At St. Bosco Koon Ying School, we provide a modified curriculum based on the English National Curriculum, which is beneficial for our learners. The curriculum looks distinctly different to that followed by mainstream students as our focus is more on acquisition of core skills, and progress is not linear but appears varied. The focus of the curriculum is on developing skills, capabilities and knowledge through a theme. The theme is followed by the school as a whole to aid collaborative planning, resource management, to build opportunities across the school community and for shared celebrations throughout the year.

Our students benefit from contextualised learning opportunities that allow for more abstract and higher-level thinking skills to be developed in a holistic manner. Personalisation is also key for our learners to be successful. This means understanding each learner’s starting points, taking advice from therapeutic practitioners, considering parental views and incorporating the teacher’s assessment of needs.

The curriculum is based on five Areas of Learning (the areas of learning are adapted from the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and English National Curriculum which aids potential transition at a later stage).

1. My Communication

English is generally taught in My Communication lessons, with a focus on learners moving beyond functional communication to become confident in communicating in the wider world. Examples of communication methods include verbal, PECS, signing and electronic devices used for speech (AAC). The wide range of learning, physical, sensory and health needs of the students means that a ‘Total Communication’ environment is needed to meet the diverse communication challenges that our students face.

2. My Thinking and Problem Solving

Maths is taught through a thematic cross-curricular approach and is included in My Thinking and Problem Solving. It is embedded in all sessions in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the students. The rationale for this is that many mathematical concepts can be abstract, and it is important for our students to learn, develop and understand key mathematical concepts with a strong concrete foundation. This approach means that maths is taught in a practical way that students can relate to, understand, generalise and importantly, find engaging. A focus on practical and useful maths gives learners the skills to apply maths to their own lives as they prepare for adulthood.

3. My Independence and Life Skills

My Independence and Life Skills is an important area for our students as, for many, they will not have the same social understanding as their peers in mainstream settings. Understanding the ‘rules of life’ may not naturally develop for them as easily and therefore they have to learn these, which may take time. For some of these skills, depending on the physical ability of the student, we must reduce the level of dependence as far as possible whilst increasing opportunities for choice and decision-making. We involve the learner in the process so that it is something done with the learner rather than to him/her. It may also be that physical difficulties allow us the opportunity to work more on making informed choices. As the range of our students is so varied, we personalise learning to what is important to individuals, and learning may look very different from one student to another.

4. My Wellbeing

Wellbeing and movement is a huge part of the curriculum across the school and is incredibly important to all learners. My Wellbeing looks quite different for each child depending on the opportunities they are accessing. Within lessons, the class teacher may have a more “P.E. based” session or they may decide to have thematic activities that encourage an awareness of the student’s wellbeing. The children have a P.E. lesson at least once a week which helps them to work towards their wellbeing goal, as well as a session run in classrooms around wider aspects of personal wellbeing.

5. Enrichment

Within enrichment subjects, students work towards their four core learning goals or other important life skills. They may be generalising and consolidating existing skills or learning new things about the world around them. Enrichment also provides fun, exciting experiences for our pupils, that they may not always get the chance to be part of outside of school life. We aim to offer an exciting curriculum across all subjects of course, but enrichment provides that little bit of extra creativity.

i) How My World Works
Students learn life skills that enable them to be active in routines and to complete everyday tasks more independently. Activities are personalised to the child depending on things that are most important to them and their potential future independence. Some activities may reappear in this area from a core area and the purpose is to give the skills further context.
ii) My Creativity
Students with SEN benefit greatly from expressing themselves through the arts. Encouraging imaginative thinking and expression builds confidence and develops communication skills. Subjects such as art, music and dance are key to developing conceptual understanding, giving meaning to more abstract concepts, such as people’s emotions and feelings. Play is vital in developing imaginative skills, as well as social interactions and problem solving. Students with SEN are likely to have communication barriers that influence their experiences. It is essential to support play in order to create learning opportunities, as play can develop skills in any or all of the core subject strands.