Foundation Curriculum

Who is it for?:

Our Foundation Curriculum is a unique curriculum, initially designed to meet the specific needs of all pupils aged two to seven years, but later extended to those pupils for whom it is appropriate to continue work on the skills required to access learning further up the school.

Built on the fundamental principle of engagement, our curriculum is focused on addressing the barriers to learning and developing the skills needed to engage, communicate, learn, and be independent. It was created to support all pupils to progress through five identified layers of development whilst incorporating the areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. It provides content that is designed to effectively engage our pupils in order to address their individual needs.

Our Foundation Curriculum aims to reduce the barriers to learning caused by moderate, severe and learning disability by nurturing true engagement, encouraging the meeting of and dealing with challenge and providing increased competency in the early fundamentals of communication and interaction. (For those with the most profound learning difficulties please also see our PMLD curriculum pathway).

How will the curriculum be taught?

Our curriculum is delivered through a series of flexible themed modules and a variety of personalised approaches, namely: play, sensory processing and integration, exploration, REACh(Relationship Education for the Autistic Child) and Intensive Interaction. We are now applying this approach throughout the Primary School.

To create a highly differentiated personalised learning environment, pupils have daily opportunities to engage in all physical and curricula areas of either the Explorers or the Adventurers groupings. This is called ‘Explore Time’ which runs from 10-11.30am each day and has similarities with the child-led approach seen in nurseries. Each day, pupils will have access to a wide range of activities set out across different rooms as well as outside areas, designed to enable the pupils to acquire, develop and apply the skills they need to become independent learners. We have tailored the environment to meet the needs of all pupils in conjunction with our Therapy Services, including our Sensory Processing Consultant and Speech and Language Therapy team. One of the differences from the system seen in nurseries is the level of scaffolding and differentiation provided for our cohorts: the intrinsic motivation to engage to begin with is often one of the primary barriers to learning that needs addressing.

The four main learning areas are:

  • Cognition
  • Sensorimotor and Outdoor Learning
  • Creativity
  • Imaginative and Small world play

How is it assessed?

Our Foundation Curriculum is structured around Five Layers of development across two strands: Physical and Emotional competency. It incorporates and focuses on the steps required as prerequisites to learning that will be the key to future engagement and progress. Core skills such as toileting, self-help, problem-solving and communication will be prioritised and are central to our vision.  

The Five Layers of development are:

  • Self
  • Environment
  • Adults
  • Peers
  • Interdependence

Both strands (Physical and Emotional) start at ‘Self’ and progress through to the ‘Interdependence’ level. Pupils will be assessed against a scale which uses ten degrees of competency for each Layer. Pupils will move on at their own pace, with educational teams ensuring concrete, consolidated learning at each step before moving on. Each Layer has a moderated checkpoint at the end, from which point pupils will move to the next stage.