Non subject specific curriculum P4 – P8

Implementing a non subject specific curriculum for pupils with severe and complex needs, functioning at P4 – P8.

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.

With the team from Fountaindale school we explore non subject specific learning for those pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties, who are becoming more neurodiverse and therefore present with a greater range of need. We will explore what a non subject specific curriculum can look like and how it can be assessed.

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
  • how to profile your current cohort of pupils learning needs and use this information to inform the design of your curriculum
  • insight into leading change and the organisational implications of moving from a subject specific to a non subject specific curriculum
  • practical suggestions on how to deliver a non subject specific curriculum in the classroom
  • how to assess progress through and alternative model of assessment 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 rich sensory environments which will support cognition and learning and further engage learners


9.30am Introduction to the day – make a friend! – Richard Hirstwood

9.45am Understanding the government response to the Rochford Review – Kelly Fedun

10.15am Designing and implementing a non subject specific curriculum  – Kelly Fedun & Stuart Garner

10.45am COFFEE/TEA

11am Designing and implementing  a non subject specific curriculum continued… – Kelly Fedun & Stuart Garner

11.30am Triad of essentials and the role of environments in learning  – Kelly Fedun& Richard Hirstwood

12.30pm LUNCH

1.30pm Assessment and personalisation of learning – Kelly Fedun

2pm Assessing learning – an approach by Fountaindale School – Kelly Fedun & Stuart Garner

3.15pm Questions and Conclusions – Richard Hirstwood, Stuart Garner & Kelly Fedun

Who is presenting?

Two of the presenters are from Fountaindale School’s team of teachers. OFSTED in March 2017 when describing the leaders within the school said, “Their vision and actions are inspirational …. Leaders are passionate in driving through improvements so that every pupil experiences only the highest quality of learning.” But, as the school will say, it is about being a team and recognising that all staff are part of that drive for improvement in outcomes. “Teachers and teaching assistants work seamlessly to ensure that each pupil …… enjoys learning…… The quality of teaching and learning is very strong throughout the school.”

Kelly Fedun is the Acting Deputy Principal at Fountaindale School. Kelly has overseen the development of a non-subject specific curriculum and a innovative assessment tool for semi-formal learners at school.

Stuart Garner is an outstanding teacher and curriculum leader working with a class of semi-formal learners. Stuart was recognised as the ‘teacher of the year’ in the Mansfield & Ashfield area in 2016.

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!

When & where? 

23 March 2018 – NCVO, London – Venue details

Who should attend? 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.

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

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