Non subject specific curriculum P1 – P4

When and where?

8 June 2018 – Redbank House, Manchester

22 June 2018 – NCVO, London

Who should come to this?

This will be appropriate for colleagues from special schools, who are working with those with PMLD/CLDD/Autism, and who wish to develop their curriculum for learners not engaged in subject-specific learning.

Implementing a non subject specific curriculum for pupils with CLDD.

The Rochford Final Report recommends the removal of P scales and the statutory assessment for pupils not engaged in ‘subject-specific learning’ limited to cognition and learning, with the introduction of the seven aspects of engagement.

We explore the importance of play for learners with CLDD, who are becoming more
neurodiverse & therefore present with a greater range of need.

We will explore what a non subject specific curriculum can look like, how it can be assessed as
well as why neuroscience supports and validates learning through play. There will
be an opportunity to look at what playful classroom environments can look like
and how these environments impact on learning.

We investigate how children’s brains develop by taking a neurological journey
into a brain and showcase how different experiences stimulate this development –
all based on the latest neuroscience research.

OFSTED, in March 2017, talking about Fountaindale felt that “Based on their research and knowledge of their pupils’ complex needs, leaders have developed an innovative curriculum which is underpinned by a highly effective assessment system. Despite the physical and learning barriers they face, the curriculum quickly engages pupils’ interests…….(and) outcomes for the majority of pupils at Fountaindale are consistently outstanding in all areas of the curriculum …… Despite their very low starting points and complex needs, many pupils make rapid progress.”

OFSTED reported that Fountaindale’s “Leaders are visionary in the stimulating learning environment they have created, enabling pupils to learn through sensory experience. Regardless of the physical, emotional and learning challenges faced by pupils due to their special educational needs and disabilities, teaching captures their interest and imagination. As a result, learning is highly effective. (Furthermore) The innovative environment and stimulating curriculum catch the imagination and promote a love of learning.”

OFSTED also felt that “The quality of teaching and learning is very strong throughout the school. Lessons are expertly planned to respond to the needs of every learner.”

There will be an opportunity to look at what thematic classroom environments can look like and how these environments impact on learning.

This is a fun packed day with opportunities to engage in practical learning.

Without exception pupils are fully engaged in their learning and say they enjoy lessons. ‘School is fun.” (OFSTED 2017)

Learning Outcomes:

how to design and assess a curriculum for pupils with profound and complex needs who are not engaged in subject-specific learning

insight into leading change and the organisational implications of moving from a subject specific curriculum to a play based curriculum

practical suggestions on how to deliver a non subject specific curriculum in the classroom

how to assess progress through route-maps and a continuum of learning that takes account of levels of engagement

why the environment where the learning is taking place is as important as the triad of essentials, implied in Rochford.

how to create playful sensory environments which can support cognition and learning and further engage learners

a greater understanding of the neuroscience behind play, through playing and exploring the vital role of the adult in play


9.15am Welcome and introductions, make a friend! – Richard Hirstwood

9.30am Fountaindale School’s journey to a non subject specific curriculum – Steve Phillips and Jan Collins.

10.00am Why a play curriculum?  The playful brain & neuroscience –  Jan Collins.


11.20am The Play Curriculum – Steve Phillips

12.30pm LUNCH

1.15pm Playful Environments – Jan Collins & Richard Hirstwood

2.15pm How to assess play – Steve Phillips

3.15pm Questions and Conclusions – Jan Collins, Steve Phillips & Richard Hirstwood

3.30pm Close of day.

Who is presenting?

Jan Collins is the Assistant Principal at Fountaindale School. Jan has overseen the development of a non-subject specific curriculum and a innovative assessment tool for pre-formal learners at school.

Steve Phillips is a SEND training consultant, formerly Deputy Principal of Fountaindale School who oversaw the development of an innovative play curriculum for all learners across all abilities.

Richard Hirstwood has extensive practical knowledge of designing, and working in schools around the world promoting multi sensory learning.  His enthusiasm for maximising the impact of any sensory space is endless!

Times & housekeeping.

We begin from 9am for coffee and registration, for a 9.30am start, finishing around 3.30pm.


£225  plus VAT per place, including refreshments & lunch. All presentations & relevant documents will be available on our website for you share with colleagues.