Sensory Pathway (pre-formal curriculum)
Curriculum for Pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
Pupils will receive personalised learning opportunities with the curriculum intention to develop an understanding of their own sensory needs and empower them to make personal choices. Special focus will be given to communication, independence, attention, regulation and self-awareness. Teaching will be informed by individual engagement in the areas of realisation, exploration, anticipation, persistence and initiation. Progression and consolidation will reflect the individual’s learning journey. There is a focus on therapeutic activities such as hydrotherapy, rebound therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, intensive interaction, sensory integration and physical development programmes. Pupils will use a small range of formal communication. Pupils are working consistently and over time within P1-P4 (Engagement step 1-5).
Definition of PMLD
“Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and for their personal care. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps. Their attainments are likely to remain in the early P scale range (P1-P4) throughout their school career.” (DfE definition of PMLD.)
PMLD at Bluebell Park
The development of the PMLD curriculum at Bluebell Park has been driven by the specific needs and abilities of pupils working within Engagement Steps (P Levels 1-4). These pupils, who are working at the lowest levels in all areas of their development, need specific teaching and learning experiences in order to reach their potential and maximise their school learning experience. In particular following recommendation from the Rochford report we have building and look for the following:
Sensory Learners – 5 areas of cognition (2020): (P1-P4)
- Realisation– (Responsiveness/Curiosity) – Changes in a pupil’s behaviour that demonstrate s/he is being attentive to a new stimulus. This sort of assessment is important for establishing what differing stimuli motivate a pupil to attend and is particularly relevant for assessing pupils with multiple sensory impairments who have reduced and/or atypical sensory acuities and perception . How a pupil is building on an initial, fleeting reaction to a new stimulus, perhaps by reaching out or scanning for the source of a new stimulus
- Exploration– Discovery/Investigation – Changes in the way a pupil is interacting or responding to a new stimulus, sometimes accompanied by expressions such as enjoyment and excitement. The extent to which a pupil is actively trying to find out more about an object or activity via prolonged, independent experiment
- Anticipation – How a pupil is able to predict, expect or associate a particular stimulus with an event which is important for measuring a pupil’s understanding of cause and effect
- Persistence – The extent to which a pupil is sustaining attention towards a particular item or action and thus beginning to develop conceptual understanding
- Initiation– The different ways and extent to which a pupil is instigating an event in order to bring about a desired outcome
Many pupils working at this level work have many opportunities to alongside similar ability peers in the Lower, Upper or Post 16 department. To prepare our ‘Leaver’ students for their transition from Bluebell Park School into college we have established strong links with local colleges, which specifically caters for those students with profound and multiple learning difficulties. ‘Leavers’ are able attend this college by appointment at any time.
Structured Pathway (semi-formal curriculum)
Curriculum for Pupils for Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) / SLD / CLD
Learning is pupil centred and encourages the pupils to engage in their learning journey. Pupils are encouraged and supported to become aware of their achievements, emotions and routines. Positive learning behaviour (readiness to learn) is key to the pupil’s success. Pupils are developing a curiosity to engage in a range of new experiences. The semi-formal pathway offers a holistic approach to developing and promoting personal and functional independence, opportunities are given to generalise these life skills in a variety of contexts. Repetition, consolidation and spiralled learning is key to individual progress and unique to each learner.
Pupils are working consistently and over time within P4 (Engagement Step 6 to Step 3) to the early reaches of the national curriculum.
Definition of ASC
“Autism is a difference in the way a person thinks, perceives and therefore understands the world and others. This results in difficulties or differences in communication, social interaction, thinking and in sensitivity of the senses. However, the way autism impacts on each individual is unique. No two people are exactly the same. ‘Autism Spectrum Condition’ is used to describe the range of the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome.” (NAS)
ASC at Bluebell Park School
The difficulties and challenges faced by pupils with ASC means that they require a separate, specialised curriculum. These pupils, who are learning at a lower than age-expected rate in all areas of their development, need specific teaching and learning experiences in order to reach their potential and maximise their school learning experience. Most pupils working at this level work alongside their peers of a similar ability in either the lower, Upper or Post 16. Some pupils may remain at these levels or make small steps of progress; therefore, the curriculum across the phases has been designed with this in mind.
Some of our more complex learners may be measured on the 5 areas of engagement (Barry Carpenter). This is done either within engagement steps or sometimes within EFL itself.
Traditional Pathway (formal curriculum)
Curriculum for Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) / ASC
Learning is child centred and teaches the pupils to take ownership of their own learning. Pupils are guided to reflect on their learning in ordered to become self-aware. Pupils are beginning to use taught strategies to self-regulate and attitudes towards learning are positive. Pupils are generally ready to learn with some having the curiosity to acquire new knowledge. The formal pathway offers more structure and develops and promotes independence in preparation for next steps of learning.
The curriculum is beginning to offer knowledge-based learning with subjects being used as a vehicle for learners to apply and generalise skill. The progression is based on the individual pupil’s prior knowledge and understanding. Life skills and independence skills will also form a large part of the curriculum the topics are planned to be practical, building on previous learning experiences to allow for consolidation and scaffolded to promote progressions of skills and independence.
Pupils are working consistently and over time significantly below age related expectations.
Definition of SLD
‘Pupils with severe learning difficulties (SLD) have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. This has a major effect on their ability to participate in the school curriculum without support. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and the acquisition of self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum. They may also require teaching of self-help, independence and social skills. Some pupils may use sign and symbols but most will be able to hold simple conversations. Their attainments may be within the upper P scale range (P4-P8) for much of their school careers.’ (DfE definition of SLD.)
SLD at Bluebell Park School
The difficulties and challenges faced by pupils with SLD means that they require an adapted, specialised curriculum. These pupils, who are learning at a lower than age-expected rate in all areas of their development, need specific teaching and learning experiences in order to reach their potential and maximise their school learning experience. Most pupils working at this level work alongside their peers of a similar ability in either the lower, Upper or Post 16. Some pupils may remain at these levels or make small steps of progress; therefore, the curriculum across the phases has been designed with this in mind.