Who is it for?
Pupils following the Enquiry Curriculum Strand at Brookfields School tend to have the same aspirations as their neuro-typical counterparts. They and their families have ambitions that they will enter into paid employment, be as independent as possible and contribute meaningfully to their communities. Our vision for this curriculum strand is that within a differentiated approach, this will be facilitated so that pupils have clarity about why they need to acquire skills and knowledge and will have the opportunity to generalise these through the breadth of opportunities offered. Children following this curriculum will tend to have joined Brookfields from a mainstream setting or have followed the Engagement (Semi-Formal) Curriculum previously. In the most part, it could be said that pupils following the Enquiry Curriculum Strand, would have Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD). It is not uncommon for pupils from the Engagement Strand to access Enquiry Strand sessions in areas which are a comparative strength for them.
Common characteristics of these learners are that they may have difficulties with:
- Understanding and retaining instructions and the requirements of tasks
- Acquiring sequencing skills − for example, when following a recipe or science experiment
- Understanding how they affect and relate to their immediate surroundings
- Personal organisation over the short, medium and long term
- Visual and auditory memory for information, processes and instructions
- Regulation when in unfamiliar settings
Too often in the past this cohort has only acquired rote-leant skills that do not translate into effective daily living skills. This Curriculum Strand acknowledges this and through targeted, engaging work, pupils are tested to apply their key skills in a variety of settings. Most significantly, this cohort is assessed both on the acquisition and the application of key skills which we give equal importance to.
How is it organised?
The Curriculum is organised into five main learning areas:
- Skill Me Up
This area looks at developing mastery of functional Literacy and Maths skills, including Writing, Reading, Communication, Number, Shape, Space, Measure (including money and time).
- Living My Life
This area covers using appropriate communication skills personalised to the individual and audience. Pupils' means of communicating and expressing themselves are a focus as fundamental social skills.
- Apply My Skills
In this strand the focus is on application of knowledge and skills to everyday tasks and applying this knowledge and skills to new problems not yet encountered (mastery through generalisation). This will be done through topic work, including elements of ICT and Science and using the TASC Wheel as a structure upon which pupils can develop their learning and organisational skills.
- Express Myself
This area gives an opportunity for all pupils on the pathway to develop their interests, creativity and self-expression. This will be worked on through subject specialist lessons such as Art, Music and P.E. as well as topic work, celebration days (incorporating Religious Education), and individual project work in the secondary school.
- My Emotions
How a pupil feels is just as important if not more important than what they know. Aligned to our Therapeutic Thinking School's ethos, Personal, Social, Heath & Economic Education (PSHE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will foster positive wellbeing and safe behaviour between peers and the wider community. Positive experiences lead to positive feelings which in turn promotes positive pro-social behaviour.
The balance of the focus of the curriculum will depend on each pupils Personalised Learning Plan (PLP) which will identify for each what they need to be taught and why and then how this will be organised for them that term.
How will the curriculum be taught?
- Study of fewer things in greater depth
- Clear sequence of learning across all subjects
- Subject specific lessons including regular English and Maths
- Emotional regulation as a central determiner of engagement and learning
- Cross curricular delivery/thematic delivery
- Subject specialist lessons including Art, Music and PE
- An increased emphasis on mastery through generalisation
- Independence through meaningful community experiences
- Effective interdependence by working with peers in small groups with decreasing adult support
- Class level curriculum delivery flexibility and co-production of ideas with pupils
Like their peers working through the Engagement Strand we envisage that many learners working within the Enquiry Strand will be able to find employment and/or go on to college. Systematic Learning approaches have also been found to suit this cohort of learners and they often thrive in well-structured life situations where their ability to work methodically is a real asset.