Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4

Secondary education

Many students join us at the start of Key Stage 3 reflecting the changes which our students face in the transition from a primary to secondary school environment.

Our students find that more specialist and holistic educational, therapeutic and care provision is what is required to allow them to continue learning effectively. Some of our students join us from mainstream primary education settings, whilst others join us from a range of special schools and we accept students from around the country and abroad.

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 covers Years 7 to 9 in the National Curriculum and begins our students on their path to achieving nationally recognised qualifications to match their level of ability at the end of Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

At this key stage we have three main pathways which reflect the abilities and needs of our students:

Integrated pathway

The Key Stage Three integrated curriculum caters for our Level 1 students with the most complex needs working between P4 and the National Curriculum. It continues to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, using the EQUALS Schemes of Work as a foundation for adapting the National Curriculum as appropriate to student need. Work is planned by termly topics and is cross-curricular in its implementation. These integrated classes follow an extensive multi-positional programme and develop early literacy skills through the use of PCS symbols.

Entry Level and GCSE pathways

Students on the Entry Level and GCSE pathway at KS3 are generally working between P7 and National Curriculum Level 5. Students on this pathway follow the National Curriculum with the content of each subject modified and adapted, where necessary, to meet the needs of individual students, groups and forms. Students are taught core subjects (maths, English, literacy, history, geography, ICT, RE and PE/citizenship) in their form rooms and move out to specialist areas for science, music, art, design technology, food technology and PE.

Therapy sessions may be scheduled within lesson time, either on an individual basis or jointly planned and delivered to a group or class by a teacher and therapist. Timings are agreed between the form teacher and therapists concerned. As with the Integrated Pathway, therapeutic programmes are embedded across the school day.

Key Stage 4

At this Key Stage we continue with the three main pathways which reflect the abilities and needs of our students:

Integrated class

The curriculum is finely balanced to incorporate the physical and educational needs of the students. Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) are used to support and reinforce students' understanding and enable them to access a broad and balanced curriculum. The class follows ASDAN's Transition Challenge curriculum over two years. It has five modules:

  • Knowing How: independent living skills
  • Making Choices: Self advocacy
  • Feeling Good: positive self image
  • Moving Forward: personal development
  • Taking the Lead: personal autonomy

Entry Level and GCSE pathways

Students who are working between National Curriculum Level 1 and 3 at the end of Year 9 follow a range of Entry Level qualifications, while students evidencing skills at National Curriculum Level 4 and above follow a range of GCSE qualifications. The number of GCSEs a student studies will be dependent upon their ability. Compulsory subjects will however include: English, maths, science and ICT.

In addition to these core subjects there are a number of optional subjects students can follow as an accredited route including: physical education, design & technology, art, citizenship studies and music. The timetable also provides PSHE, RE and PE within the curriculum.

Alongside GCSE and Entry Level qualifications, some students follow the AQA's Unit Award Scheme, achieving units and recognition at a level appropriate to their ability.