Pre-Formal Pathway - CLDD

Name of curriculum:

Pre formal – for learners with Complex Learning Disabilities and Difficulties

Who is it for?:

This pathway is for learners with Complex Learning Disabilities and Difficulties (CLDD) Pupils with CLDD are a distinctive group of learners requiring a highly personalised curriculum in response to their individual profile of learning need.

The Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project led by Professor Barry Carpenter defines CLDD as: children and young people with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) have conditions that co-exist. These conditions overlap and interlock creating a complex profile. The co-occurring and compounding nature of complex learning difficulties requires a personalised learning pathway that recognises children and young people’s unique and changing learning patterns.

In our experience at Brookfields School pupils with CLDD will usually have a diagnosis of Autism. Some may present with a rote understanding of subject specific knowledge for example they may be able to count numbers or sight-read words and sentences but their ability to apply these skills practically is significantly impaired by the social, emotional and communication needs.

Characteristics of pupils with CLDD include:

  • Combined and layered needs
  • Challenges with sustaining good mental health
  • Significant social relationship difficulties
  • Behaviours that may challenge others and themselves in a range of settings,
  • Physical, medical, sensory needs
  • Impaired communication
  • Significantly impacted cognitive ability
  • Their attainments may be inconsistent, presenting an atypical or uneven profile

How is it organised?

  • My Senses

This area identifies and provides interventions to break down barriers to learning. These barriers may include: sensory impairment; sensory processing and complex health needs.

  • My Interactions

This area focuses upon a pupil's need to communicate with others and for others to understand and interpret a pupil's communication.

  • My Explorations

This area offers opportunities for developmental learning routed in concrete experiences.

  • My Movements

This area encourages the development and preservation of fine and gross motor skills through following a set of progressive goals and therapies.

  • My Independence

This area recognises the need for pupils to develop the skills required to undertake basic tasks including; self-help, self-care and access to the community as independently as possible.

  • My Emotions

This area teaches pupils the strategies required to sustain attention, manage and regulate their own behaviour, manage stress and anxiety and communicate with others in an appropriate way.


How will the curriculum be taught?

  • Practice is built upon the philosophy that interactions must be meaningful and relevant built upon mutual trust and understanding. Intensive interaction is embedded throughout the curriculum as a vehicle to enable these interactions to take place and grow.
  • Formalised interaction systems such as tactile cues, sensory routines, objects of reference and Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) can be used to develop anticipation, reduce stress and anxiety and allow pupils to develop and express autonomy.
  • Practice is built upon the philosophy that pupils will engage with learning when motivated to explore. Exploration encompasses the environment around a pupil; starting with response to stimuli; moving to intentional enquiry and on to functional skills. The Walden approach will be used to develop the pupils learning to learn skills and understanding of the physical world.
  • Sequencing of movement and intention to move and be physical will be developed through engagement strategies. Within this area pupils will follow a personalised programme developed in conjunction with our integrated therapy team and delivered through targeted interventions as well as daily routines.