and introduction and progression for those working a little higher.  Transition Challenge – sensory gives pupils the opportunity to record a developmental perspective through Communication and interaction, Cognition, Physical, Self help and independence. Transition Challenge – introduction and progression gives a broader range of topics – knowing how, making choices, feeling good, moving forward and taking the lead. Both support English and Maths skills as well as several other age appropriate examples and activities to support the delivery of our curriculum.

Semi Formal route

Pupils considered to be working within the Briarwood Semi formal or formal curriculum, will continue with the Briarwood Curriculum model. This will be enhanced through the use of Towards Independence. Pupils English learning can be recorded through the ‘developing communication skills’ module at introduction (P4-6) or progression (P7 and above) levels. Both cover the strands of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The Maths learning can be recorded through the use of developing numeracy skills, again at the levels of Introduction or Progression. Maths covers the areas of Number, Measure Shape and Space, Position Pattern and Sorting, Time and Handling data. Pupils will continue to work on the Briarwood Semi or Formal curriculum areas for the rest of their time e.g. afternoons, however this can be enhanced through the use of towards independence modules. For example when working on My Creativity a teacher may choose to use the Towards Independence module sound rhythm and music in order to record and accredit the learning.

On both routes, pupils will continue to have targets set and monitored

as per Briarwood curriculum guidelines. These options should be seen as a supportive package to enhance the curriculum as opposed to formulating a curriculum in their own right. There is still an expectation for P-level assessment where appropriate.

Post 16

Our Post 16 curriculum builds on the life skills and independence that runs through the curriculum, especially in key stage 4, providing new opportunities for our pupils.

curriculum-policy-13Pupils participate in a range of courses and activities building up a portfolio of evidence to support accredited learning at a level to suit their learning needs and ability. Our courses are accredited by ASDAN and include modules to support achievement of awards, certificates and diplomas in Personal Progress, Employability and Personal and Social Development.

Targets are set for each pupil using the individual learning maps. These are taught through our course structure, challenging students in an age appropriate and often vocational context, then mapping that progress through the ‘Achievement Continuum’ ensuring that we not only monitor which and how many awards pupils are achieving but also through progress within the unit i.e. moving from experience to engagement and then to independence.

A much greater emphasis is placed on community learning, managing their own time, taking responsibility for tasks and having as much control as possible over personal care and daily living activities. Curriculum content is delivered, where appropriate, through community and school based activities maximising engagement and ensuring meaningful and relevant learning experiences. We work alongside a range of community partners who include Props, Design for Life, Adelines Social Farm Project, theatre groups and community artists enabling us to utilise a range of expertise and environments. The partnership with other Bristol special schools, extends this opportunity further and provides appropriate social contexts for learning.

Section 3

Interventions and individualised programs

As part of our curriculum we offer several interventions and programs to support pupils learning. These are put into place both by therapists and teachers. More information around the interventions we offer can be found in our interventions profile (currently under development), however below is some general information about how they feature as part of our curriculum.


At Briarwood the therapists often work as part of a multi-professional team, with the teacher and learning support assistants to integrate the targets and programs as successfully as possible into the curriculum.

Speech and language therapy targets of feature as part of English lessons or as a My Communication target. The strategies to teach these targets are suggested and written by the therapists and then a trained team carry them out.

Similarly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy targets set by the physiotherapists often feature as part of a pupils My Body pathway.

Occupational therapists also work at Briarwood, these targets normally feature as part of a pupils ‘Myself’ pathway or within their Engagement target.

Taught interventions

Taught interventions make up a crucial aspect of our curriculum to support pupils with gaps, or to boost or extend skills.

Communication Through Music – A weekly session based on any form or music which aims to provide meaningful opportunities for students working below P3(ii) to communicate in a motivating environment. This helps pupils to understand and communicate with others, by listening to the voices of those around them and providing the opportunities for them to respond appropriately. It also allows students to start expressing themselves through the use of motivating and engaging media and to facilitate engagement and response opportunities, especially for those in the very early P-levels.

Functional Literacy – Our aim is to support the reading progress of all pupils through meeting their learning needs, and supporting them with the required skills for their future. Functional literacy enables pupils to learn to read, write and communicate in ways that will support their future life skills, whilst ensuring a path that allows for progress. This may look like;

  • Recognising key written words, numbers, signs and symbols,
  • Continuing reading and writing development through sight recognition or alternative processes,
  • Knowing many written words by sight,
  • Building sentences through using known words, signs and symbols,
  • Communicating key information including likes and dislikes with others
  • Writing messages, letters and using ICT,
  • Recognising, reading and responding to key information in the local environment,
  • Enjoying and reading books, stories and texts at an appropriate level,
  • Developing their own forms of communication to enable appropriate and functional conversations.

Maths Through Music – provides the ‘horizontal’ opportunity to learn, practice and secure the learning that has taken place in their other Maths lessons. It aims to provide meaningful opportunities for students working below P3(ii) to develop early mathematical skills in a motivating environment and to help the students develop a sensory perception of early mathematical skills. It also aims to allow pupils to respond to and initiate interactions with mathematical resources.

Numicon – a multi-sensory approach to Maths that raises achievement across all ability levels. Numicon supports problem-solving, reasoning and conversation and aims to;

  • Develop fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall.
  • Help children to reason mathematicallythrough the use of concrete objects  and spoken language to explain and justify.
  • Develop children into confident problem-solvers.

Singapore Maths – For pupils working at higher P-levels or at the start of the national curriculum, Singapore maths acts as a supportive teaching strategy. Problem solving is at the heart of mathematics. The focus is not on rote procedures, rote memorisation or tedious calculation but on relational understanding. Pupils are encouraged to solve problems working with their core competencies, in particular;

Visualisation (concrete)

Generalisation (pictorial)

Make decisions (abstract)

Assessment and Reporting

For full details on assessment and reporting see the Assessment and reporting policy (available on the website).  At Briarwood we use a range of assessment systems in order to show progress in both academic achievement but also in other areas of the curriculum and a pupil’s development, such as life skills, creativity, behaviour and engagement. The diagram below shows the different assessment systems used for different subjects.

curriculum-policy-14At Briarwood we use both the National Progression Guidance and CASPA to set yearly and key stage targets for English and Maths. These targets are then broken down into termly targets, using our Briarwood 8 point scale (see next page). This allows achievements to be finely tracked and small steps of progress identified.

We use a customised version of Classroom Monitor (a web based tracking tool), to monitor P-level progress and collect evidence. This is essential for English and Maths. Pupils who are working on formal subjects at a higher level also have these tracked via Classroom Monitor.

At Briarwood we have developed the Briarwood Assessment Tool (BAT) in order to track the progress in subjects that fall outside of the P-levels or national curriculum. This uses the 8 point scale (see next page) across the 3 strands of prompt level, engagement/involvement level and generalisation. By measuring these 3 strands we can collect meaningful numerical data to show progress across any target in any area.

Teacher record keeping is central to the effective implementation of the curriculum. Recording should aim to support all assessment in deciding;

  1. Where has the pupil/student come from?
  2. Where are they now?
  3. What are the next learning steps?

Pupil/student progress is acknowledged to be about change and development.  This can be linear (e.g.: an increase in skills) or lateral (e.g. a skill practiced in different contexts).  However for some of pupils/students it is also demonstrated by a change in response or by the maintenance of skills.

prompt-levelsThe Briarwood Assessment Tool allows teachers to monitor the 8 points within the 3 strands and show percentage progress towards a target.

curriculum-policy-15Each pupil has a current pathway for each subject, which sets out how the target will be broken down and then monitored;

curriculum-policy-16The current pathway feeds into a long term map which tracks students targets and achievements over time.

curriculum-policy-17A pupil’s targets are transferred to their learning map so that all staff can support the pupil in their learning, which is effectively their ‘bespoke’ curriculum.

The life skills and creative subjects are reported on through the collection of evidence and creation of a Powerpoint. This is presented to parents at bi-termly meetings and the annual review;curriculum-policy-18English and Maths are reported on through P-level achievement (through Classroom Monitor) and through the collection of evidence – pupil work, teacher statements, planning feedback and observations. These are presented to parents at bi-termly meetings and the annual review.

English and Maths achievement is analysed in the mid and end of year progress reports, to present to governors and set school improvement priorities. We use both the National Progression Guidance and CASPA to monitor pupil achievements and base reports on.

Pupil/student progress is reported through formal and informal ways;

Informally we use;

  • Home/school diaries
  • Talking to parents in school/on phone
  • By liaising with multi professional team

Formally we use

  • Classroom Monitor – formative
  • Pupil/student learning map evaluation and P-levels
  • EHCP’s and Learning Pathways
  • BAT tool
  • End of year curriculum reports
  • End of Key stage national progression guidance and CASPA comparisons and reports
  • Parents evenings/consultations

Section 4

Resources, Spaces and Health and Safety

“Our aim is to have the optimum learner in the optimum learning environment” (Engagement policy)

Teachers should make the best use of all accessible resources both human and physical in order to ensure pupils access the full range of curriculum. Each classroom is resourced to an agreed level based on the cohort and needs of the pupils.  Additional resources are distributed dependent upon individual need.

On each site, there are central resource areas for the curriculum and subjects.  Items taken for teaching are returned promptly and overseen by the subject leaders.  Subject leaders also liaise to move and share resources where appropriate between sites and are responsible for the subject budget, including development of resources, maintenance and auditing.

Staffing ratios are discussed and agreed at SLT/Governor level and adhere to our principles for curriculum delivery to our pupil population and organisation.

Class bases are designed to meet specific needs for our school population.  At Briarwood we have specialist provision for our pupils whose needs are within the Autistic Spectrum or whose needs would benefit from a specialist environment. For some pupils this includes adaptations for those with behaviours that challenge.  On both sites we have specialist provision for pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties and sensory impairments.

Each teacher has a classroom budget allocated, with the expectation that they provide age appropriate resources to meet the individual needs of the pupils within their group.  Each classroom has an environment with suitable resources to provide opportunities for investigation, stimulation, development and challenge.

All staff members have a responsibility for ensuring that the school in general, the equipment and resources are safe, used and stored appropriately. Staff should be aware of the whole school Health and Safety Policy (available on the website) and how that governs all curricula opportunities both on and off the sites.  The Head Teacher has overall responsibility for Health and Safety and works with the Health and Safety teams to co-ordinate and complete risk assessments for curricular opportunities as appropriate.

Subject leaders liaise with the Head teacher to produce guidelines for use of specialist facilities/rooms (i.e. hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, food technology room) within school and these guidelines work alongside the subject policies.

Curriculum monitoring and subject leadership

The Deputy Head leads the curriculum and its development throughout the school in discussion with the SLT, Early Years and Post 16 Leads. As a school we aim to use staff expertise to the full.  Subject leaders are responsible for their subject across the school, often working in pairs of teachers and may be supported by a member of the Teaching Support Staff.  Teaching staff provide the full range of curriculum opportunities to their class group or key stage groups.

Subject leaders monitor the curriculum delivery, quality of teaching, learning and progress in their area of leadership.

The core purpose of a subject leader is;

To provide professional leadership and management for a subject to secure high quality teaching, effective use of resources and improved standards of learning and achievement for all pupils. (National standards for subject leaders, TTA)

All subject leads will create an action plan that uses data analysis and feeds into School Improvement Plan (SIP). The evaluation of such feeds into the Self Evaluation Form.

Subject leaders are responsible for knowing and monitoring their subject’s ‘improvement journey’.

Possible sources of evidence are;

  • Data
  • Observations/ learning walk
  • Work scrutiny Work samples/photos
  • Planning
  • Individual pupil records, discussions with pupils, views of staff
  • Annual Reports
  • Individual Learning Maps

Finally, the overarching outcome of the Briarwood Curriculum is to ensure that;

“With high aspirations, and the right support, the vast majority of children and young people can go on to achieve successful long-term outcomes in adult life. Local authorities, education providers and their partners should work together to help children and young people to realise their ambitions in relation to:

  • higher education and/or employment – including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
  • independent living – enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and the support they receive, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
  • participating in society – including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • being as healthy as possible in adult life” (SEND Code of practice 2015)

Appendix 1 – Policy and Document Links

Appendix 2 – English topic maps

English Topic Map Year 1


English Topic Map Year 2

english-topic-map-2Appendix 3 – ICT topics

Year 1
ICT Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
EY Knowledge and Understanding of the World: Accessing ICT Communication, Language and Literacy Creative Development Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy Assessment and consolidation
KS1 Accessing ICT Finding Things Out Communication Using ICT for Leisure Assessment and consolidation
KS2 Accessing ICT Finding Things Out Communication Using ICT for Leisure Assessment and consolidation
KS3 Accessing ICT Communicating Information Using ICT for Leisure Finding Information Assessment and consolidation
KS4 Social Networking and internet safety Communicating Information Using ICT for Leisure Finding Information Assessment and consolidation
Year 2
ICT Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
EY Knowledge and Understanding of the World: Accessing ICT Communication, Language and Literacy Creative Development Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy Assessment and consolidation
KS1 Accessing ICT Modelling Presentation Environmental Control Assessment and consolidation
KS2 Accessing ICT Modelling Presentation Environmental Control Assessment and consolidation
KS3 Accessing ICT Using ICT for Environmental Control Developing Ideas Finding Information Assessment and consolidation
KS4 Social Networking and internet safety Using ICT for Environmental Control Developing Ideas Finding Information Assessment and consolidation


Appendix 4 RE topics

Year 1
RE Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
EY & KS1 I am Wonderful! Special Occasions What makes our world beautiful? Who is Jesus What places are special to me? What stories are special to me?
KS2 What is important to me? Christmas’ around the world How do we celebrate our journeys through life? Who are you Jesus? How we live our lives Why are some stories special?
KS3 & KS4 (if reqd) This is me Celebrations! Journeys throughout our lives How should we live our lives? Our wonderful world! Why are some people special (Prophets and Saints)?


Year 2
RE Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
EY & KS1 Who am I? A special time for us! Who is important to me? What was Jesus like? Special stories How should we live our live?
KS2 What is important to me? Why are sometimes special? Why is our world special? Why are some people important? How can we be kind to each other? How do we celebrate our journey through life?
KS3 & KS4 (if reqd) Different people, different religions! What do others do at Christmas? How we should live our life as Sikh? The Hindu home How do we live our lives as Muslim? Being Christian