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Formal Pathway

The formal pathway spans key stages two and three is designed for our learners who have moderate learning difficulties usually combined with a physical disability, autism, complex medical need or communication and language difficulty.  The formal curriculum focuses on developing both academic and life skills. Learning is taken from the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and/or the syllabi for examinations, adapted and enhanced to meet individual needs.​ Life skills, independence skills and social communication skills form an integral part of the curriculum.

Enabling our learners to develop healthy attitudes and lifestyles in preparation for adulthood is our priority. As with all pathways learning needs to be transferrable and relevant; the classroom is only the starting point.  The curriculum takes key learning statements and systematically looks at how they transfer into the wider world as real-world opportunities, rehearsed by real-life learning situations within the school setting. Targets from individual Education, Health and Care plans ensure that learning is personalised and builds intentionally towards individual outcomes in order to improve the life chances and opportunities of every young person.

Literacy and Numeracy content, including Reading and Phonics, is taught discretely and then consolidated and applied across the curriculum.  Every new concept is first introduced using physical, sensory, and concrete materials before learners go on to develop, consolidate and generalise their learning.

Learners in this pathway may have a combination of layered needs including physical, medical, sensory, communication, mental health, social or behavioural. This means that their timetable may need to build in time for therapies and bespoke interventions. Pupils may present an uneven profile and where gaps in understanding are found, content from the semi formal curriculum may be accessed to ensure solid foundations are built to support learning within the semi formal pathway.

To remove barriers to learning pupils may require regular sensory breaks or sensory input, they may use augmented and alternative communication including technologies or signs and symbols, they may need adaptations to support their physical needs, they may need learning to be broken down into smaller chunks or revisited several times and regularly in order for it to be retained. Where pupils excel in a particular area they are challenged: the formal pathway is aspirational and encourages learners to develop their interests in order to succeed.


Core subjects – English, maths, science and ICT – providing access to key academic learning which underpins other curriculum areas and which will equip pupils for future college courses and employment;


Understanding the World - enabling pupils to develop an interest  and knowledge in the world around them and to build a sense of time, a sense of place and a sense of community. Pupils learn about significant world events and develop a knowledge of areas beyond their own locality. Pupils celebrate their own faith, language and culture as well as those of the wider community;

My World of Work - enabling  pupils to occupy themselves purposefully, to take their place in the community and to be ready for paid employment.


My Well-being, Creative Development , PSHE – PE, PSHE, Art, DT and Music – enabling  pupils to develop holistically, to make informed choices about their lifestyles, to understand their community and to access positive leisure activities through creating and/or appreciating art.  As in other pathways, PSHE includes Relationship and Sex Education;


At Key Stage Two the formal curriculum builds on the Early Years and provides children with opportunities to:

  • practice life skills and develop their understanding of the world

  • develop their numeracy and literacy skills in a range of contexts

  • develop their self-help and independence skills

  • enjoy school and engage with learning in a wide range of subjects including English, Maths, Science, PE, ICT and Humanities

  • Begin to express their thoughts and feelings through a range of creative activities

  • learn about their physical health and wellbeing and develop their ability to manage their emotions

  • develop their ability to accept and deal with change


By the end of Key Stage Two we aim for learners following the formal pathway to be able to:

  • communicate confidently and appropriately with familiar adults and peers

  • interact with others in a positive, appropriate and safe way

  • use equipment including technology safely

  • begin to demonstrate and apply learning to real life situations

  • develop skills and interests that can be developed beyond the school day


At Key Stage 3 the formal curriculum aims to provide children with opportunities to:

  • become as independent as possible

  •  communicate effectively

  •  take responsibility for their self-care

  •  socialize in a range of settings

  • develop an awareness of the diverse community in which they live

  •  develop a level physical control over their environment

By the end of Key Stage 3 we aim that the children and young people following the formal pathway will:

  • have developed knowledge and skills based around their strengths and interests

  • feel empowered, secure, valued and respected

  • manage independently or communicate control over their self-care

  • develop an understanding of how to be part of their local community

  • develop strategies to support their mental health and wellbeing

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