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At Springside, we believe that our curriculum should adapt to our learners, rather than our learners adapt to the curriculum.

Our Learners deserve to be as independent as they can be in their lives, have a way of communicating that others can interpret, recognise their emotions - knowing how to cope with these, have a wide range of interests and experiences and be able to use their bodies to the best of their ability.

As our Learners progress and build on their prior learning they progress through our curriculum from experiencing and exploring more ‘concrete’ and in the moment learning to investigating concepts and building on the knowledge they have gained. Learning is planned to meet the needs of our Learners that are identified in their EHC plans and broken into small steps in our Personal Learning Plans (PLPs).

As Learners progress they move between the phases to reflect their needs and stage of development.

We have 3 phases where our Learners are grouped according to their needs. Within these phases’ Learners are placed into classes with other Learners who learn in a similar way and are at a similar stage of development. Considering these needs, we then place staff, considering their experience, skill sets, interests to best support the Learners. As they increase in independence staff ratios need to reduce to help support the reduction in reliance on staff support. To further enable us to ensure the curriculum and lessons are tailored to the learners’ needs, we have 6 curriculum pathways for classes with subtle differences in content, approach and the way lessons are delivered.

Experiential Learners - Learners are experiencing the world around them. Skills are delivered in a sensory and physical way. Lessons are multi-sensory, progress is in small steps and often focussed around increasing experiences and using skills they have learnt in different situations. As learning is often focussed on working towards outcomes for an extended period of time, the themes and learning for life elements ensure their curriculum has variety and is enriched.

Further information on this phase and their curriculum offer can be found by clicking here.

Exploratory Learners - Learners are exploring the world around them. Skills, concepts and essential knowledge is delivered in a highly structured, sensory and physical way. Lessons are tailored to the Learners’ interest to increase engagement with themes and learning for life elements threaded through to ensure their curriculum has variety and is enriched. Areas of learning such as Mathematics, English and PSHE are delivered through each lesson as the Learners’ stage of development requires these to be taught in a concrete way in the moment.

Further information on this phase and their curriculum offer can be found by clicking here.

Investigative Learners - Learners are investigating the world around them. Skills, concepts and essential knowledge is delivered in a more formal learning environment and manner. Themes often provide the focus for learning with lessons being built around these. Learners in this phase are at a stage of development where they are able to learn mathematical concepts and apply this, in English lessons we learn to use this for different purposes and in PSHE we explore elements such as beliefs, differences/ similarities etc.

 Further information on this phase and their curriculum offer can be found by clicking here.

Learners at Springside School have a diverse range of learning difficulties and associated special educational needs. The curriculum aims to support the holistic development of all learners in a manner, which is appropriate to their individual needs and abilities and provide a sensitive response to the challenges they face. At its core it is designed to ensure all learners are happy, healthy and safe whilst ensuring they reach their full potential having access to a broad and balanced curriculum promoting independence throughout.

Springside School is a non-denominational school that aims to celebrate festivals and religious events from many cultures. Whole school and phase worship, beliefs and celebrations (e.g. Birthdays, Achievements, Eid, Christmas) reflect this. Learners are taught to embrace all celebrations, cultures as well as respect each other, their beliefs and differences; these are detailed on our curriculum theme mapping.

Our curriculum is set in the context of Equals multi-tiered curriculum approach, recognising that differentiation from England’s (or indeed any) National Curriculum, including the EYFS framework, is not sufficient to meet the needs of learners with profound, complex, severe or global learning difficulties. For these learners, who are all working consistently and over time below or very near the start of their national curriculum, curricula need to be different rather than differentiated, because the way such learners learn is different, and often very, very different from neuro-typical, conventional developing learners for whom the national curriculum was designed.

Teaching reading

Fostering a love of reading and mark making is a key aim throughout our work at Springside. Children learning to enjoy reading experiences at whatever level they are working at and developing skills for life is a fundamental part of our ethos and provision. For some children this will be to experience objects related to texts, stories and poems, others will develop the skills needed to be learners who read confidently and independently. 

My English and Phonics is taught as a discrete, timetabled lesson in the Investigative phase. However, learners who are assessed as understanding phonemes have access to phonics sessions throughout all phases. In addition, all children have the opportunity to experience stories and books throughout the day with classes taking part in ‘DEER’ (drop everything except reading) when everyone in class can explore books and stories for pleasure.  

We follow rocket phonics scheme of work for both phonics and reading materials. We also use a plethora of additional reading materials linked to the phonetic awareness within the rocket phonics scheme. We use the tool 'boost online' formerly rocket phonics to support interactive phonetic engagement and learning. 


Integral to our school, curriculum and development of our learners is Inclusion. We are devoted to providing all our learners with the communication and social skills required to successfully promote their inclusion in society.

We have wonderful links with our co-located Primary School – Hamer Community Primary School, as well as Moorhouse Academy where some of our Investigate learners are based in a hub. This link provides us with the flexibility, support and opportunity to further personalise our offer to all learners.

We also have strong and supportive links with our local Secondary Special School Redwood, this is particularly important during the transition stage for our learners, further information on our inclusion partners can be found using the links below: