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 progress in these areas are 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 which comprises of:

Our pupils are assessed continuously using MAPP’s Continuing Skills Continuum for our their Individual Education Plan targets (IEP) which enables 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  our own ' developmental bands' ( see below)  of learning which have been developed following extensive research. Our  Curriculum and Assessment Schedule is differentiated into 5 bands which we call the Montacute Bands. (These are based on the work of the Redway School Communication Bands, Latham and Miles) For more information click here

These bands reflect a functional and developmental cognitive and communicative framework that links to the p scales (DfEE 1998+) / milestones (therefore provides nationally recognised indicators of progress). 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.

Using this developmental approach to the curriculum, we put communication and interaction at the heart of our curriculum which is also proven to be effective for developing cognitive skills.

 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 of the three ‘Phase Departments’ have devised a 3-6 year topic cycle as a vehicle for delivering a broad and balanced curriculum to all students.  Each department has their own topic cycle covering a wide range of themes. Students may stay within a department for up to 6 years, therefore they may repeat a topic during their time in Lower, Middle and UpperSchool. By repeating a topic, our students have the opportunity to use their prior knowledge and learning, in order to access similar information and activities with new awareness, understanding and skills. The curriculum model and the topic themes seek to explore, engage and develop understanding and skills in the areas of ‘self  and ‘the wider world’.Organisation of the departments and classes:

 In September 2014,  we moved towards three departments or Phases:

LowerSchool      N- Year 1/2

Middle School      Years 1/2 – 9

Upper School    Years 9-13

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 within a Department dependent upon their learning style:

A multi sensory approach required by pupils with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) 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.

An active and interactive personalised learning style required by pupils with ASD and/or challenging behaviours. These students are generally working within Bands 1-3.

Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) benefit from a semi-formal and collaborative curriculum which promotes life-skills and is highly stimulating. Able and Gifted pupils may be grouped in a separate group where possible. These pupils are generally working in Bands 3-5.

However, we recognise that some of our students have no dominant learning style but may require an approach which uses elements of all the above learning pathways. Sometimes where student numbers allow, these students may be grouped together within a Department Phase.

 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 our Information sessions, Policy, and by contacting Paula Kirk at school.