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Semi-Formal Pathway

The semi-formal pathway spans key stages two and three is designed for our learners who have severe learning difficulties.

Pupils with severe learning difficulties learn through best through play, exploration, practical activities and community involvement.


The semi formal curriculum enables pupils to:​

  • Develop communication skills using a total communication approach (speech, gesture, sign or symbol) so that they can interact with other people, make choices, follow instructions and explanations and access the key concepts needed for learning.​

  • Establish key skills in literacy, numeracy, science and ICT.​

  • Learn to co-operate with other people, to build positive relationships and to take responsibility for themselves.​

  • Learn the skills which will help them be more independent in adult life.​

  • Learn about the world around them and the wider community.​

My Communication and Literacy - enabling pupils to communicate with other people using speech, sign, objects or symbols, to express themselves confidently and to understand what other people are communicating to them. Enabling pupils to enjoy reading books, stories and rhymes, pictures and written information, to participate in positive experiences sharing all forms of literacy with adults and other children and to learn strategies to take meaning from pictures, print and symbols.


My Thinking and Problem Solving - enabling pupils to explore, organise and communicate about the physical world, to develop basic concepts in numeracy, shape space and   measures and to apply those concepts in meaningful activities and real world contexts.


My Personal Development -  enabling pupils to develop positive relationships with others, to live and work within a community, to become more independent, to be safe and healthy and to care for their environment. This strand includes Relationships and Sex Education.

My World, My Community

Science -enabling pupils to explore and talk about the natural world, to investigate and observe change and to develop their interest in and knowledge of living things, materials, forces and light and dark;


ICT - enabling pupils to use a wide range of technology purposefully and safely as a means of communication, to make practical tasks easier, to share information, to gain information about the wider world and as a leisure skill. 


My Personal Geography and History - enabling pupils to develop an interest in the world around them and to build a sense of time, a sense of place and a sense of community. Pupils learn about and 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 Physical Development - enabling  pupils to develop physical control, take part individually or as a group in play, leisure and fitness activities and to develop a healthy lifestyle;

My Creative Development - enabling pupils to explore colour, texture, shape, pattern, form and space in 2 and 3 dimensions, to listen to and participate actively in a range of musical experiences, to develop their imagination and to plan and generate designs.


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

  • learn life skills including learning about the world of work

  • interact with others in a positive way (sharing, taking turns and co-operating with others)

  • communicate with a range of listeners including familiar adults in and out of class

  • be as independent and autonomous as possible

  • enjoy school and engage with learning

  • develop their ability to self-regulate their emotions

  • develop their ability to accept and cope with change.



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

  • explore and interact with resources and activities

  • express their needs and wants and make meaningful choices using their preferred mode of communication

  •  engage with teaching and learning and be willing to take part in new activities

  • be as independent as possible in self-care activities


At Key Stage Three the semi- formal curriculum provides children with opportunities to:

  • learn the best ways for them to communicate and to have strategies in place to repair communication breakdowns

  •  make positive and meaningful choices

  • build relationships

  •  increase independence and develop functional life skills

  • cope with different emotions and sensations as they grow older

  •  learn how to safeguard themselves


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

  • enjoy interacting with others and build positive relationships

  •  make themselves understood and take part in communication as a two-way process

  •  take care of their immediate environment

  •  enjoy a range of sensory and structured activities

  • confidently access the local community

  •  use their independence skills to take some control over their life

  •  use self-regulation strategies to keep calm and manage challenging situations

  • safely make their own choices

  • use previous knowledge and experience to support new skills and increase independence.

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