The Curriculum At Horton Lodge


Aims, Vision and Values

“The curriculum at Horton Lodge School (including the delivery of the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage) is based on the principles of Conductive Education reflecting a holistic approach. Every activity during the pupil’s day is seen as an opportunity for learning and as a time to make progress towards achieving a greater degree of independence. It is therefore important that all activities enable pupils to develop, practice and transfer skills across the curriculum”. Horton Lodge Conductive Education Policy

Underneath this Conductive Education ethos sits the rest of our curriculum approach which has been designed considering research into best models of practice for children with PMLD, SLD and ASC.  This research includes government recommendations, curriculum models in other similar schools (including those rated Outstanding by Ofsted), relevant literature and materials by leading experts in the field as well as advice from specialist consultants who will be working with our staff and children as we move forward on this journey.  Findings from this research have been reviewed in line with our school’s aims, vision and values to develop the best possible curriculum approaches for all pupils.  The starting point of “what we want pupils to learn” is firmly focussed on developing their independence and preparing for their future, enabling them to connect with communities beyond school and achieve in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their future lives.  This is developed through staff expertise in analysing the ongoing development of each pupil, understanding their rate of learning and intrinsic motivation and knowledge of the characteristics of their learning difficulties and associated conditions.  This also guides us in how to teach every pupil and puts personalised teaching and learning at the centre of our curriculum within the different broad groups or strands of our curriculum.

Delivery and Organisation

The curriculum is supported by specialist schemes of work e.g. Equals, Sounds of Intent and Routes for Learning as well as the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum.  Overall, there is a focus on promoting and sustaining independence with an additional focus on what our children need to know. We utilise a three year whole school curriculum topic cycle which incorporates:

  • Knowledge about themselves & topics of immediate interest (e.g. family, school)
  • Knowledge about life beyond their immediate environment (other people, places)
  • For some – broader knowledge of National curriculum subjects
  • Skills and knowledge to become active and curious, independent and positive citizens.

Due to the diversity of our learners, we have developed six broad strands that the children could be working within.  Generally, a child will fit within one of the strands however a teacher may look to another strand for example to provide a higher level of challenge in a certain area.  They are:

Early Years Foundation Stage – this is the statutory framework in all early year’s settings in England.  It has seven main areas of learning, three prime areas being communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development and four specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.

Pre-Formal Curriculum this strand is for those children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and aims to promote communication, interaction and engagements through highly personalised strategies working from each child’s unique characteristic and preferences.  Children may need to access teaching sequences many, many times to begin to show anticipation, express preferences/dislikes and interact.  The children are provided with a range of multi-sensory opportunities, such as sensory stories, music, creative sessions, sensory room sessions, intensive interaction, Rebound Therapy and hydrotherapy all as part of their personalised timetables.

Informal Curriculum – this strand is for those children who have complex learning difficulties and who are working consistently to the early reaches of the severe learning difficulties spectrum.  Our informal curriculum aims to explore different activities and resources and provide more developmentally appropriate learning opportunities for these pupils.  It aims to foster communication skills throughout with a flexible approach to developing and building upon interactions as they occur.  As such specific learning objectives cannot always be planned for as outcomes as driven by the pupil’s ability to engage, and experiences which capture their interests at any given moment.  The informal curriculum strand supports experiences within and beyond the school community and sensory needs are addressed for individual children to promote self-regulation and increase engagement.

Semi-Formal Curriculum – this strand is designed for those children with severe learning difficulties who require experiences and opportunities which promote the development of independence, functional skills, communication, emotional well-being and confidence.  It is important for these pupils that achievable aspirations for transitioning to their adult lives remain at the heart of the curriculum and time is devoted to ensuring progression of skills throughout school.  Within this strand staff will act upon both planned and unplanned situations to develop learning for individual pupils, including opportunities to learn from problems encountered, the chance to practise and apply communication skills in different situations with different people and of course time given to encourage and celebrate independence.

Formal Curriculum – this strand is designed for for those children with general learning difficulties who are working consistently and over time significantly below age related expectations.  For these children subject-specific input provides a bridge between the semi-formal strand and that of the National Curriculum whilst taking into account individual learning styles and interests.  Skills are taught contextually with functional literacy and numeracy skills being practised and applied to support real life situations eg reading a shopping list and handling money.  Our pupils may take many years to consolidate basic concepts and skills and therefore priorities are identified which will best support them in future life.

National Curriculum – for those children who are working within or near to typical age-related expectations who are working in a subject specific arena.

These strands can overlap and as the needs of our children evolve, we continually assess the most appropriate approach for them.

For more information contact us via the school office office@hortonlodge.staffs.sch.uk

Horton Lodge Topic Cycles

Long Term Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Approach 2022-2024