Our curriculum is designed in a way where topics are selected according to students interests.  As learners progress through the Yellow pathway each year there is a gradual building of knowledge.  The curriculum is planned so that year on year learning is reinforced and built upon with progression of learning through different subjects.  For example students learn about light and sound sources in Lower Key Stage 2 and will build upon this knowledge in Upper Key Stage 2 by learning about light and sound waves.  Skills taught and reinforced in a spiral manner building upon previous skills and helping students to develop new ones.  The application of this knowledge forms the basis of secure understanding of the curriculum areas.

We have a spiral approach to our curriculum where we are continually revisiting topics to build skills and develop knowledge over time.  Many of our learners need repetition and reinforcement within their learning to ensure skills and concepts are retained and applied.

Communication is a key skill which we recognise our learners need to develop whatever learning pathway they are on.  The attached document demonstrates the wide range of opportunities our Yellow Pathway learners have to develop.  If students require any additional specialist intervention this can be provided by our Communication Teaching Assistant or via referral to our attached speech and language therapist (SALT).

Communication Across the Pathways

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Alongside this emphasis on core skills is the recognition that children will thrive when given an opportunity to explore all areas of their creativity and abilities. We therefore include a wide variety of foundation subjects and ‘special’ curriculum areas that provide stimulation and help to meet the individual needs, including the physical needs, of the children. Opportunities available where appropriate include input from specialist sports coaches, music teachers and therapists and specialist TAs who lead on communication and structured teaching approaches. Where appropriate students have access to specialist literacy interventions which focus on promoting further progress in early phonic and reading skills. Progress is monitored through classroom observation, students work and contributions in lessons. This evidence is recorded within our Evidence for Learning platform with progress being measured according to our Highfield Developmental Assessment which informs our teachers of the next steps for our pupils.  Progress towards students Education Health Care Plans is also tracked and monitored closely as a main method of assessment.


The Key Stage 3 National Curriculum document provides the basis of topics taught.  As the programmes of study for Key Stage 3 are not fully covered at Highfield in that Key Stage, we have incorporated some Key Stage 2 topics, especially in humanities, into our Key Stage 3 curriculum. The framework is a guide of what is to be taught during the three years that pupils spend in this Key Stage.  We ensure a breadth and balance across each term, each year and the whole Key Stage to ensure appropriate coverage of the National Curriculum. 

Key Stage 4

We aim to develop learners as individuals, be able to stay safe and participate in the community life.  In Key Stage 4 students will continue to learn and consolidate skills for independent living, further education and working life.

Most topics will follow programmes of study created and accredited by ASDAN, Pearson Edexcel and AQA.  These bodies are curriculum development and awarding organisations who provide flexible and engaging programmes and qualifications that help young people develop skills for learning, work and life.

We aspire for students on Yellow Pathway to leave Key Stage 4 with a qualification in ASDAN Personal and Social Development (PSD), and most will gain Functional Skills qualifications in maths and English. In addition, they will have at least 5 AQA Unit Award certificates.  These unit award certificates are linked to their talents and interests as well as preparing students for everyday life and living.

There is a balance between continuing to develop key skills and introducing a greater emphasis on work related learning and life skills. 

Here is an overview of the Yellow pathway (best viewed full screen):