Catcote Academy 

Curriculum Overview


‘A curriculum that is different not differentiated’

‘A curriculum that facilitates social inclusion, creates meaningful outcomes for adult life and develops learning autonomy’

‘A curriculum that is built on a bedrock of engagement’

Profiling and Baselines

We see it as our fundamental job, to find the very best interventions and teaching techniques for each learner through researching what is best practice but more importantly through knowing our learners as best we can.  As the students enter the school we allow a full term of baselining and profiling in order to assess each learner against the 4 areas from the SEN code of practice.  Individual student profiles are created which informs their curriculum and also helps us to design personalised pedagogical approaches for each student. What we end up creating is a curriculum for each learner and therefore 153 unique curriculums.

Through an integrated approach with parents, therapists etc. we create long-term outcomes (identified in the learners EHC Plan).  For Yellow Pathway (Pre-formal, informal and semi-formal leaners) we create my next steps/learning intentions under the 5 identified areas of need and for Red pathway students (Formal Learners) we create targets in all core subjects (English, Maths, Science and ICT).


At the heart of the curriculum is the focus on increasing learning autonomy and enabling students to generalise skills.  The pedagogy that sits behind this involves 4 stages:

  • Engage – Provoking student’s curiosity using interesting starting points
  • Develop – Providing creative opportunities for making and doing
  • Innovate – Enable and assess student’s application of previously learnt skills
  • Express – Providing opportunities for reflective talk, shared evaluation, celebrating achievements and identifying next steps for learning 

Curriculum Pathways

When students enter the school, and at each transitional phase we ask the question ‘What do we want the students to be able to do by the age of 19?’ This becomes the ‘ambition’ for each learner.  We organise our learners into 3 broad pathways. Yellow and Blue pathways which include pre-formal and semi-formal learners and Red pathway includes formal learners


Individual Learner Driven Curriculum

Rationale and Practice


This cohort includes pre-formal learners and semi-formal learners. These learners have very unique ways of learning. 


Learners are based in pastoral teaching groups with students who have similar needs, interests and respond to similar teaching styles and methods.

 The curriculum is organised in 6 broad categories; my thinking, my communication, my health, my community, my creativity and my living skills and taught through a broadly thematic in approach.  

 Student learning intentions are carefully planned to reflect student’s development, aspirations and personal priority goals related to their additional needs, for example, therapy programmes. These are linked to the students EHCP outcomes. 

Staff use a wide range of teaching approaches which are relevant and productive including aspects of TEACCH, SCERTS, THRIVE, PECS, and sensory approaches. 

Preparation for Adulthood: From the end of year 10 students in yellow pathway may join the Learning for Living group where the focus is on preparation for adulthood. 

Our outcomes for our older students 

  • Students who are active participants in a happy and fulfilling life
  • Students who are emotionally and physically healthy 
  • Students who are able to recognize success and how feels to be rewarded for their hard work and valued by others.  
  • Students who can engage with others and who feel prepared and excited about their future

The programme for our older students includes 

  • Life skills – getting out and about, getting on with other people, all about me, preparing drinks and snacks, using community facilities, taking part in healthy activities. etc
  • Pre vocational skills – business and enterprise activities, special days, charity events, group work and community engagement
  • Work skills – work related learning – including learning about the world of work, sheltered real work situations, personal presentation, community activities, enterprise events
  • Employability skills – communicating with others, my thinking skills, my creativity
  • Accompanied employment opportunities where possible


Individual Learner Driven Curriculum

Rationale and Practice


This cohort of learners are able to engage in subject specific learning and are more formal in the approach to their teaching 


This curriculum is a broad and balanced, knowledge and skills based curriculum.  

At KS3 students develop core skills of numeracy and literacy, the curriculum includes lessons in English, Maths, Science, ICT, PSHE, Food technology, RE, PE and topic. Students also have opportunities for outdoor learning and Forest school, engaging the students in learning through a thematic approach. 

The curriculum endeavors to support the students to become more confident and resilient young people, ready for KS4.

At Key stage 4 students continue to develop their core skills in numeracy, literacy, science and ICT and work towards gaining accreditation at a suitable level. Students also continue to study PSHE and British values, PE and RE. Students also have the opportunity to opt to study 2 vocational subjects for example creative arts, performing arts, catering, reprographics, enterprise, hair and beauty, child care, enterprise. In Key stage 4 there is more emphasis on life skills and vocational skills. 

At the end of KS 4 the students’ progress to the next stage in their education, for the majority this is to Catcote Academy 6th form, for some it may be a transition to another Further education or training provider. The students will have advice and guidance from our Careers advisor. 

At KS5 the aim of the curriculum is to prepare students for adult life. There continues to be emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills where the focus is on functional development. The students follow a life skills programme to prepare them for living independently and the students spend 2 days studying vocational options. These options may include performing arts, child care, retail, catering, enterprise, work skills, horticulture, reprographics. There is also opportunity for work experience and work placements, these may begin as internal placements for example in our Vestry café, Catcote Metro and Catcote academy coffee shop and progress to external placements for example local nurseries, hair salons, Summer hill community park etc. 

Some students may transition to the Steps programme when they are ready to sustain a work placement that can lead to an internship and potential employment, this maybe after Y14 or during KS5, these students are based at Catcote Metro.

For further details about our curriculum please contact Mrs Greig (Deputy CEO).  Contact details: 01429 264036 or alternatively email lisa.greig@catcoteacademy.co.uk