The Curriculum

Our curriculum offer takes account of the differing abilities and experiences of our pupils and will provide an education appropriate to individual needs. It will give pupils the opportunity to develop and learn within a supportive atmosphere and foster positive attitudes to learning that lead to success and achievement.

The curriculum at Montacute is skill and context based and encourages active engagement in learning.  The curriculum Framework focuses on developing the fundamental core strands of

  • Communication, Interaction and Literacy 
  • Cognition, Learning and Numeracy
  • Physical and/or sensory
  • Spiritual, Social, emotional, personal and health education

all transferable skills that equip children and young people for life beyond the school.  These link directly to the main long term areas of the new Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), and incorporate full consideration of each strand of the preparing adulthood agenda. Progress in each curriculum area is reviewed and reported on as part of the Annual Review process. We set small steps as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and also set learning intentions as part of the termly topics which are specific to each individual child. These form part of their overall Learning Plan.( click here to see more about target setting ) 

The Montacute curriculum will:

  •  provide stimulating activities and tasks

• set challenging, achievable targets for individual students

• develop effective communication skills

• develop IT skills in order to engage students in the advancing world of technology e.g. iPad use

• encourage the tolerance of opinions and beliefs and reflect the multicultural nature of society whilst supporting our pupils to understand their rights as children under the UNCRC

• develop self-confidence and skills towards independent living

• encourage a caring, respectful attitude towards each other within the community

• ensure continuity and progression

• help pupils develop lively enquiring minds

• enable access for all students

• use extra-curricular activities to enhance the education offered to students

• engage professionals within the community, including sports coaches, artists, musicians etc

  • provide opportunities for pupils to be included in activities, events and lessons with their mainstream peers

 Individual learning Plans

Every pupil has an Individual Learning Plan reviewed at three points during the school year.

Our pupils are assessed continuously using MAPP’s Continuing Skills Continuum for their Individual Education Plan targets (IEP) which enable us to monitor and ensure our pupils make progress towards achieving their end of key stage outcomes in their Education health Care Plans.

Each pupil also has up to 8 learning intentions that link to their topic work, literacy and numeracy and/or accreditation. These learning intention are taken from Montacute bands for learning. These bands reflect a functional and developmental cognitive and communicative framework which can be linked to the p scales (DfEE 1998+) / milestones. We have further linked these to the work of other DFE approved school projects including curriculum and assessment work by Swiss Cottage School, Glyn Gap School and the Frank Wise School. We are further developing our practices in the light of the Rochford Review in order to ensure that we are following best practice in assessing the learning needs of our pupils. 

Using this developmental approach to the curriculum, we put communication and interaction at the heart of everything which is also proven to be effective for developing cognitive skills. Our long term schemes of work enable individual learning needs to be addressed in a context that is motivating, enriching and broad. 

 Specialist teaching approaches are successfully adapted to provide a structured framework for teaching and learning which benefits all the children.  ICT is widely used to support learning, and augmented systems of communication (AAC). 

AAC systems are used extensively and these include Signalong, cueing, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and symbols.  The school’s Senior Speech and Language Therapist is closely involved in training staff and the support of augmented communication and Environmental Control technology.

For more information on how we support communication through the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and how this relates to our Bands, please click here.

 We believe that maintenance of skills, knowledge, processes is an important part of learning at Montacute. Across the school repetition of daily and weekly routines is vital in order to improve awareness, understanding and independence.

At Montacute School each phase of the school has a 3-6 year long term programme of study as a vehicle for delivering a broad and balanced curriculum to all students. Occasionally, because students are primarily grouped according to need they may repeat a topic. If this happens they will have reached a different place in their individual learning which means they will access the topic with new awareness, understanding and skills. The curriculum model and the long term programmes of study seek to explore, engage and develop understanding and skills in the areas of ‘self  and ‘the wider world’.

We have three core curricula or Learning Pathways which meet the range of learning needs of all our children and young people. Our pupils are placed in different classes dependent upon their learning style. These classes are broadly age related.

Students who benefit from a multi sensory approach are provided with an informal curriculum which is specifically designed to meet their needs in connecting and responding. These pupils are generally working within Bands 1 and 2.

A structured and active learning style, usually involving short, fast paced sessions, if offered for those students who will benefit from this approach. These students are generally working within Bands 1-3.

For other students, a semi-formal and collaborative curriculum can be highly motivating. These pupils are generally working in Bands 3-6. 

Where one of our students has a particular talent or ability we may look wider than our own school in order to support their needs. 

All learning styles are usually present for all students but arranging classes where one approach is the dominant one has been shown in our school to greatly support the progress of many. However, we have some students who thrive best with a complete mixture of these approaches and so sometimes we will group some classes on this basis. 

Our overriding principles of organising learning, are that we are led by the needs of our students, and we will use a variety of factors (including friendships) when placing them in class groups. 

 In Upper School Pupils will have access to an appropriately challenging range of accredited courses according to their ability and interests. Click here to see our Assessment Framework.


More information is available about our Curriculum through the Deputy Head Teacher at School.