Pathways

The 4 Pathways through 2 - 19

Although ability levels in reality can be plotted on a continuum and can vary from skill to skill, the Pathway model allows us to group learners with similar learning needs together and provides an accessible vehicle as a starting point through which to deliver the curriculum. Individual targets are then created to further personalise individuals’ learning programmes.

The 4 Pathways:

  • Pre-Formal
  • Informal
  • Semi-Formal
  • Formal

The whole school LEADERS Curriculum is delivered differently through each developmental pathway:

Pre-formal Pathway

Learners in this pathway tend to be our pupils with profound and multiple complex physical and learning needs. They are at the very early stages of learning and development. The Pre-formal learning pathway focuses on awareness of self and their effect on the world immediately around them. It is delivered using a bespoke therapeutic curriculum approach. This promotes communication, interaction and engagements through highly personalised strategies, working from each learner’s unique characteristics of learning, engagement levels and preferences. Learners may need to repeat activities many times to begin to show anticipation, express their preferences/dislikes and to interact. In the Pre-formal Pathway, our Leaders Curriculum is taught holistically through a wide variety of non subject-specific learning opportunities. There is an emphasis on pupils acquiring the pre-requisite knowledge and skills for learning. To ensure a
broad and balanced delivery, the areas of learning are divided into our aspects and timetabled individually even though all parts of the curriculum are interconnected.

Informal Pathway 

Learners in this pathway typically have complex physical and learning difficulties and are working consistently within the severe
learning difficulties spectrum. An 'in the moment' approach is adopted; fostering communication skills throughout, developing, and building upon interactions as they occur. Specific learning objectives cannot always be planned for as outcomes are driven by the pupil’s ability to engage, and experiences which capture their interests at any given moment. The Informal Pathway supports experiences within and beyond the school community. Sensory needs are addressed for
individual learners to promote self-regulation and increase engagement. In the informal pathway our Leaders Curriculum is taught
holistically through a wide variety of early stages of subject-specific learning opportunities, bridging the gap between a sensory curriculum and subject-based learning. There is still a need for pupils to build on the foundations of the pre-requisite knowledge and skills for learning. To ensure a broad and balanced delivery, the areas of learning are divided into our aspects and timetabled individually even though all parts of the curriculum are interconnected. Within this pathway staff will maximise the learning opportunities in planned and unplanned situations to develop learning for individual pupils.

Semi-formal Pathway

Learners in this pathway typically have complex and severe learning needs and are consistently working significantly below age related expectations but with a focus on the development of the knowledge and skills of emergent subject-specific learning. Learners require experiences and opportunities which promote the development of independence, functional skills, communication, emotional well-being, and confidence. This includes opportunities to learn from problems encountered and the chance to practise and apply skills in different situations with different people. It is important for these pupils that achievable aspirations for transitioning to their adult lives remain at the heart of the curriculum. The core subjects of maths and English are taught discretely. Foundation subjects are taught during specific sessions and through our topic anchors.

Formal Pathway

Learners in this pathway have some learning difficulties and are consistently working below age related expectations. For these learners subject-specific input including Core and Foundation subjects, provides a bridge between the Semi-formal Pathway and that of the National Curriculum, whilst taking into account individual learning styles and interests. The subject-based knowledge and skills are taught contextually with functional literacy and numeracy skills being practised in a variety of contexts e.g. through role play in Explorers departments and applied to support real life situations e.g. reading a shopping
list and handling money in the workplace, in secondary departments. Our young people may take many years to consolidate basic concepts, knowledge and skills and therefore priorities are identified which will best support them in their aspirations and future life. In the Formal Pathway topic-based teaching is used as and when it enriches the learning, otherwise, subjects are taught discretely, following the programs of study set out in the NC. Subjects are delivered relevant to their cognitive ability rather than their age, however, accreditation and qualifications are studied and achieved in KS4 and 5.