Curriculum & Learning

Our Curriculum promotes the intellectual, personal, social, creative and physical development of each pupil, preparing them for transition into adulthood and an appreciation for life in modern Britain. The curriculum is committed to the development of each individual pupil and incorporates person centred planning principles whenever possible.

Curriculum Statement

The Phoenix School Curriculum reflects the aims and ethos of the school . Above all the Phoenix School Curriculum should be relevant, motivating and raising the standards of achievement for every pupil whatever their age or stage of development. The curriculum offered at the Phoenix School is much broader than the National Curriculum subjects alone. We aim to incorporate a developmental and therapy based curriculum supported by a range of professional agencies across the age range. Curriculum time is devolved to utilising specialist resources and opportunities such as hydrotherapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, sensory integration and a range of sensory and creative experiences. This ensures a curriculum which gives “sufficient emphasis to literacy, numeracy and other aspects such as personal, social and health education, citizenship education and work related learning”. Additionally we encourage a degree of flexibility at each Key Stage that safeguard statutory requirements whilst meeting the need and abilities of all our pupils.

Each pupil has an individualised timetable that reflects access to a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum and is relevant to their need. Our intention is for each pupil to reach their full potential and to achieve to the best of their ability, enabling them to leave school prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Opportunities are provided for the pupils to learn from first hand experiences and all pupils have the opportunity to experience subject or curriculum areas whatever the particular individual abilities. However, it is acknowledged that parts of the whole curriculum will take a greater or smaller part of an individualised timetable depending on pupil needs and individual education plans.

Characteristics of the Phoenix Curriculum

To ensure the curriculum consistently meets pupil needs the Governors, Headteacher and staff are strongly committed to monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning within the Phoenix School. We endeavour to respond to established and new national strategies as they are identified and curriculum development is regularly identified within the school improvement plan. The Phoenix Curriculum is enriched by the many contributions of all who work or are associated with the Phoenix School. Taken as a whole it provides nurture for all aspects of the developing child and endeavours to prepare the pupils to derive pleasure and satisfaction from the wide range of activities and opportunities provided.

Other characteristics include:

– Person centred learning / personal timetable

– The principal of entitlement to a differentiated National Curriculum at the appropriate Key Stages. We do not seek disapplication for our pupils.

– The range of learning activities are characterised by the concepts of curriculum breadth, balance, relevance, differentiation, progression and continuity.

– Pupils have the right to access a wide range of knowledge but our pupils also have the right to a relevant curriculum which meets their needs.

– The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is an essential characteristic of our curriculum. Pupils learn at different rates and need challenging but attainable targets which reflect pupil interest. These targets assist with pupil motivation and form an integral part of the whole school target setting process. Targets are reflected in short, medium and long term planning for pupils.

– Creative opportunities are offered across the age range.

– Key skills (such as communication, personal, social and health education, ICT, problem solving and numeracy) are a central and integral characteristic of the Phoenix Curriculum and are taught through a cross-curricula approach.

– Various methods of communication including alternative and augmentative systems using speech, symbols, photos, objects and signs are used in all situations appropriate to the pupil’s level of understanding.

– A variety of teaching approaches to respond to individual learning styles.

– A teaching and learning culture which reflects a commitment that all pupils are of equal worth regardless of age, ethnicity or abilities.

– A commitment to providing a wide range of external school opportunities including lunchtime activities, after school activities, residential, holidays, trips and visits and a summer play scheme.

Our Curriculum Framework

At the Phoenix School we firmly believe that all pupils are entitled to a high quality, well planned, well organised and effectively taught curriculum. A three year planning Framework exists which meets each pupil’s needs by offering programmes of work to be drawn up for each pupil every term. Subject/curriculum coordinators regularly review their contribution to the curriculum framework and this is reflected in the School Improvement Plan. Coordinators have the overview of breadth and balance and monitor progression and continuity across the age range. The Curriculum Framework illustrates the breadth of the curriculum, ensures balance between the various aspects of the curriculum to be negotiated for individual pupils. Programmes of study for each Key Stage are taught to pupils in ways that are appropriate to their levels of development. Materials may be selected from earlier or later Key Stages to enable individual pupils to progress and demonstrate achievement. Care is taken to ensure such material is presented in contexts appropriate to pupils’ age and level of understanding.  As a parent/carer of students at the Phoenix School you will have a logon to the school’s Learning Platform to find out exactly what is currently being taught.

Students normally move into Upper School in year 10, see progression through Upper School. Our Foundation Learning starts at the age of 14. Details of our External Accreditation can be seen here.

Our Approach to the Teaching of Reading

At Phoenix we interpret reading in the broadest context as involving deriving meaning from the environment. This includes using objects,  sensory cues including sounds and smells, pictures, photographs, signs and written words to support teaching and learning in reading. Read more about our approach to reading.

Examinations / Testing Arrangements & Pupil Progress

Parents/Carers will be kept informed of pupil progress through the Annual Review procedure and individual success against objectives set within Individual Education Plans. As the vast majority of the children do not achieve expected National levels they are disapplied from Standard Assessment Tasks. We record and celebrate the small steps made in progress on an individual basis. This progress within the National Curriculum is mainly through ‘P’ levels and the Early Levels at Key Stage 1 and all monitoring is carried out through teacher assessment and in-house PIVATS assessments.

Special Educational Needs Policy

At the Phoenix School all our pupils have Statements of Special Educational Needs. However, we are required by law to have a Special Needs Policy. Our Governors constantly monitor and review this work. A member of the Senior Management Team has the responsibility of the Special Needs coordinator. Please contact the school for a copy of the policy.


We aim to provide a ‘total communication’ learning environment using a wide range of communication strategies adapted to meet individual’s needs. We work towards enabling all students to be effective communicators. One of the key approaches we use for students working at early development stages is ‘Intensive Interaction’. This is as an approach that encourages early communication and social interaction skills.

Religious Education and SMSC

This is taught in accordance to the Local Authority Agreed Syllabus as far as it is practicable. Learning about and learning from religion and beliefs are important for all pupils because Religious Education helps pupils develop an understanding of themselves and others. Phoenix School represents a diverse faith and multicultural community where spiritual, moral, social and cultural experiences are integral to the cross curriculum learning. Collective worship provides an opportunity for pupils to reflect on their own beliefs, feelings and experiences.

At the Phoenix School we pride ourselves on appreciating the value of others and being part of a whole school family. We are respectful of others and their beliefs creating an atmosphere of tolerance and consideration for all pupils, staff and families.

Assemblies focus on the religious and cultural calendar appropriate to our pupils and relevant to topics of current interest. There is also time allocated to praise of good work, certificates, team points and birthday celebrations. Read more about assemblies.

Careers Guidance

Students are given opportunities and experiences to equip them for both adult life and life after school. The school works very closely with other agencies to investigate possible placements post-19. The Transition programme is started in year 10. Parents/carers and students are encouraged to be fully involved within this process. A full copy of the school’s Careers Policy is available on request.

Sex Education and Relationships

At the Phoenix School we do not seek to be a substitute for the important role that parents/carers have to play within this delicate area. As within all areas of the curriculum we strive to work very closely with home.  We aim to provide a programme to all of our pupils, which will provide information appropriate to their physical and emotional maturity. Assisting pupils to develop strategies for keeping safe, good social behaviour and respect for the feelings of others is constantly being reinforced throughout the school. Any parent/carer with strong views on this subject is urged to contact the school for further discussions. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education although not from those elements which are covered in Science National Curriculum.

Global Awareness

In the climate of global awareness, where every citizen is affected by the world events on a daily basis, international issues are an important part of all our lives. By including an international dimension at the Phoenix School we offer children and staff a greater understanding of their national and international identity within a diverse and differentiated curriculum.