Curriculum Areas

Curriculum and Assessment

You can see here our plans and topics for different groups.


Ford Park

Abbots Wood and Seawood

Grizedale, Bardsea, Hoad and Piel

Sixth Form

Curriculum and Assessment

All of our students follow their own bespoke pathway of learning, taking into consideration EHCP outcomes, physical needs, emotional acceptance and social engagement. Classes structure the day to provide routine, but also to offer accessible learning for all. We look at personal development with a broad curriculum to make effective use of all learning opportunities. These may be found in class, within the school environment, in the wider community and within other areas of the student’s life.

We aim to inspire and empower students to achieve their personal best, providing meaningful experiences that develop them now and prepare them for life after Sandside Lodge School. This is done through staff who are passionate about what they do, who have specific skills in SEND areas and through training. We work together with external professionals who may guide us to maximise resources and holistic learning. We have specialist rooms that support sensory environments or provide alternative learning equipment.

Bespoke Curriculum

Some of our learners also have specific needs on their EHCP such as physical, emotional or medical needs. We ensure timetables are adapted for students to access other areas of development such as aquatics, Rebound, Thrive or MOVE circuits.

National Curriculum

A new curriculum cycle (September 2022) has been developed that breaks the learning up into half termly topics. Learning outcomes linked to the topics are guided by the National Curriculum, but learning continues to be focused on student needs and outcomes, adapted by the class teacher and Teaching Assistants.

Progress and Assessment

Our learners show progress in many ways, and not just academically. We use SOLAR (a secure online assessment tool tracker specifically designed for special needs children) to reflect the learning achieved of the subjects, no matter how small. Assessment follows the Wilson Stuart Progress Steps that provides cognition level/age appropriate learning that is mapped to a scale, and is also comparable to other special needs schools. Some of our learners will make small steps and that is celebrated, stretching and challenging where possible.

Early Years

For those who are able to access the Early Years curriculum, we offer opportunities that are adapted to each individual. We use continuous play to support learning targets. Students may follow the Engagement Model or the Early Years Developmental Matters for Reception frameworks.

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

Students are learning the essentials to a successful education, including listening skills, developing tolerance to change or others, structures, sharing and positive behaviour. The delivery over time allows students to embed their knowledge and utilise it in different situations. Already at this stage we are involving them in understanding principles for their future including independence, careers and community visits. This is all done through very individual approaches.

Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

These two Key Stages work very closely together. They follow the curriculum cycle and have an additional Group Project each half term. This gives them opportunities to learn new skills or try things they may not normally access through the National Curriculum subjects. They have an outcome that needs students to work together and problem solve – developing skills useful for their future. This goes alongside developing practical careers involvement, community engagement and safety online.

Key Stage 5

Our Sixth Form students have a 3 year rolling cycle of learning which allows them to work through qualifications and pathways to support their Preparation for Adulthood. This may be one of the My Independence ASDAN routes, a Duke of Edinburgh Award, work experience or functional English and numeracy. A lot of their learning focuses on next steps, independence and futures. Visits are made to education providers to support transition from Sandside Lodge School.

Reading and Writing

For those students it is appropriate for, we follow a suitable phonics scheme. This is done through consistent reinforcement in regular short sessions. However, as an SEN school we have a comprehensive literacy approach that incorporates many of the communication needs of our students such as using AAC devices. We work together to identify the most appropriate strategies and support for each student, using specialist teachers, programmers and other professionals to develop each student to their full potential. Rose report 2006 – ‘the introduction of phonic work should always be a matter for principled professional judgement based on structured observations and assessments of children’s capabilities’.
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