Diversity information

Within the semi-formal department, we work with a diverse group of students with severe learning difficulties who require experiences and opportunities which promote the development of functional skills, communication, emotional wellbeing, confidence and independence.

It is important for these pupils that achievable aspirations for transitioning to their adult lives remain at the heart of our curriculum and time is dedicated to ensuring a progression of skills throughout school.


The intent for the semi formal curriculum is to provide a personalised approach to learning driven by EHCP targets that builds on prior learning and the development of communication and independence.  Activities will be motivating and engaging and pupils will develop confidence to become more independent learners and also become aware of the next steps in their learning journey.

The journey for the student through the department

Our pupils learn differently and therefore our approach is more than simply differentiated, it is profoundly personalised. We start with each student’s specific needs, highlight strengths and identify areas to develop. The semi-formal pathway delivers a broad and balanced curriculum within which we plan steps of progression which build on these foundations, ensuring we are guided by both child development and personal aspirations. Significant milestones are celebrated such as the progression through the key stages 

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is responsive to the developing needs of students and regularly reviewed to ensure they are offered the best opportunities to thrive. The semi-formal curriculum pathway focuses on developing the practical application of skills and knowledge. It centres around the development of student voice and choice, fostering positive social and communication skills. 

Curriculum offer and focus

Classes within the semi-formal curriculum follow half termly themes. Planned activities provide opportunities for pupils to develop cross curricular skills.

The semi-formal curriculum is based in the Equals curriculum which aims to promote the highest standards of education for pupils with learning difficulties and offers a progressive and multi-tiered curriculum approach. 

Pupils are therefore offered the following route through the curriculum: 

Semi –Formal learning is Creative, engaging and inspiring. Focusing on tangible, hands-on learning which leads to resilient, independent, happy students with a strong sense of self.

Classroom are colourful environments were students feel safe to push their boundaries and where staff are consistent and caring, enabling students to be all they can be.

The Semi-Formal phase creates opportunities for personalised, student-focused learning with meaningful real-world applications. We nurture close links with families and involve them in their child’s learning journeys, empowering them with support, advice and training and together celebrating every achievement.

providing opportunities to explore in different ways enhancing learning and development


Pupils will be assessed using MAPP and, where applicable, national curriculum levels. Mapp is a suite of materials that facilitate planning, assessment and recording of progress in relation to personal learning intentions. 

Within the department we also work towards a transitional challenge within Asdan with all secondary students. This is a nationally accredited award which offers a learner centred activity-based curriculum. 

There are two levels available: 

  • Sensory:this programme offers a developmental perspective for learners with PMLD and rewards very small steps of learning and achievement 
  • Introduction and Progression:the activities in this programme cover the statutory programmes of study for the Key Stage 4 National Curriculum, along with activities to develop the skills required for adult living 


The intended outcome

For students to become confident communicators who effectively self-advocate to shape their own lives by being able to think and problem solve as independently as they possibly can.  As young people, our students will gain group or individual voluntary sector work within their local communities. These young people will be able to make choices about their day-to-day lives and enjoy a social network. Young people will work towards supported living in the long term. 

We work closely with other curriculum departments to ensure that our students are always appropriately stretched and challenged to achieve their full potential.