GSO Test

Our Curriculum

We believe all these things need to be in place for a student to learn and grow.


The Curriculum - Intent

We will provide students with:

  • A fun, stimulating and engaging learning environment
  • A holistic pupil-centered approach that promotes well being and life skills
  • Differentiated individual learning
  • A wide variety of opportunities and experiences, both onsite and within the community
  • Opportunities to develop creativity and curiosity
  • A collaborative partnership with families, therapists and wider settings
  • A safe, secure environment

So that our students can learn to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Become confident, aspirational and resilient learners
  • Be as independent as possible and apply meaningful learned skills
  • Make choices and have their voices heard
  • Keep themselves safe and healthy
  • Be a valued and active member of their community
  • Be independent thinkers and good problem solvers
  • Try a range of leisure activities and develop personal interests and preferences.


The Curriculum - Implementation

Here at Portesbery our bespoke curriculum is divided into four key areas; Communication, Language and Literacy, Maths and Understanding the World, Personal, Social and Emotional Development & Life Skills as well as Physical and Sensory Development & Expressive Arts and Design.

Each subject taught sits under one of these umbrellas. Science, History and Geography are experienced through our Topics. Modern Foreign Languages are not taught as we offer Makaton and British Sign Language as forms of supported language and our focus always is on communication. We use a Balanced Literacy Approach throughout the school and the Twinkl Phonics scheme is used in our EYFS, Primary and Secondary Departments.

Play is a hugely important part of our school and is embedded throughout the entire curriculum giving students enriching social opportunities and life skills.

The education of pupils is then planned in three distinct phases. These are:

  • Phase 1 – Primary (including Early Years)
  • Phase 2 - Secondary
  • Phase 3 - Extended Learning

The Post 16 Department has a separate curriculum which is detailed below.

Each curriculum subject has its own progression map which supports students at the three phases.  Student’s progress can be tracked throughout the school journey working through each subject at Experiential, Developing Skills and Advanced stages.


Early Years



The Early Years curriculum is a three-year rolling cycle of topics detailed below which covers seven areas of learning and development within the Early Years Framework. These areas fit into our whole school curriculum.

If you would like to know more about Early Years please contact our Early Years Lead via email ( or visit the Early Years section of our website.


The Primary Curriculum



The Primary curriculum is a three-year rolling cycle of topics detailed below. A topic-based curriculum allows the whole department to be working towards a shared objective and greater opportunities to come together for curriculum days. Within the Primary Department RE is taught through assemblies and curriculum days.

If you would like to know more about the Primary Curriculum please email 


The Secondary Curriculum



The Secondary Curriculum is a five-year rolling cycle of topics which are taught through our curriculum areas. This topic-based curriculum allows the whole department to be working towards a shared objective and greater opportunities to come together for curriculum days. The Secondary Department places a great emphasis on preparing for adulthood and like skills.

If you would like to know more about the Secondary Curriculum please email 


The Post 16 Curriculum



Our Post 16 department offers 2 main pathways:

  • Experiential Pathway
  • Developing & Advancing Skills Pathway

These pathways are flexible and learners may progress along one pathway or move between the two. This enables us to offer a highly personalised program that takes into account learners’ individual needs, level of study, skills, interests, aspirations and long-term outcomes.

Our intent is to deliver a curriculum that is relevant, engaging and ambitious, providing stretch and challenge for all learners, enabling the best possible progression towards outcomes and preparing them for adulthood.

At its core are the four areas of preparing for adulthood:


We offer the ASDAN Personal Progress qualification, which enables all learners to have their achievements recognised within a nationally recognised qualification framework.

The qualification achieved is dependent on the number of credits attained. We aim to support learners to achieve a Certificate by the end of their time with us, although this is flexible to meet individual needs. Some learners may achieve an Award, an Extended Certificate or Diploma. Some learners may also progress on to ASDAN Entry Level qualifications in Personal and Social Development. 

The qualification offers over 50 different units; Learners from each pathway generally work towards 6 core units (as below). They are then supported to make choices about other units which are relevant to their individual interests, aspirations and long- term outcomes.


All learners have the opportunity to participate in work related learning in a way that is appropriate for them. This may include classroom and school-based jobs, enterprise sessions or offsite work experience. We currently have learners undertaking weekly work experience in a shop, café, hotel, pre-school group and mother and baby group.

We offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. There are four sections; Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. For each individual section successfully completed, learners will achieve a certificate and if they complete all four, they will receive their award.

We run an annual residential trip to High Ashurst Outdoor Centre, in the Surrey Hills. This fulfils the criteria of the expedition section and provides a great opportunity for students to try new activities and spend time away from home, with their peers, in a safe, supportive and fun environment.

If you would like to know more about the Post 16 Curriculum please email our Post 16 Lead


The Curriculum - Impact