GSO Test

Our Curriculum

We believe all these things need to be in place for a student to learn and grow.


The Curriculum - Intent

We will provide students with:

  • A fun, stimulating and engaging learning environment
  • A holistic pupil-centered approach that promotes well being and life skills
  • Differentiated individual learning
  • A wide variety of opportunities and experiences, both onsite and within the community
  • Opportunities to develop creativity and curiosity
  • A collaborative partnership with families, therapists and wider settings
  • A safe, secure environment

So that our students can learn to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Become confident, aspirational and resilient learners
  • Be as independent as possible and apply meaningful learned skills
  • Make choices and have their voices heard
  • Keep themselves safe and healthy
  • Be a valued and active member of their community
  • Be independent thinkers and good problem solvers
  • Try a range of leisure activities and develop personal interests and preferences.


The Curriculum - Implementation

Here at Portesbery our bespoke curriculum is divided into four key areas; Communication, Language and Literacy, Maths and Understanding the World, Personal, Social and Emotional Development & Life Skills as well as Physical and Sensory Development& Expressive Arts and Design.

Each subject taught sits under one of these umbrellas which is championed by a group of teaching staff. Science, History and Geography are experienced through our Topics. Modern Foreign Languages are not taught as we offer Makaton and British Sign Language as forms of supported language and our focus always is on communication.

Play is a hugely important part of our school and is embedded throughout the entire curriculum giving students enriching social opportunities and life skills.

The education of pupils is then planned in three distinct phases. These are:

  • Phase 1 – Primary (including Early Years)
  • Phase 2 - Secondary
  • Phase 3 - Extended Learning

The Post 16 Department has a separate curriculum which is detailed below.

Each curriculum subject has its own progression map which supports students at the three phases.  Student’s progress can be tracked throughout the school journey working through each subject at Experiential, Developing Skills and Advanced stages.


Early Years



The Early Years curriculum is a three-year rolling cycle of topics detailed below which covers seven areas of learning and development within the Early Years Framework. These areas fit into our whole school curriculum.

If you would like to know more about Early Years please contact our Early Years Lead via email ( or visit the Early Years section of our website.


The Primary Curriculum



The Primary curriculum is a three-year rolling cycle of topics detailed below. A topic-based curriculum allows the whole department to be working towards a shared objective and greater opportunities to come together for curriculum days. Within the Primary Department RE is taught through assemblies and curriculum days.

If you would like to know more about the Primary Curriculum please email or


The Secondary Curriculum



The Secondary Curriculum is a five-year rolling cycle of topics which are taught through our curriculum areas. This topic-based curriculum allows the whole department to be working towards a shared objective and greater opportunities to come together for curriculum days. The Secondary Department places a great emphasis on preparing for adulthood and like skills.

If you would like to know more about the Secondary Curriculum please email 


The Post 16 Curriculum



In Post 16 we concentrate on life skills and developing independence. Students have the chance to take part in the experience of work trips and, for those for whom it is appropriate, can do work experience in suitable settings. We visit possible next placements and take part in inclusion sessions so that students can experience what life after Portesbery might look like. All students have an individual and bespoke timetable which considers their needs and works towards transitioning to placements at Post 19. This is delivered through a programme that focuses on functional skills (communication, literacy, numeracy and ICT), life skills and vocational skills (more details here).

Most students work towards an ASDAN Personal Progress (PP) qualification and for those able, also the Personal and Social Development (PSD) qualification. These are nationally recognised awards, and certificates are presented upon successful completion of modules at the end of Post 16.

All students are offered the opportunity to work towards their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award when they join Post 16. The award encompasses four different sections; Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.  All work towards the award takes place during the school day, with the addition of the residential trip in order to fulfil the requirements for the Expedition section.

A 5-day residential trip is offered annually to Post 16 students, in the past this has included High Ashurst Outdoor Centre, Surrey Hills; sailing on the Isle of Wight and The Bendrigg Trust, Kendal.  This is a great opportunity for students to try new activities and spend time away from home, with their peers in a safe and supportive and fun environment. There is an annual Surrey Special Schools Ski Trip to Italy and this is offered to students who would benefit from it within the Secondary and Post 16 departments.

Our Complex Needs students follow a one-year programme which focuses on developing the skills need as they move towards adulthood. This is delivered through a rolling programme of topics. ASDAN modules are offered where appropriate. 

If you would like to know more about the Post 16 Curriculum please email our Post 16 Lead:  


The Curriculum - Impact