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Curriculum

It is our intention to provide a curriculum model that is focussed on the next steps for our exceptional pupils, whether that is to prepare them for the next Key Stage of their development or for their subsequent steps in life.  For some this may be college or work based learning, whilst for others it may be preparing them for adulthood with as much relative independence and communication skills to ensure their safety and enrich their lives.

Our thoughts on curriculum design are that the current school cohort (and indeed, cohorts for the foreseeable future) are not best served by the National Curriculum alone. Our experience, concurring with a number of outstanding special schools, has led us to adopt a much more flexible and personalised approach, which sees our curriculum changing to meet the needs of the pupils rather than the other way round. Our learners are at the centre of our curriculum design.

We are currently implementing a 3 tiered approach to our curriculum as set out below, although we are aware that a combination of approaches is required at times to meet more multifaceted needs.

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Pre Formal Curriculum

A highly individualised approach, providing a suitable learning environment to meet the profound, medical and complex needs of pupils. We aim to promote relative independence, developing communication strategies and choice making, to ensure pupils are able to enjoy happy and healthy lives. Staff are extensively trained to meet the medical, physical, communication and sensory needs of learners and activities are designed to build upon this foundation, in an appropriate, cross-curricular and highly sensory manner.

Semi Formal Curriculum

A holistic approach that makes links between key areas of curricular learning, in a creative and life skills context. An emphasis on independence, problem solving and communication skills are encompassed in every classroom and beyond, with regular access to the community. There is a commitment to cross-curricular and contextualised learning where pupils are engaged and enthused in real life situations, within a flexible framework which is responsive to their personalised needs. The concepts of over learning and repetition are key in our semi-formal approach, to support the memory difficulties synonymous with pupils who have severe learning difficulties. To support the Social and Emotional needs of pupils, semi-formal groups are taught as individual classes, allowing consistency of teacher as support staff.

Formal Curriculum

A subject specific approach that encompasses many elements of the National Curriculum, where appropriate for our pupils. Classes are often taught in a wide range of highly equipped environments, by subject specialists, to maximise learning and development opportunities. The overwhelming majority of pupils in this cohort continue their learning beyond Durham Trinity with appropriate providers or colleges, with outstanding retention rates. Support staff are designated to each group to maintain close relationships and ensure we continue to support the Social and Emotional needs of pupils.

For more information regarding these pathways in relation to each key stage, please click on the links below.

To view our Teaching and Learning Policy and our Whole School Assessment Policy CLICK HERE and view them under general along with our other policies.

How We Promote Phonics and Literacy

Pliease click on the document below to view our phonics policy

Accelerated Reader

Please click on the document below to access information about this programme in school.