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“A lovely school, my daughter loves learning.”

Curriculum

At The Willoughby School we have pupils aged from 2 to 19 years, working from P level 1ii to National Curriculum Level 4. Our curriculum is designed to meet this wide range of ages and abilities in a stimulating and enjoyable way. Each pupil works within the Willoughby curriculum framework of their key stage, but follows an individualised curriculum with their individual learning needs at its heart.

We recognise that pupils with different learning needs benefit from different curricula. For this reason, within each key stage we have a curriculum for SLD pupils and one for PMLD pupils. SLD pupils benefit from an adapted national curriculum. A broad range of subjects are covered, with a particular focus on Literacy, Numeracy, Science, PSD (Personal and Social Development) and ICT. PMLD pupils follow our PMLD Curriculum where the focus is on learning in the key areas of Communication, Sensory Cognitive (early Maths and Science), Personal and Social and Physical Development. This learning is provided in a wide range of contexts to provide a breadth of experiences.

We make full use of our excellent facilities to deliver the curriculum to all pupils. We are set in beautiful grounds including a sensory garden, trim trail, paddock and polytunnel, which are all well used to enrich our curriculum. We also have 2 sensory rooms, a 4D immersive space and a sensory integration suite which are all excellent resources for bringing learning to life and supporting individual needs. We also have 2 kitchens for pupils to use and a life skills/independence space.  

Early Years Foundation Stage

Children in Early Years follow the EYFS curriculum, adapted as needed to meet their individual needs. We follow the EYFS approach of learning through planned, purposeful play and a mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activity. There may be a higher proportion of adult-led activities here than is found in other Early Years settings, this is because we believe this enables the children who have a range of special needs to learn most effectively. Where children have SLD, PMLD, ASD or sensory or physical needs (or a combination of these) they will need more adult support to access learning opportunities and this learning will usually need to be scaffolded, modelled and repeated for them.  

Learning takes place in the seven Early Years areas of learning and development, with a particular focus on the three prime areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Children with SLD and PMLD learn together and also have time to focus on their specific needs, with slight variations in the curricula and assessment systems used. Children with SLD are assessed using B Squared for Early Years, which is based on the EYFS curriculum. Children with PMLD are assessed using Routes for Learning, which enables a focus on their very specific learning needs, still through the engaging contexts provided by the EYFS.

Key Stage 1 and 2

In the Primary phase children follow either the SLD or PMLD curriculum.

For SLD pupils we follow a modified version of the national curriculum, covering the full range of subjects in practical and engaging ways, adapted to meet the needs of the pupils. Pupils have individual Literacy, Numeracy, Science and PSD targets as well as IEP targets to address their specific barriers to learning. There is a particular focus on developing each child’s communication and personal/social skills as these are crucial to their progress in all areas. We follow a Total Communication approach with the use of speech, signing and symbols to support communication development. Pupils enjoy learning through experience with lots of opportunities to take part in practical activities and to use the facilities we have in the school building and grounds. For pupils who are beginning to develop their phonics skills we use elements of the Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics programmes, adapted as required to meet individual needs. With regard to reading, pupils who are beginning to read use Heinemann Sails and Oxford Reading Tree reading schemes, as appropriate to meet their needs.

PMLD pupils follow Willoughby’s PMLD curriculum with individual targets in the key areas of Communication, Sensory Cognitive (early Maths and Science), Personal and Social and Physical Development. They enjoy a sensory based curriculum where all learning is brought to life through experiences involving all the senses. Pupils take part in a daily sensory story lesson where they enjoy a story involving props, sounds, smells and tastes. They also have daily communication sessions, developing their individual means of communication including use of voice, gesture and switches, as well as topic lessons that support pupils to learn about the wider world through their senses. Pupils also have the opportunity to take part in Rebound sessions on the trampoline, spa sessions in the Jacuzzi and sensory integration sessions in the swing room if this meets their individual needs. They also make full use of the sensory rooms in school including the 4D immersive space.

Key Stage 3 and 4

In the Secondary phase students follow either the SLD or PMLD curriculum.

SLD students in Key Stage 3 follow a modified version of the national curriculum, continuing to work on a wide range of subjects in practical, engaging ways. Students continue to develop their key skills including communication, Literacy and Numeracy and they also increasingly focus on developing their personal and social skills including independence as they move into secondary education.

PMLD students in Key Stage 3 continue to follow Willoughby’s PMLD curriculum or the Willoughby Progress Curriculum (WPC) with individual targets in the key areas of Communication, Sensory Cognitive (early Maths and Science), Personal and Social and Physical Development. They enjoy a sensory based curriculum, working on developing their skills and widening their experiences through a range of topics and opportunities, including age appropriate opportunities where relevant to their needs.

In Key Stage 4 students start to work on a curriculum moving them towards their future adult life. SLD students work on accredited courses through OCR Life and Living Skills, studying for units in English, Maths and ICT. They also follow the Equals Moving On curriculum. This covers a range of areas including Technology, Creativity (Music, Art, Drama), Daily Living skills, Leisure and Recreation, UK Culture, Humanities, PSHE and Citizenship.

PMLD students in Key Stage 4 follow a similar curriculum to those in Key Stage 3, following Willoughby’s PMLD curriculum or the Willoughby Progress Curriculum (WPC). In addition to this they work on accredited courses through OCR Life and Living Skills, studying for units in Communication and Maths.

All SLD and PMLD students in Key Stage 4 also work on Vocational Studies each week, along with Key Stage 5 students. They are offered a choice of vocational options including areas such as Horticulture, Café skills, Motor mechanics, Arts and Crafts, Beauty and Child development.

Key Stage 5

In Key Stage 5 (6th form) students follow The Willoughby Sixth Form study programmes. These have been designed to support students over their years in the sixth form as they progress towards leaving school at 19. The programmes are based around the anticipated end goal for each student, for example attending college, independent living or a supported work placement. We look to provide a curriculum that can help the student reach this long term goal. We do this by breaking the goal into achievable steps. 

SLD students in Key Stage 5 focus on accredited courses through OCR Life and Living Skills. They study units in a range of areas including English, Maths, ICT, World of Work (including Mini Enterprise), Home Management, Arts and Crafts, Personal Skills and Environment and Community.

PMLD students follow the Willoughby Progress Curriculum (WPC) with individual targets in the key areas of Communication, Sensory Cognitive (early Maths and Science), Personal and Social and Physical Development. They also work on accredited courses through OCR Life and Living Skills, studying for units in Communication, Maths and Arts and Crafts.

All Key Stage 5 students access our 6th form common room where they have opportunities to take part in age appropriate leisure activities and develop their social and independence skills. We aim to prepare our students for adulthood by giving them opportunities to make responsible choices, supported as needed by school staff whilst developing their independence.

All students in Key Stage 5 also work on Vocational Studies each week (along with Key Stage 4) working on areas such as Horticulture, Café skills, Motor mechanics, Arts and Crafts, Beauty and Child development.

All Key Stage 5 students also have an opportunity to take part in work experience, or experiences of work, as appropriate to their needs. This can include work experience placements with, or visits to, local employers, for example Cummins, Sainsbury’s, the Food Bank, local shops and garden centres. It can also include work experience within school, supporting pupils in other classes or learning about job roles in school including office staff, kitchen staff and the caretaker. 

Any further information required about the curriculum followed at Willoughby School can be obtained by contacting the school.