Curriculum Rationale

The curriculum at Richard Cloudesley is designed to provide opportunities for learning at an appropriate level and developmental stage.  As move through eh school the curriculum changes; they learn in different context and through new experiences. 

Our curriculum has three broad tiers which span the whole age range, in this way the curriculum has a developmental focus allowing learners to engage in meaningful activities which are both challenging and relevant to the students’ identified needs.  This does not mean pulsar fixed In a particular pathway these tiers are flexibe and dynamic so that teaching and learning can reposed to each individual. 

Communication autonomy and becoming as independent as possible in all our students experience, explore, learn is at the heart off all we do.  Programmes to meet physical, personal and other therapy needs are an integral part of our planning.  

Our curriculum is designed to fulfil our school purpose…  

To educate and empower our young people to develop the attitudes, skills and courage to succeed.

Curriculum planning is based on the National Curriculum to ensure it is broad and balanced.  Teachers plan topics and themes that provide a context for learning at our three different curriculum levels: 

  • Firm Foundations 
  • Building On
  • Reaching Higher 


Curriculum Progression

Progression in different subject or skill areas is not defined by age but by prior achievements and next steps for learning.  Each level of our curriculum provides opportunities to learn new skills, acquire additional knowledge and develop a deeper understanding across the full range of subjects at level appropriate to each pupil’s need.   Our curriculum is designed to allow for progression in three dimensions, learning new skills and making progress within the strand a pupil is working as they move through the school, approaching more complex skills or abstract skills in the next strand in areas in which an individual has particular strengths and consolidating skills and learning and generalising existing knowledge.    


Each curriculum level has clearly defined content and approach.

Firm Foundations

At this stage the curriculum has a clear developmental perspective. Consistent routines, a sensory environment allow learners to develop responses and express themselves in a stimulating and nurturing environment.  A pupil’s individual support plan will be central to the planning of lessons and activities for pupils working within the for foundations strand of the curriculum.  

The curriculum allows learners at these early levels to:

  • To anticipate and learn through familiar routines
  • Explore the world around them using their sense to enable exploration  
  • Develop positive relationships with familiar people
  • Develop the physical skills to control and manipulate their environment
  • Express choices and feelings in all ways they can

Building On

This stage encourages pupils to explore their works to make connections and develop fundamental skills for future

learning.  Cognition and developing ideas takes the form of exploration and practical tasks, including play.  The different subject areas provide a context through which cognition and communication is learned and developed.  Communicating ideas and developing understanding a major focus at this level.  Curriculum content and each individual’s support plan work together to inform lesson content at this level.

The curriculum allows learners at this level to:

  • Establish core skills in Literacy and Numeracy
  • Develop communication skills so that they can become active members of the different communities in which they are part
  • Learn about the world around them and their place in the wider community
  • Learn and practice life skills to enable them to be as independent as possible
  • Are encouraged to relate learning to their own experience and vice versa

Reaching Higher

At this stage pupils access a modified National Curriculum, a student’s support plans supplements planning for this more formal strand of the curriculum.  The reaching higher strand has an emphasis on functional Literacy and Numeracy and developing knowledge and abilities for everyday living.  Whilst the curriculum is more formally structured tasks are often of a practical nature and designed to provide opportunities to make links between subjects areas and develop transferable skills.  

This more formal level of learning provides opportunities to: 

  • Communicate, encounter and learn in a range of situations
  • Study a wide range subjects, as appropriate.
  • Develop a sense of community and responsibility to play a part as active citizens   
  • Learn through concrete tasks and then through generalising and applying their knowledge and skills  


Progression planning and tracking

The Cloudesley progression documents outline how skills and knowledge develop.  Teachers use then these documents to plan appropriately for each pupil.  

This progression information is also used to track curriculum coverage and identify what pupils have learned.  Next steps and any gaps in learning can then be planned for effectively.   



Curriculum Design

Curriculum Structure - our curriculum is designed to make sure all students access learning in all areas of the curriculum at a level and pace that suits their individual learning style.


Programmes of study provide the focus for each subject area, each term and broad learning objectives.  Coupled with the three-tiered structure of our curriculum, programmes of study ensure that each pupil learns at a level appropriate to their needs, whilst at the same time learning within an age appropriate context, alongside their peers.  

The curriculum is carefully planned to provide a variety of learning experiences and development as pupils move through the school, through the full entitlement of the National Curriculum. 

As pupils move through he curriculum structure changes to enrich learning.  

Key stage 4 pupils have optional choices and work world ASDAN Towards Independence accreditation.  

In the sixth form the range of available options increases and there is a sharer focus to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills to become life long learners, and to pursue and progress within their chosen future pathways.  Being as independent as possible, making informed choices about the future, community engagement and self-directed learning are all part of the bespoke sixth form offer.  

Throughout the school we consider the outcomes identified the Preparing for Adulthood framework.  This means as they journey through the school pupils at Richard Cloudesley become young people who are as confident and independent as possible and then they leave they are as fully prepared as possible for the next stage of their life.