Formal Pathway

Formal Learning Pathway Curriculum Map   

Our formal curriculum is subject specific learning based upon the national curriculum. We follow a thematic approach that changes termly and where possible, subjects are linked to this theme. Our formal learners are working at a level that means they can access subject specific learning for some parts of the day / within some curriculum areas often linked to special interests. Pupils’ motivators are used to increase engagement and understanding. A multi-faceted approach to learning is required if our pupils are to achieve the very best they can in everything they do. 

The pathway is designed to meet the needs of pupils through a highly personalised approach. The intent for our Formal curriculum is to provide a personalised approach to learning driven by EHCP outcomes consolidates prior learning and promotes the development of functional English and Maths skills, communication, emotional regulation, physical development and independence. Pupils are encouraged to consider and plan with trusted adults the next steps in their learning journey and identify any potential barriers as part of Preparation for Adulthood.  

Adults provides meaningful contexts for learning that use real-life materials and experiences, concrete resources and practical everyday activities so that learners link experiences and make connections across the curriculum and environments. 


Child Centred Curriculum  

Learners on our Formal pathway are; 

Formal Pathway Stage 10+ (Performance Level 7)  

  • access some elements of Subject Specific Learning with strengths or gaps in particular areas, developmentally working at an age of 2.5 years +  
  • at a ‘Conversation Partner’ Stage using the SCERTS framework – pupils working at this stage are learning to use language creatively and use communication skills in a range of social settings.  
  • Where appropriate the use of language boards in a more sophisticated way – develop sentences via language boards, develop a variety of sentence structures, develop a range of communication functions e.g., making comments about their wider environment and the people in it, giving information / requesting items using adjectives and prepositions and the use of Talking Mats 
  • reactive in their responses to their own emotions and sensory processing needs – there are times when learners are less reactive in their response as self-control abilities emerge as they become more aware of their own needs, have language strategies to communicate needs and / or trust the transactional support offered is consistent  
  • use language strategies to request familiar regulating activity (e.g. rebound, swing, massage) and / or input (e.g. roller ball, deep pressure), to regulate their arousal level and self soothe that have been previously consistently modelled by adults  
  • learning to respond to a wider range of emotional regulation strategies to regulate their emotions and manage their sensory processing needs which can be significant barriers to their learning and physical and/or mental wellbeing 
  • learning to share attention, share greater range of emotions and intention with others through social experiences with others. This links to the development of the Fundamentals of Communication (FoC) 
  • provided with opportunities to make meaningful choices throughout the school day, in addition to immediate choices that affect them pupils are also supported to make decisions that impact on their wider peer group and the whole school e.g. helping to choose new options for snack / dinner menu as well as making decisions that will have delayed gratification e.g. choosing to go to bowling at the end of a term and working towards the steps involved to action it.  Pupil voice is heard, valued and respected through the use of pupil motivators / special interests (recorded on Pupil Motivator Sheet) and using these more widely to extend and broaden learning. Our aim is for pupils on this pathway 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 pupils make choices about their day-to-day lives and enjoy meaningful social networks 
  • have a Personalised Pupil Profile and Positive Behaviour Support Plan which reflects strengths, needs and motivators and contributing to the development of it where appropriate e.g. recognising what helps them when they are over excited or feeling sad. 


EHCP Focus 

EHCP > End of Key Stage Targets > Annual Targets > Progress in Provision (PiPs) > Evidence of Progress > Formal Assessment 

The EHC Plan is Golden Thread that weaves together our teaching and learning and our therapeutic core. It is integral to each pupil’s provision and planning. EHCP outcomes at the centre of the curriculum with pupils’ interests as the teaching vehicle; these are developed with parents, and where appropriate the pupil themselves, during Annual Review meetings as we discuss our Aspirations and Hopes for each pupil as they journey through their education. 

We believe that the most effective support for our complex learners happens when their aspirations are linked to their strengths and needs (with a clear focus on lifelong learning) and then to outcomes and support (through a holistic, highly personalised provision). 


Autism Practice/ Key documents 

EYFS Development Matters (July 2021), National Curriculum (2013), Engagement Model (2021), Pre-Key Stage Standards (2021), Fundamentals of Communication (FoC) Nind & Hewett 1994, 2001, 2005), Hewett (2018), SCERTS Framework (2007) Autism Education Trust Progression Framework (AET) (2019) National Curriculum (2014) 


Links to HP Core 

Personalised curriculum that priorities the importance of the HP Core Therapeutic offer: communication, emotional regulation, and independence 

Opportunities to build trusting, positive relationships are priority and key to all areas of learning. 


Core Therapeutic Strategies 

Intensive Interaction, language boards, Choose Boards, personalised Visual Timetable (this could be a written timetable), a balance of calming and alerting sensory activities for regulation, activities for physical development, Core Occupational Therapy (OT) equipment, massage, deep pressure touch. Pupils to be encouraged to have greater independence and advocacy in the requesting and use of these. 


Planning (Thematic Approach) 

Learning for Life – We have an ambitious three-year thematic sequenced curriculum differentiated to reflect the age of pupils and breadth of opportunities which is the vehicle to develop the skills, knowledge and cultural capital pupils need to succeed in life beyond school (Preparation for Adulthood).  Lateral and linear progress is reflected in planning and individual target setting. Planned activities provide opportunities for pupils to develop cross curricular skills. 


Engagement in Learning 

The curriculum is adapted to maximise engagement and learning opportunities taking into full account each child’s motivators and bespoke learning pathway with greater emphasis on supporting the pupil to consider how lessons/tasks could be adapted to maximise learning and active engagement. “Without engagement, there is no deep learning” (Hargreaves, 2006) 


NC Coverage 

Within the formal pathway pupils will work towards an adapted version of the national curriculum. Pupils will work towards national curriculum outcomes alongside their long-term EHCP outcomes. At different points in their educational journey, where appropriate, pupils will work towards accreditations and qualifications that recognise their achievements within individual subjects.   

Our formal pathway is delivered primarily through a thematic based approach, which provides a holistic, integrated offer that promotes coverage of the National Curriculum through interconnected activities, where concepts are connected to and reinforced by the other through a common theme, allowing pupils to make real life connections resulting in richer understanding. Classes within the Formal pathway follow half termly themes linked to an appropriate text. 




Opened ended opportunities for building positive relationships, trust and engagement in social experiences are priority with greater opportunities for meaningful tasks lessons that have a recognisable ‘end point’ with a finished product to support pupils’ sense of achievement and provide appropriate work-related opportunities (PfA). Motivators/interests continue to promote and extend engagement and learning at this stage and extrinsic rewards used appropriately to develop the understanding of the world of work and mini-enterprise projects.  

Opportunities to consolidate and generalise earning through extended provision – the focus being on social interaction, opportunities for advocacy and independent learning.  

Highly familiar structure, clear verbal instructions supported by highly personalised visual support with key language and sufficient time for learners to repeat, practise, maintain and consolidate skills to develop independence. 


Stretch & challenge  

For learners who follow our Formal pathway their progress equals increased active engagement in meaningful and functional daily routines and activities with adults promoting increased independence in highly familiar tasks.  

Progress may not follow a straight, linear pathway because of their individual needs and strengths. Lateral progress where pupils begin to generalise their learning into new contexts and to develop a more even profile of responses is recognised and valued.  

A balance of teaching and learning is Child-Initiated, with meaningful, transferable opportunities for focused learning (Adult-Led learning). This is where the adult tunes into the child and their engagement in their self-directed learning and guides the pupil at relevant points using a playful approach.   

Some pupils begin to engage in highly structured, adult directed learning in small groups and/or 1:1 sessions for sometimes for extended periods such as Read, Write Inc phonics as appropriate to where they are on the developmental ladder taking into consideration their emotional regulation / demand avoidance.   

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