Austin Canons, Bedford. MK42 8AA

01234 345 565


At St John’s we define the curriculum as everything we do to engage pupils, secure learning of specific skills and promote overall development. Pupils at any age or level of development can expect learning activities which are:

  • Personalised
  • Engaging and motivating
  • Meaningful, relevant and focused on preparation for adulthood

Our curriculum framework is used flexibly to teach individual targets derived from the five areas of learning within pupils’ EHCPs. All planning starts from individual pupils’ current strengths, needs and motivators and is designed to develop key skills across a range of contexts to enable learning to be generalised. Through the annual review process and ongoing dialogue, we work in partnership with families and other professionals to work out what is most important and useful to properly prepare our pupils for their adult lives.

Our curriculum is flexible and continually evolving to meet the needs of our exceptionally diverse pupils. In order to be truly inclusive and accessible for all, our curriculum is now designed around three pathways. There is a certain fluidity about this model in that most pupils will benefit from some involvement in the adjacent curriculum.

Pre-Formal Curriculum

Pupils at very early levels of development, primarily pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning difficulties, access a curriculum that incorporates seven core strands (including communication and social relationships, self-determination and independence, cognition and challenge, well-being) within the security of a responsive environment. A key feature of this curriculum pathway is to establish positive relationships with familiar adults, to explore the world around them using their sensory and physical capabilities and to establish behaviours through which they can communicate with other people.

Semi-Formal Curriculum

This curriculum is based on a series of EQUALS schemes of work, interventions and specialist strategies. The schemes of work are designed to be holistic; all the schemes of work relate to each other. A key feature of this curriculum pathway is the importance of concrete learning experiences. Some pupils will learn best through informal or structured play; others will learn more effectively through functional activities and yet others will respond well to a topic-based approach. Maths and Literacy skills are taught within the semi-formal curriculum, although may not be through discrete timetabled sessions.

Formal and Subject Specific Curriculum

Some of our pupils will follow a subject specific curriculum, based on a programme of EQUALS units of work. Whilst there is a framework to challenge, reinforce and revisit learning concepts; this curriculum is also flexible and influenced by the needs of each learner.

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