Functional Curriculum

Our Vision

Our ultimate goal is to develop the key learning skills to enable our learners to operate as independently as possible and as effective learners.


The Functional Curriculum is taught to classes of identified learners in years 4 to 11 who have significant and enduring difficulties with a more standard curriculum. It is based on the premise that learners will have had the opportunity to develop basic skills through a supported Foundation Phase curriculum and National Curriculum but will still be making minimal progress. Pupils following our functional curriculum route, typically work between Routes for Learning (RfL) and National Curriculum Level 1 and have severe learning difficulties and / or difficulties such as communication difficulties, difficulties with abstract concepts, difficulties with moving things from short to long term memory, inefficient / slow information processing speed and difficulties with generalisation and problem solving.


The functional curriculum has been planned to show and offer progression over a period of time, but also acknowledges that many skills are lost if not practiced and generalised in different contexts. Therefore we aim to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that is adapted to meet the needs of every pupil and to overcome any barriers to learning using a range of specialist interventions. Examples of this enhanced curriculum include: Sensory Programs, Movement sessions – Sherborne Technique, Links with local Creative Partners, Objects of Reference, Makaton, PECS, SAFMEDS, TACPAC and Language for Thinking. Our approaches are also supported by a very strong enrichment curriculum that includes trips, visits and external providers ensuring learning is brought to life. We also operate a multi-disciplinary team approach to providing individualised learning and support for identified pupils.  These include speech and language, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.


Learning follows a 3-year topic cycle which comprises half termly topics. Pupils revisit earlier learning and topics and there is a spiral progression, for example pupils will be expected to revisit earlier learning but engage in a more challenging learning outcome. This process ensures progression but also embeds learning through necessary repetition which checks progress and real understanding and gives opportunities for generalisation which is crucial for our pupils.  Learning is taught through 3 annual set themes – ‘Environment’, ‘Living Things’ and ‘Events’. 2 topics within each theme are chosen through which to deliver the curriculum on a half-termly basis.

The framework has agreed content for each area which draws upon the Foundation Phase Curriculum and National Curriculum. Areas are modified in line with pupils learning difficulties and teaching approaches will reflect the age and learning style of the pupils concerned and are often linked to practical activities and consolidated by repetition and reinforcement. Each class has a timetable which clearly indicates the allocation of time to subjects. The Basic Skills sessions receive the heaviest weighting but are supplemented by areas that include Knowledge and Understanding of The World, Creative, Physical Development, Religious Education and Welsh Development to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Individual Targets are integrated into these curriculum areas to meet the needs of the individual pupils.  A discrete ‘Out and About’ weekly session takes place and digital competency is taught in a cross curricular way with an emphasis on enhancing access and communication.  We also plan regular opportunities to develop learning beyond the classroom in its widest sense to help motivate and engage our learners through weekly Outdoor Learning and Forest School sessions.

There is a strong emphasis on the work related curriculum for our KS4 learners. Learners access weekly ‘World of Work’ sessions. They also have opportunities to acquire qualifications / accreditation at a rate suitable to their own learning needs.

Assessment in the Functional Curriculum

Effective assessment for learning happens all the time in the classroom. Within the Functional Curriculum it involves: -

  • Sharing learning goals with pupils - helping pupils know and recognise the standards to aim for. Each class is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate system is adopted both by telling or writing the goals.
  • Providing feedback that helps pupils to identify how to improve - believing that every pupil can improve in comparison with previous achievements. Feedback will be immediate and should relate to the learning outcomes of the lesson, without missing opportunities to comment on other learning. Feedback will be given at an appropriate level for pupils to understand. It will use the ‘2 stars and a wish’ model. ‘Wishes’ will be followed up in future learning and will be identified as such. Where feedback is written (ie work is marked) green ink will be used.
  • Staff may choose to reinforce feedback with a sticker or object of reference if appropriate. Pupils are encouraged to take pride in their learning whenever the learning and success takes place. We also celebrate the pupil’s achievements at our achievement assembly, and through our newsletters.
  • Where appropriate, each class is responsible for creating approaches that encourage self-assessment and are adequately adapted and modified to meet the needs of individual pupils at the end of a session or activity.
  • Where appropriate, as pupils become more confident they will be encouraged to comment on the work of others, leading up to peer assessment.


  • The fundamental purpose of our recording process is to provide information on each child’s achievements, skills, abilities and progress throughout the curriculum. Annotation of work, including photographs should be useful and purposeful. It will include the context of evidence, the level and types of support given and the level of interaction that the pupil demonstrated. Such detail will be held in pupil’s individual learning journeys and pupils individual IEP green folders.
  • Each class is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate system is adopted to capture and record relevant data associated with pupils’ specific individual targets.

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