Sixth Form Curriculum – meeting the needs of all students

Over the next couple of months I will be deep in the process of adapting our sixth form curriculum, for the special school I work in, with the aim to enable our learners to be better equipped with the skills they need to be able to either transition successfully to college, work or become more independent and able to access services post 19.

The biggest challenge, is meeting the needs of all the students ranging from PMLD, ASC, SLD and MLD, which also presents us with an opportunity to devise a curriculum that is flexible and that interchanges between different routes.

What will this look like? How can we ensure that all learners have a personalised timetable to meet their needs as well as fitting in with the resources available at the school? What are the important skills that SEN students needs to fulfil their potential? These are the questions that I will looking to provide answers to and am interested in others views on this, so feel free to contribute and any comments would be greatly appreciated.


About jwinchester25

Father, Husband, Teacher of Special Needs students. Runner, Stand Up Paddler.

Posted on November 5, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. We start ASDAN – Personal Progress in KS4. Depending on level of ability depends on level of award pupils will achieve at end of KS5. Most able pupils move on and do a slightly higher level ASDAN (I can’t remember the name, sorry).
    That forms the basis of their curriculum, which also includes a lot of community involvement both in and out of school (running school shop, collecting recycling, growing and selling so much in the allotment, enterprise groups) and where appropriate pupils travel to other schools (MLD school nearby, mostly) for inclusion (e.g. drama). Also access community parks, swimming pool, cafes to prepare for the future.
    Grapevine ( do some work, getting to know pupils and planning for the future, as well as whatever Connextions are called these days. Local colleges help plan for transition and a member of staff has responsibilty for overseeing this for all pupils. Pupils leaving school with a ‘care package’ are joined in school by their care providers for some of the time.

    Hope that helps a little!

    • All sounds really positive, we have Personal Progress in KS4 which leads to ASDAN PSD entry level 1-3 with the possibility to gain a diploma on Life Skills. This forms a large part of our currant curriculum. We have a range of lessons based around Life skills – work related learning, meal preparation etc. Looking to introduce more enterprise projects, currently run a 2 week plant sale which students prepare for in the term before, growing plants, advertising etc. ideally want to run more enterprise projects that all students could have a role to play in delivering these.

      Biggest challenge is we are now increasing the size of our sixth form and keeping on more MLD students. We have just set up a 1 year transition course working with local colleges to make the transition more successful for these students.

      Thanks for sharing what your school does and will look into the links you shared.

  2. Part of the process will be to get a clear idea of what college involves.
    School Links are very good for the students but also make sure that the qualifications you teach allow your students to progress to college should they want to.For those going to college at Entry level( i.e below Level1) colleges often offer Foundation Learning awards,certificates and Diplomas in Life and Living at E1/E2 and the same in Employability at E3 as well as Functional skills E1-3.
    You’re welcome to come for a visit any time.

    • Agree progression to college is important and don’t want students to be doing courses that don’t allow them to progress.

      This is an interesting point which we have discussed quite a bit, is it progression if students who do for example a level 1 performing arts BTEC at school then repeat this at college. Argument is that we give them too much support at school and they are in a safe environment where they can make mistakes with behaviour etc without jeopardising their place. At college, it is a big leap in terms of being prepared for social interactions and by repeating the course would this be seen as progression. Maybe, certainly what we are hearing from local colleges.

  3. I’m not sure about level 1 because I only teach to Entry 3, but every student who comes from school now has a unique learning number. If they come to college wanting to do a Founation learning qualification and they already have a PSD diploma at entry 3 they can’t repeat it. They must go up to Level 1 (even if we don’t think they are ready) because once you have done the qualification you can’t repeat it-even if the exam board is different.
    We have had a case of a student recommended from a mainstream school by Connexions who really needed a year of nuturing before moving on to level 1 but we could not take them on an entry level course because they had already achieved at level 1.

    • It such a shame that this is the case, there are many students who find it difficult to cope with college lifestyle and when you add the pressure of a higher level course they do seem to struggle. This year, for our 1 year transition course we are offering a similar qualification at the same level, so for instance we have some students who completed an entry level 3 English qualification but are now doing an an adult literacy qualification at entry 3 because we feel they would not be able to achieve a level 1 qualification.

  4. Very interesting to read about your curriculum offers and issues around getting the levels right to enable progression or perhaps in a lot of cases consolidation! ASDAN over the past 15 years have developed an inclusive range of SEN curriculum resources (Preparatory programmes) and Entry qualifications which provide a real-life context to promote the development of personal, social, independent, and work related skills which articulate into a personal centred programme of study, enabling students across the learning difficulty/ disability spectrum to reach their potential. We have just published a handbook of SEN Provision that gives an overview of all of our SEN programmes. Follow this link to download it.

  5. Are you talking to your feeder colleges about the qualifications they are offering? As I mentioned before ensuring there is a progression route is important. Colleges can’t offer the same qualification at the same level if they have already been achieved at school. “Consolidation” is not an option. Students can’t do the same qualifications twice.

    Colleges are only funded for certain quaifcations at Entry level. We offer qualifications which come under the title Foundation Learning. It would be interesting to hear from ASDAN about the use of same qualification by schools and colleges and if they have found this is a problem and if there is a way round this for colleges and schools.

    • We are working with local colleges for our 1 year transition course and the aim is to work to work even closer with local colleges to ease the transition period for our students.

      It’s those students who are working at a level 1 that find the jump to college the hardest and possibly we will have to look at what we offer to enable a smoother transition to college. Though feel that we should be pushing students to their limit and that the support systems are in put in place at college to help students with the demands of both the academic and social elements of college. Though understand this is difficult for colleges who have to cater for mainstream learners and some of our students have unique behavioural challenges.

    • Also I believe that the funding structure has change, at least for our local college, so that they are funded by students and not qualifications, so this should have a positive impact.

  1. Pingback: Time to Reflect | SEN Classroom

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