Curriculum & Term Dates

Term dates: 

Our school curriculum

Our curriculum is underpinned by our dynamic and highly versatile set of teachers, learning support workers and therapeutic professionals. Together, they command a comprehensive understanding of working with children and young people with special educational needs. 

Our curriculum is supported by outstanding teaching and our teachers’ skills, knowledge and positive personal attributes. These, coupled with the ability to inspire, significantly enhance opportunities for our children and young people to develop and thrive, regardless of their starting points, backgrounds and disabilities.

The curriculum reflects and sets out the knowledge and skills that our children and young people will gain throughout their education at St. John’s School. We value the individuality of each child and young person and recognise that how and what they are taught should reflect their individual development and aspirations. From time to time, this may mean diverting from a linear conventional structure to a more fluid approach, building upon their knowledge, age and stage. Our curriculum is premised by an understanding that we are developing and enhancing the knowledge and skills that the children and young people will need to have the best possible outcomes and be able to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in later life.

We start with the end in sight by asking the question, ‘how will what we are teaching today make a difference to them when they are 25?’

The curriculum is designed around: A. a full primary model for years 4- 9, where the vast majority of teaching is delivered by the class teacher with specialists for a small proportion of the week ; and B. a 50% primary model with 50% of the subjects taught by the class tutor, directed by subject specialists,  and the other 50% in the afternoon by option specialists.

The exciting aspect of the curriculum is that therapy is imbedded throughout all subjects and every opportunity is used to build upon this success. We also pay close attention to the ‘waking day curriculum‘

Our curriculum sets out to teach the basic curriculum (Education Act 2002), promoting spiritual, moral, social, cultural learning and the physical development of the CYPs and thus prepare them for their journey beyond us. By providing high expectations we endeavour to prepare our CYPs for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in their later lives.

Reading, writing and number remain important throughout the curriculum and building blocks for future learning as the CYPs move through our school or return back to mainstream provision.

Our curriculum recognises that the CYPs may have, due to past experiences, missed learning or owing to the impact of their Special Need be unable fully to access the curriculum offer ;  as such we go all out to instil a love of learning and developing their skills  as we understand that learning is a lifelong experience and not just for the relatively short time they attend St. John’s.

The multidisciplinary approach is key to the success of the school and individual young people.

Therapeutic approaches are embedded in the delivery of the curriculum. The on-site therapy team work closely with session leaders to ensure effective multidisciplinary working. The Therapy Enterprise projects, recognised by Ofsted as ‘excellent’, serve as a highly effective vehicle for the delivery of diagnosed therapy needs. These projects have won a number of national awards from the Young Enterprise accreditation scheme. Young people are able to undertake internal and external work placements and access a range of community activities. The internal work experience placements include working on reception, in the café, carrying out administration duties, such as auditing and ordering resources and working with the grounds team. External work experience opportunities include visits to local dementia homes, running a stand at local markets and working with animals at an external farm school. 

The School curriculum is based around:

  • English and mathematics taught discretely but integrated into all lessons
  • A broad and balanced curriculum coverage of the other National Curriculum subjects
  • A strong focus on P.S.H.E.
  • ICT integrated and functional rather than taught discretely
  • A topic-based approach using the John Muir Award
  • A strong focus on outdoor learning and P.E.
  • An option subject where young people can choose a subject to study.

Core subjects such as English and maths follow national curriculum progression stages. Our thematic approach and PSHE lessons follow a two or three-year spiral approach, where the topic is revisited but at a higher academic level.

We recognise that some children & young people make small steps of progress and thus use Connecting Steps to track this progress.

Key outcomes

Underlying all subjects are our five placement outcomes:






Get Involved

If you are interested in a placement at St. John’s, please contact our Admissions Team.