Pre-Formal Curriculum

The Clare School Curriculum

Pre-Formal Curriculum

Pre-Formal learners are “Sensory Beings who experience the world in a primarily sensory way” (Joanna Grace, Sensory Being for Sensory Beings.). The pupils have profound and complex learning needs and often complex medical needs too. Pre-Formal learners are working on early learning skills focussing on the foundations of learning such as early communication, cognitive skills and social and emotional skills. 

They learn through a multi-sensory approach and through repetition of personalised activities and experiences such as Morning Routines, TacPac, sensory stories, rebound and sensory awakening sessions. We use a thematic-based approach when delivering our curriculum to our pre-formal learners. Our topics have been carefully developed to show progression as learners move through the key stages. 

As practitioners we draw upon research and experts in the field to guide and inform our teaching and curriculum. Flo Longhorn’s work has inspired sensory awakening and ‘Sensology’ sessions which aim to help pupils to wake up their senses, ready for learning. Penny Lacey’s emphasis on keeping the ‘voice of the child’ at the forefront of everything you do is embedded in our inclusive practice where we respect and respond to our learners needs and well-being at all times whilst promoting fun, inclusive, motivating and engaging experiences to open the door to wider learning opportunities. (Penny Lacey, The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties’). 

This group of learners need a bespoke timetable that enables health and care plans to be seamlessly incorporated into their daily timetable to run alongside their education plans. We celebrate each small step of success that our learners make, in line with our vision and values. Learners on this pathway are not yet engaged in subject-specific study and therefore are assessed using the Engagement Model.

Our Core Curriculum Areas

Our curriculum is split into 4 core areas. Then within these 4 areas we have detailed what content will be covered for our pre-formal learners. Please see the illustration below:

Thematic Delivery

At The Clare School learners on the pre-formal curriculum will access a topic/ thematic based curriculum. A topic/thematic based curriculum involves combining a variety of curriculum subjects to allow pupils to explore learning at a greater depth and make better connections between different areas of learning. Through the topics/themes chosen we will provide learners a broad and balanced curriculum offer from entry until leaving us at The Clare School. Please see the link below for details on our recently devised Long Term Themes across Key Stage 1, 2 and 3.

How assessment supports our curriculum

The ongoing process of assessments ensures that every pupil is kept at the very centre. Every pupil on the Pre-Formal pathway has got a Learning Support Plan (LSP) in place that is updated on a termly basis. LSP’s are set by the teachers in collaboration with other professionals and parents to ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in this process. 

We have developed our own bespoke Pre-Formal Assessment using ‘Routes for Learning’ and other specialist tracking systems such as ‘Intensive Interaction’. Evidence of pupil progress is uploaded to Earwig and tagged against the Pre-Formal Assessment Framework. Earwig is a safe online platform that captures achievements using multimedia evidence. This is shared with parents, carers and families regularly throughout the school year, and allows parents to upload significant events if they wish. 

There is a statutory duty to report end of Key Stage data for all pupils who are at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 – however this does not apply for learners on the Pre-Formal pathway who are not engaged in subject-specific study, instead we report that they are being assessed using the Engagement Model. The Engagement Model assesses linear and lateral progress for learners as well as their consolidation and maintenance of knowledge, skills and concepts in the following five areas of: 

  • Exploration
  • Realisation 
  • Anticipation
  • Persistence
  • Initiation
Intent, Implementation and Impact

Please see the link below for an in depth look at the ‘Intent’ for the Pre-Formal Curriculum, how we ‘Implement’ it and it’s ‘Impact’.