The Pre-formal Curriculum is for pupils who have profound and complex needs. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of pupils through a personalised and adapted approach, valuing the process as much as the achievement and offering flexibility in order to be responsive to the needs of the individual learner.
It focuses on the early communication, social, emotional and cognitive skills that are the foundation of learning. It is a curriculum that recognises the importance of play in a child’s development and the need for sensory and multi-sensory approaches to learning. It acknowledges what learners can do by supporting and developing their strengths and abilities and it is designed to be delivered in an integrated way, incorporating learning, therapy and health needs.
The Semi-formal curriculum is delivered through a thematic based approach. It recognises that many of our pupils have a range of complex needs as well as learning difficulties. We meet each pupil’s needs through a personalised and adapted approach delivered through a bespoke curriculum.
For some pupils a social communication, emotional regulation and transactional support focus provides pupils with the skills and tools to be able to manage their own feelings, anxieties and behaviour, as well as understand and utilise effective and appropriate methods of communication. This equips our learners with the ability to meaningfully interact with, and convey needs to, familiar people; as well as those who help to support us in the wider community.
The curriculum is designed to be ambitious, fun, engaging, practical and meaningful and match to pupils learning and developmental needs. It aims to promote life skills, independence, communication and sensory integration activities to prepare children for learning. Regardless of physical, emotional and learning challenges, teaching through the Semi-formal curriculum captures the interest and imagination of our pupils.
The formal curriculum consists of adapted National Curriculum subjects, combining life skills, Learning outside the Classroom and creative subjects. The Formal curriculum is for those pupils who may have a range of needs, but who are cognitively able to access many aspects of a more formal curriculum framework, modified in line with pupil’s developmental level and additional needs. Pupils experience the formal curriculum in both a discrete and theme based approach that aims to develop thinking and independent learning skills enabling us to build learning capacity and lifelong skills. At Silverwood we have adapted subjects and topics to reflect the needs of our pupils, whilst ensuring they provide ambition, challenge and progress.
The formal curriculum, which includes a rich diet of both core subjects and more diverse subjects, works to ensure that the experience of learning is smooth, and that cyclical learning topics support learners in embedding skills and knowledge into long term memory through ‘over learning’ as well as contextualised opportunities for application. Subjects taught underpin the core values through explicit references; practical subjects are designed to support fine and gross motor skills as well as providing pupils with very real opportunities to develop skills for independent living and work beyond school. All subjects are designed to develops pupil’s ability to communicate effectively, and to learn about other communities, countries and cultures; an important part of British Values for Silverwood School.
We support pupils to consider different learning opportunities and apply them to real life situations. If pupils require a more bespoke curriculum, we adapt and tailor it to the needs of the individual. Where pupils show an aptitude in a particular area, they are encouraged to develop this to the highest level.
The formal curriculum at Silverwood goes beyond the academic and focuses on developing skills for life. Pupils at Silverwood will have the opportunity to practice and rehearse these skills in different contexts. Everything we do is there to support every child towards an independent as adulthood. We recognise that for each pupil, this will present different challenges and opportunities, therefore thorough preparation and practice is essential in every subject area as well as ad hoc learning opportunities. We pride ourselves on the responsive and adaptive curriculum we offer every pupil at Silverwood.
Many pupils go onto gain nationally recognised accreditations during key stage 4 and 5.
The Wider World
This curriculum area will engender a sense of awe and wonder for all pupils.
Pupils are supported to develop a strong recognition of themselves, their self-identity and culture. This celebrates their importance and interdependence in the local and wider community. Pupils will develop practical, transferable and repeatable skills in a wide variety of contexts both in and out of school. All key stages will focus on developing life skills and preparation for adulthood. Diversity, equality and respect will be taught to ensure that pupils know themselves and the importance of celebrating difference.
The wider world will form the context from which pupils can learn from the past, in the present, for their futures.
Expressive and Creative Arts
We support pupils to experience, appreciate, explore and enhance knowledge of the culture of our World. We empower and challenge all pupils to create something that expresses and communicates a part of their emotional self. We enable pupils to communicate in new ways, share their ideas, and commit them to record through a variety and breadth of experiences celebrating and recognising diversity. We believe in the value of the creative process, which is proven to create feelings of wellbeing. All pupils know that their work is valued and recognise that success is built on the freedom to experiment and make mistakes. Pupils learn that their work is appreciated and the joy it contains is shared.
‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on.’ (Einstein)
Maths and Science
Numeracy skills are needed throughout life. ‘Understanding the World’ encourages curiosity through exploration and problem solving. Through opportunities and experiential learning students gain functional life skills and engage in practical, fun activities to develop their knowledge of the wider world. Lessons incorporate values-based learning, Learning Outside the Classroom and the wider community, making experiences more meaningful, contextual and memorable. Learning how the world works, builds independence, increases students’ fine and gross motor skills and builds a sense of achievement.
Physical and Personal Development
We promote physical activity, emotional and social well-being and healthy lifestyles using an individualised approach that meets the holistic needs of the learner.
Pupils are provided with rich and varied opportunities that develop skills as well as foster independence, self-esteem and emotional health. They are also helped to manage risks within a safe and supportive environment.
Pupils learn to interact positively and safely, developing themselves as individuals and as part of a team or group, enabling skills such as collaboration and communication. Success is achieved, recognised and celebrated across the school community and beyond.
Learning is meaningful and enjoyable, developing real life skills that are transferable, increasing knowledge and experience. Pupils make healthy life choices with their diet, safety and positive relationships and know how to ask for help and voice opinions.
The positive values and attitudes nurtured are the vital foundations for pupil’s life-long and life-wide learning, empowering their citizenship and preparing them for adulthood.
Communication and Literacy
All pupils are readers, writers and communicators.
Pupils gain the necessary functional skills to be successful and confident communicators, readers and writers at a developmentally appropriate level. This provides them with the best opportunities to be valued and active members of society now and in the future. Teaching is engaging and pupil-centred, offering experiential learning in order to foster independent enquiry and curiosity. Communication and Literacy is a key life skill that enables pupils to engage with and access the world around them in a safe and meaningful way. All pupils are unique and have different ways of communicating. We use a Total Communication approach to ensure that every child’s voice is heard; we ensure they develop the appropriate skills to use it safely and effectively.
Reading is a crucial life skill and embedded across the curriculum; we foster a love of reading. Pupils journey towards meaningful and functional marks as well as accessing spelling, punctuation and grammar sessions where appropriate. They use the written form as well as technology to support successful outcomes.
Post 16 Curriculum
We seek to ensure our students are fully prepared for their adult lives and are ready to take an active and purposeful role within society as independently as possible. The Silverwood Post 16 curriculum is adapted to need and pupil interest. It also ensures links with different provisions wherever possible.
Our Post 16 curriculum aims to;
The curriculum is based on the four Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) outcomes outlined by the Department for Education; Employment, Health, Independent living and Community Participation.
Each young person follows a personalised learning programme, which is built up of a range of qualifications, vocational learning, work experience opportunities and therapeutic/sensory input.
We develop employability skills through vocational learning experiences within the local community, dedicated work experience and supported internships where appropriate.