The Whitefield curriculum is designed around five pathways each of which can be tailored to suit each pupil’s individual needs. 

We have considerable organisational flexibility to ensure that pupils are able to learn in a way that meets their needs and ensures they make the progress that is right for them.

Children in the Early Years (other than those with profound and multiple learning difficulties) follow the curriculum for the Early Years Foundation Stage which we adapted for their individual needs.

Other pupils follow one of the school pathways:

  • Reaching Out – a sensory curriculum for life and learning
  • Stepping On – an exploratory curriculum for life and learning
  • Climbing Up – an academic curriculum for life and learning with provision for specialist needs
  • Taking Off – a curriculum to prepare pupils aged 16 and above for the next stage in their lives

Within the pathways, each Key Stage group will have a different emphasis but the overall priorities are common to all.

Teaching and learning in each pathway address the priority curriculum, the personalised curriculum and core and foundation subjects. We focus on developing key skills so that pupils learn how to learn, enjoy exploring their environment and are able to follow their own interests.

Pathway 1 - Reaching Out

Pupils with profound and complex needs learn through consistent routines, sensory experiences and interaction with adults. The Reaching Out pathway embeds the principles of the Engagement model. The curriculum supports pupils to:

  • Express themselves in individual ways;
  • Develop trusting relationships with adults and work coactively with them;
  • Use and integrate their senses;
  • Explore their immediate environment;
  • Interact with other people;
  • Anticipate and then engage actively with familiar routines;
  • Gain confidence.

The Reaching Out pathway is structured around the following subjects:

Communication and interaction

Supporting pupils to establish behaviours through which they can express their feelings, make choices and communicate with other people;

Exploring and ordering the world

Supporting pupils to develop an awareness of the world around them through sensory exploration and by responding to ‘real’ and virtual stimuli;

Physical development

Supporting pupils to develop the physical skills through which they can control and explore their environment;

Social and emotional development

Supporting pupils to participate in the school community, respond to other people, share activities and celebrations with them and to become more confident in the wider world;

Creative development

Supporting pupils to express themselves or respond to others in the context of art and music and to take part in positive and enjoyable activities.

The progress of pupils following the Reaching Out pathway is accredited through appropriate modules within the following courses:

  • Key Stage 3 - ASDAN New Horizons
  • Key Stage 4 – ASDAN Transition Challenge
  • Key Stage 5 – ASDAN Towards Independence
  • All Key Stages as appropriate – Arts Award

Pathway 2 - Early Years Foundation Stage

Children in the designated Early Years classes in Peter Turner Primary School and Margaret Brearley School work within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. We adapt our approach to meet the needs of young children with autism or severe learning difficulties. 

As part of this pathway, pupils enjoy free flow learning indoors and outdoors alongside structured activities.

The curriculum supports pupils to:

  • Focus their attention on things they enjoy;
  • Take part in a variety of play opportunities that support every area of learning.

The Early Years Foundation Stage pathway is structured around the seven areas of learning and development:

  • Communication and language development – giving pupils opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations;
  • Physical development – providing opportunities for children to be active and interactive, to develop their co-ordination, control and movement, to understand and make healthy choices;
  • Personal, social, and emotional development – helping pupils to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities;
  • Literacy development – encouraging pupils to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write;
  • Mathematics - providing pupils with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measure;
  • Understanding the world – guiding pupils to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment;
  • Expressive arts and design – enabling pupils to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials and providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Teachers complete the Early Years Foundation Stage assessment and participate in moderation with the local authority for children reaching the end of Reception

Pathway 3 - Stepping On

Children and young people learn through play, exploration, practical activities and community involvement.

The Stepping On curriculum in Key Stages 1 and 2 support children to:

  • Learn life skills;
  • 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

The Stepping On curriculum in Key Stages 3 and 4 builds on what pupils have learnt in earlier stages and supports them to:

  • Learn the best ways for them to communicate;
  • 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.

The Stepping On pathway is structured around the following subjects:

  • Communication and language – supporting 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;
  • PSHE - supporting 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;
  • Literacy - supporting 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;
  • Mathematics – supporting 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;
  • Science – supporting 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 – supporting 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.  Pupils use basic control technology and some may access coding.  ICT is taught as a discrete subject and pupils use technology across the curriculum;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world – supporting 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 our wider community;
  • Physical development - supporting pupils to develop physical control, take part individually or as a group in play, leisure and fitness activities and to develop a healthy lifestyle;
  • Creative development – supporting 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.

The progress of pupils following the Stepping On pathway is accredited through appropriate modules within the following courses:

  • Key Stage 3 - ASDAN New Horizons
  • Key Stage 4 – ASDAN Transition Challenge
  • Key Stage 5 – ASDAN Towards Independence
  • All Key Stages as appropriate – Arts Award

Pathway 4 - Climbing Up

The ‘Climbing Up’ curriculum focuses on developing both academic and life skills. Learning draws on the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and/or the syllabi for examinations, adapted and augmented in the light of individual needs.  

Pupils also access other areas of learning which are intended to prepare them for future settings whether that is our own Post 16 provision, Project SEARCH, colleges or school Sixth Forms.

The Climbing Up curriculum supports pupils to:

  • Develop academic knowledge based around their strengths and interests;
  • Remain a part of the Whitefield Schools community, building friendship groups and supporting other young people;
  • Reflect on what adult life will involve and develop their own dreams and aspirations.

The Climbing Up pathway is structured around the following subject areas:

  • 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;
  • Well-being, spirituality and creativity – PE, PSHE, art and DT – supporting 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;
  • Everyday living – focusing on the necessary skills for leading as independent a life as possible and keeping themselves safe;
  • The World of Work – supporting pupils to occupy themselves purposefully, to take their place in the community and to be ready for paid employment.

Modern Foreign Languages can be offered in partnership with Joseph Clarke School or local mainstream schools.

Examinations and accredited courses

Achievements are recognised and valued through examinations and nationally recognised accredited schemes such as ASDAN accreditation and Entry Levels, Functional Skills, BTECS and GCSEs qualifications as appropriate. Pupils may access some examination courses on site or at Joseph Clarke School using specialist facilities and teachers or they may study courses at local mainstream schools or colleges with support from Whitefield Schools staff.

Pathway 5 - Taking Off

A curriculum for post 16 pupils equipping them for future choices in work, college and independent or supported living.

Pupils following the Taking Off pathway will have previously followed one or more of the other pathways and teachers’ planning will take account of the skills and knowledge gained by the end of Key Stage 4.

The curriculum aims to help pupils acquire skills that will be of benefit to them at the next stage of their lives, whether in employment, a further education setting, or at a day center.  

The Taking Off Curriculum supports pupils to:

  • Enhance their communication and interaction skills through real-life and age-appropriate experiences;
  • Be involved in decision making regarding themselves, their school, education and plans for their future;
  • Form relationships with other young people and adults from a range of environments;
  • Enjoy their experience of post-16 education.

Pupils based at college or on the Whitefield School site continue to develop their skills within five key areas of learning:

  • Communication, language and literacy – pupils continue to follow the Programme of Study for the relevant pathway, with an emphasis on broadening the group of people with whom they can communicate;
  • The World of Work – supporting pupils to gain the skills for paid employment or to work alongside others within their home and community;
  • Well being – supporting pupils to keep as well physically, emotionally and mentally as possible;
  • Everyday living – supporting pupils to lead as independent a life as possible and to take responsibility for their everyday lives;
  • Creativity and spirituality - supporting pupils to express themselves and develop a sense of identity.

The progress of pupils within the Taking Off Pathway is accredited through the following courses as appropriate:

  • GCSE
  • BTEC
  • ASDAN Towards Independence
  • ASDAN Employability Scheme