So, how does the school’s curriculum work?

Sunningdale School’s curriculum approach is relatively unique and the school is recognised by EQUALS as one of three national centres of excellence for delivering semi-formal and informal curricula.

To ensure that we are able to meet each child’s holistic needs as specifically as possible Sunningdale School’s curriculum is arranged into four pathways. These are the Pre-formal Pathway; Semi-formal Explore Pathway; Semi-formal Play Pathway; and Formal Pathway. Each of these Pathways has its own distinct overarching pedagogical (teaching and learning) approach that begins to meet the collective needs of the pupils within that pathway which is then personalised to a higher degree to meet the specific needs of individual pupils.

Pre-formal Pathway
Children that are progressing along our Pre-formal Pathway are developing very early cognition (thinking), communication and interaction skills. They receive very specific input based around our understanding of how best to engage them and the therapeutic approaches they might need to support this. Our overall aim for these children is that they can independently interact with the environment (in terms of people, ideas, materials and concepts).

Semi-formal Explore Pathway

The children that are making progress through our Semi-formal Explore Pathway are learning to engage consistently with their environment as well as give and share attention. They are working on communication and interaction. The children on the pathway are taught through a range of very specific strategies aimed at further developing their engagement and their ability to apply their skills to specific activities whilst developing appropriate receptive and expressive communication. This approach is sometimes known as an informal curriculum.

Semi-formal Play Pathway
Our Semi-formal Play Pathway is accessed by children that are developing their ability to apply their skills and abilities across a range of contexts. The teaching approach in this pathway is aimed at developing creativity and thinking critically through an active learning approach based in play and exploration.

On both of our Semi-formal Pathways children will hopefully be beginning to develop some subject specific skills such as shape, number, reading and writing. Pupils progressing along our Semi-formal Play Pathway will be taught to apply these to a range of contexts.

Formal Pathway
Children that are accessing and progressing along our Formal Pathway are broadly developing their Subject Specific skills and knowledge. As pupils progress through this pathway they will start to access the content of the National Curriculum and be taught using strategies that will support their learning at this level. These pupils will still be receiving appropriate therapeutic input to support their development and they will still have a Personalised Learning Plan supporting their progress across all areas of their development.

Specialist Facilities

All of the above therapies, approaches and pathways are underpinned by the school’s fantastic specialist facilities. Sunningdale School is very lucky to have a number of bespoke facilities including a Hydrotherapy Pool, Sound Therapy room, Music Therapy room, Sensory Integration room, Sensory room, two story Soft Play, a Sensory Garden, a Sensory Trail, a Story Cottage, Brick (Lego) Therapy room, Cookery room, Edible Garden, Community Garden, Forest School and other facilities you might expect like our library, playgrounds with adapted equipment, fields and traditional school hall with stage.