Our Curriculum

Beckfoot Trust's vision for all of their schools is of 'A Curriculum for a 21st Generation' so that all of Beckfoot Trust learners are inspired to be: Confident Communicators; Knowledgeable and Expert Learners; Committed Community Contributors; Future Ready Young People. 

Following years of differentiation of the National Curriculum, adaptations and 'making do', we, at Beckfoot Phoenix are proud to have developed our own curriculum for our very special 21st Generation learners. 

A recent external review of our curriculum (May 2019) reported that our curriculum is 'innovative' and 'ambitious because it seeks to focus on the priority needs of the pupils and to maximise their independence and participation in wider life'. 

Our curriculum is developmental, meaningful and functional.   It is research based and includes the essential building blocks for learning that our children may have missed, such as  executive functioning skills ie. working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, finger and hand dexterity and strength, and social and emotional development.   

Our curriculum runs throughout school from nursery to key stage 2 and incorporates all aspects of the Early Years curriculum as well as aspects of the National Curriculum that are appropriate to our children's lives.  It is planned by developmental stage rather than age, with children being grouped into Bases and classes accordingly.

How do we plan for learning?

1. The starting point for teaching and learning in our school is each individual child, ie. their identified needs through their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and assessments. 
2. The skills and knowledge that link to each child's EHCP/assessments are identified within six core areas:
    • conceptual development and communication 
    • physical development and orientation
    • ownership of learning
    • understanding of time and place
    • creative and critical thinking 
    • social and emotional
At the annual EHCP meeting, parents and teachers agree together an annual target for each skills and knowledge statement relating to each EHCP target.
How do we personalise learning? 
3. The above 6 core areas are individualised within 5 stages of development.
Base Class  *Average Curriculum Stage
Communication Level
Approx Academic Level 
Orange, Red, Yellow
Pre-Intentional P1(i) - P2(i)
Orange, Red, Yellow, Blue
P2(ii) - P3(ii)
Orange, Purple, Blue  3 Early Symbolic P4 - P5
Purple, Blue, Green  4 Semi-Formal  P6 - P8
Green  5 Formal  P8 - NC end of Yr2
* Average Curriculum Stage
Although children are grouped into classes and bases according to their 'average' curriculum stage, the curriculum has been developed to be flexible so that the ups and downs of each child's individual learning profile can be recognised, eg. a child may be working at a stage 4 for some aspects, eg. the pattern of number, but has difficulty applying this to situations, so may be at a stage 3 for this part, or a child may be really good at reading and is working at a stage 5 in 'conceptual development and communication', but finds social situations difficult and so still needs teaching at a stage 3 'social and emotional' level for this aspect.  
By the very nature of our children, children in our school rarely work consistently beyond a Year 2 'mainstream' equivalent for all 6 areas - if this was the case, it would be likely that a mainstream educational offer would better meet their needs.  There are however, some children in our school who may extend their learning in some aspects beyond stage 5 of our curriculum.  In these cases, stage 6 of the curriculum would be introduced for these aspects. 
How do we know what lessons to teach? 
4. The identified knowledge and skills for each stage are taught through carefully planned developmental Schemes of Learning within the school's STAR curriculum - see below.  These are supported by our 'Teaching and Learning Expectations' for each stage.  Within all lessons, the skills of communication, reading, writing and maths play an important role.  
SCHEME OF LEARNING  for Stage:                               1              2             3            4            5         
Listening and Responding Yes Yes Yes  Yes Yes  
Memory and Recall  Yes Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  
Same but Different Yes Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  
What Comes Next Yes Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  
Hand Eye Co-ordination/Fine Motor Yes Yes Yes  Yes  
Self Motivation/Independent Learning      Yes  Yes  Yes 
Gross Motor/Balance/Co-ordination Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Explore, Investigate and Experiment   Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Sounds, Letters, Words and Sentences   Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Initiating, Asking, Commenting and Describing  Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Relationships, Play and Social Skills   Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Making Sense of Numbers      Yes Yes  Yes 
Creative Thinking and Imagination      Yes  Yes  Yes 
Self Care and Physical Well-Being     Yes  Yes  Yes 
Contributes Positively to the Community       Yes Yes  Yes 
Working Things Out and Logical Thinking      Yes  Yes  Yes 
Thoughts and Opinions, Values and Beliefs     Yes Yes  Yes 
Emotional Understanding and Mental Well-Being       Yes  Yes 
How do we motivate children to want to learn?
5. The schemes of learning are taught within a Base learning journey.  It is important to us that children are motivated by their learning, and so learning journeys are chosen with the children in mind - what they are interested by, what they relate to, what they want to learn about and what has meaning for them.  All learning journeys relate to books that the children enjoy, and for stages 4 and 5, they also include texts that are beyond the children's reading abilities. 
How do we ensure that children are being taught a broad and balanced curriculum? 
6.  Within the context of the chosen learning journey, the expected coverage and knowledge to be taught is outlined for each base and stage - see below. 
We also reinforce the skills and knowledge taught in the curriculum with activities  so that children learn to generalise and apply what they have learnt to different situations - please see 'news' section of website.
These include
  • Caring Me Week, eg. visiting Care Homes, raising money for charities, looking after animals, bathing babies, helping other classes
  • Safe Me Week - internet safety, personal safety, emergency services, personal hygiene, 
  • Active Me Week. - KS2 residential, sports day, sports coach, adventurous activity, dance, yoga
  • Junior Award Scheme for School - KS2
  • Assemblies and Celebrations, eg. Christmas, Eid, Chinese New Year
  • Initiatives within school - 'helping a friend', Junior Leader, work experience
How do we know that children are making progress and achieving well? 
7.  Planning within classes identifies the targets from a specific curriculum stage for all child in the session.  In lessons, observations of children's learning are 'scored' against a depth of learning score that shows both the progress a child is making, as well as highlighting any potential loss of skills which may result from a long term absence, school holidays, or from a deteriorating condition. 
7a. Depth of learning scores
Depth of learning score - Stage 1 and 2 - towards investigation 
Shows awareness Responsiveness      Attends and Responds Curiosity           Participation    Involvement    Investigation    
 -1   1   1+     -2   2    2+    -3    3    3+ -4   4   4+   -5   5    5+    -6   6   6+   -7   7   7+
Depth of learning Stage 2 - 5 - towards independence 
With close adult support HUH/HOH With some adult support  With Prompts - Visual/Gesture Asking for help if needed  Independently     
Mastered - I can help others 
  -1    1    1+   -2    2   2+   -3    3    3+   -4   4   4+    -5   5   5+     6   6+
Written observations and examples of work or photos are collated in a child's assessment file.  This file begins when the child first enters school, and moves with them from class to class throughout their time at Beckfoot Phoenix. 
Within this file, progress can easily be seen using the depth of learning 'tracking sheets' which list the statements from the 6 core areas that relate to a child's EHCP (see section 2). 
Pupil progress can be seen in a number of ways:
  • pupils remaining in the same stage but moving along the depth of learning scale showing that they are steadily gaining greater independence or moving to increased independent investigation.
  • pupils remaining in the same stage but moving from the 'towards investigation' depth of learning score onto the 'towards independence' depth of learning score - showing greater independence. 
  • pupils moving from 1 stage to the next showing both an increase in independence, as well as an increase in knowledge.  
7b.  Point in Time Assessments 
The observations and depth of learning scores explained in (7a), tells us what the child has done/said in that lesson that shows us they have learnt something towards the intended learning targets. 
It is important to us at Beckfoot Phoenix that we know that children are not only learning in lessons, but that they are also retaining information over time.  
'Point in Time Assessments' take place at different times through the year to see whether children are remembering and building on what they previously knew in: 
  • (Pre) Reading
  • (Pre) Writing 
  • (Pre) Maths 
  • Comprehension
  • Communication 
These informal 'tests' build up as a child's portfolio of assessments throughout their time at Beckfoot Phoenix.  These together with the observations written by staff are used to help staff to plan lessons focusing on what children need to know so that staff are confident that children are making progress.   
7c. Monitoring by leaders in school 
Leaders in school monitor how and what children are doing by observing lessons, talking to children, looking at work and meeting with staff.  Staff know what to teach by reading the schemes of learning.  They know how to teach it through the teaching and learning expectations for each stage.  The school is on a continual cycle of improvement. There is always more to learn.  Developmental observations  throughout the year support staff by empowering them to develop their own practice through a 4 staged approach.  Trust programmes called 'Take 9' and 'Take 10' are also used to help teachers to develop their practice.  
Leaders also monitor how children are behaving and how well they are engaging in learning through the school's Active Learning Engagement Ladders that track children over a period of time to see how well they are doing in their lessons.  
Each term, leaders talk to staff and look at children's work, books, files and assessments to ensure that children are making progress in line with the expectations outlined in their EHCP. 
How do we share this with Parents/Carers? 
Parents/Carers receive regular updates about what their child and their class are doing in lessons via the Class dojo.  These include messages, photos and examples of work. 
Progress shown within the child's assessment file, and portfolio of assessments is shared with parents/carers at termly parent afternoons.  These are opportunities for parents/carers to come and see their child in class, to look at their work and to talk to staff about how their child is doing.  
How can parents and families help their child to learn more. 
It is great when families work with us to help their child to learn even more.  There are lots of ways that families can do this:
  • look on class Dojo to see what the class have been doing and do more of this at home. 
  • read at home.
  • read and count when out and about. 
  • complete any homework that the class has sent home.
  • take part in any activities that will help the progress made towards EHCP targets.