Shaftoe Road

Phone: 0191 5280440




Curriculum for Early Communication, Cognition & Social Interaction

Our curriculum takes a holistic view of pupils by focussing on how they best learn through acknowledging and celebrating the different abilities and achievements of those pupils with the most complex needs.

Pupils not yet engaged in subject specific learning engage with the Informal (sometimes termed pre-formal) Curriculum. The Informal curriculum focusses on the early communication, social and emotional and cognitive skills that are the foundation of learning. It is a curriculum that recognises the importance of play in a child’s development and the need for sensory and multi-sensory approaches to learning. It is a curriculum that supports that learner’s development by employing appropriate approaches that takes account of their emotional well-being.

Sunningdale School uses ‘Footsteps’ to assess and plan next steps for these pupils. Footsteps was devised by Willowdene School and is derived directly from the Welsh Government’s highly regarded ‘Routes for Learning’, a tool for exploring the learning of children with complex needs. The focus is on early communication, social interaction and the cognitive skills that are crucial for all future learning.

Once a pupil is able to initiate actions and exert autonomy in a range of contexts they then begin to engage in a greater range of subject specific activity (e.g. Maths, English, Science, History, Geography etc…) that is more relevant to their stage of social, cognitive and communicative development.

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