Pathway 3 – Semi-Formal Curriculum

Pathway 3

Young people on Pathway 3 are prone to severe learning difficulties, often accompanied by additional needs such as autism. Identification of these individuals is typically based on assessments and information outlined in the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), supplemented by diagnostic evaluations upon enrolment. Academic assessments in various learning areas are conducted through observations and activities aligned with the relevant curriculum. Communication tools such as Widget symbols and Makaton, are utilised in Pathway 3, alongside speech communication devices when necessary. Through Pathway 3, young people can express themselves and engage in discussions about their lives, enabling them to practice and internalise practical skills essential for leading independent, safe, and healthy lives, as well as fostering meaningful relationships. Additionally, young people on Pathway 3 are prepared for a more formal curriculum by developing proficiency in phonics and numeracy skills.

Our Pathway 3 is summarised on this page but for more information please follow the link below.

Pathway 3 Handbook

Communication, Language & Literacy

Young people follow the RW Inc Literacy program alongside the English curriculum, which is delivered through a termly topic approach. They focus on developing reading skills through phonics-based decoding and whole-word reading strategies. This development is guided by sequential and cumulative planning and assessment methods. In Pathway 3, we employ various communication tools such as Widgit symbols, Makaton, and speech communication devices as needed. Young people in Pathway 3 are enabled to communicate about themselves and their lives. They embark on the journey of developing knowledge and understanding of sound systems while recognising letters from the alphabet. They also begin to write simple, common words and grasp the function of writing.

Immersion in rich storytelling, books, and pictures fosters a love of reading among young people. Additionally, there are strategies to support the introduction of writing and letter formation.

Cognition & Science

In Pathway 3, young people build on their understanding of numbers and the number system, building numbers to 20. We promote the use of problem-solving skills allowing young people the time to try and solve problems before stepping in and supporting. We undertake practical learning that starts with concrete objects, then pictorial representations and then to more abstract thinking. There will be regular opportunity for rote learning, counting and practising number facts. They regularly take part in simple ‘experiments’, observing how objects and materials behave and make predictions about what they think might happen. This can be through cooking, play, physical activity etc. They begin to develop aspects of conceptual understanding and vocabulary that they may encounter in Pathway 4 subject based learning.

Personal Social & Health Education

Young people with severe learning difficulties will have very different experiences of social relationships and will all have different starting points. The feelings and behaviours aspect of PSED relates to how young people learn to understand and cope with both their own feelings and the feelings of others. It also includes how to manage those feelings without letting them overwhelm them at every annoyance or upset they encounter. Another aspect of personal, social, and emotional development is how young people learn to follow simple rules for different settings. This can include areas such as home, play areas, shops etc. Young people with additional needs will require the support of adults to help them understand these complex situations.

Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship PSHEC education plays an important role for young people within Pathway 3, it allows them opportunities to rehearse and embed the practical skills and understanding they need to lead independent, safe and healthy lives and enjoy safe and healthy relationships. It enables them to understand who they are, their strengths and needs, rights and responsibilities. PSHE lessons provide an inclusive environment where young people have the opportunity to explore and reflect upon issues that affect them and can develop strategies and skills to manage different real-life situations. Learning about our bodies and how they work provides the early conceptual understanding and vocabulary that lead in to a more formal science curriculum.

Teachers may plan sessions within the areas for learning through a range of motivating contexts. In communication and literacy for example, they may use the arts, drama or music to support story-telling. They may choose to introduce a range of stories from different cultures, times and beliefs visiting a range of genres over time.

PSHE Pathway 3

Physical Development

In Pathway 3 the PD curriculum builds on the firm foundations of earlier pathways enabling young people to use their agility and motor control to access a range of accessible sports and games. It aims to build not only on a love of sport but also ensures young people begin to understand the need to be fit, healthy and strong. We also begin to develop team spirit and character through a range of sporting challenges. Physical development forms a significant aspect of learning within our curriculum as we understand the impact that gross motor skills have on fine motor development that leads into literacy and numeracy learning. Being able to move independently enables young people to explore their environment and extend learning. Motor development happens both within structured PD lessons but also across the school day. Young people also access physical activities for fitness and to support health and well-being such as dance, yoga, swimming, soft-play sessions and forest schools on a regular basis. We understand the importance of physical development both now and for our young people in later life. Where appropriate classrooms should be well-resourced with sensory equipment to support regulation for young people.

All of the curriculum can be delivered in a range of outdoor contexts. For example, in maths, teachers may use real-life contexts to support maths learning, helping students apply prior learning. Learning outside of the classroom can support a range of conceptual learning and ensure that young people extend and apply classroom learning. In wider cognition sessions, teachers will help young people to understand the world around them through observation and exploration of nature, making collections, sorting found objects and counting. Physical education should be seen in the context of independence and preparation for adulthood, as well as fitness and fun, ensuring young people are as best prepared as possible to move independently, and therefore this curriculum can be taught functionally within the community as well as through traditional PD contexts. This may involve young people navigating uneven terrain, steps, and slopes.