Curriculum

Curriculum

At Quest School, the curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs of pupils with autism, whilst also providing a broad, balanced and inclusive educational experience for all.

Pupils’ individual needs are at the heart of all curriculum and timetable planning, and individual programmes of work derive from their Education Health Care plans.

We believe that children learn best when they are happy; we therefore ensure that the curriculum is interesting and engaging and that pupils have fun while learning.  Once our children begin to experience success with learning, they show how much they enjoy, and are proud of, their achievements.

Pupils at Quest School typically have significant impairments in communication, social understanding and flexibility of thought due to their diagnosis of autism and learning disability. Our pupils therefore require a high level of adult mediation to enable effective learning. Most teaching takes place in either individual or small group teaching sessions, where pupils are grouped with others of a similar age and ability.

We provide a curriculum whereby our teaching will equip our students with the skills they need to participate in, and enjoy a full and meaningful life; and to make a positive contribution to society.  Each pupil’s Learning Programme is focused on relevance and appropriateness for the individual pupil, whilst always maintaining the highest expectations for pupils’ achievements ensuring that they are able to reach their full potential.

Curriculum Intent:

Our curriculum is broad, balanced, ambitious, coherently planned and designed to develop the whole person.

Our curriculum aims to teach and build the skills that we believe to be fundamental to a person’s well-being and quality of life both as children and in their adult life:

  • Communication and Interaction: the ability to make and express a choice, have needs met, make requests known, listen to instructions, and understand explanations; to develop social communication skills, to relate to others and to make friends.
  • Cognition: A rich and varied curriculum provides stimulation and enrichment for all children, and enables them to gain a better understanding the world around them. A key focus is on teaching our pupils to read and write; this helps support their learning across the whole curriculum.
  • Personal Development: enabling each child to develop their interests, talents, and character, and to prepare them for adult life. We aim to increase pupils’ self-help and personal care skills and to improve their co-ordination, motor skills and sensory integration; thereby developing a healthy mind and body.
  • Social, Emotional and mental health: appropriate social behaviour allows an individual to access a rich and wide-ranging set of experiences in the community. We therefore aim to teach appropriate replacement behaviours (often functional communication skills) to replace challenging behaviours.

Curriculum Implementation

The core strength of our curriculum is that we use evidence-based practice to identify the unique learning profile of each pupil. We thereby personalise the curriculum to best meet their needs with an appropriate emphasis on developing functional, life-enhancing skills and knowledge, whilst always maintaining the highest expectations for pupils’ achievements and recognising their entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum.

Our curriculum has the flexibility to address the individual and specific needs of each pupil and is characterised by providing learning which is: personalised; specialised; intensive; goal-directed and outcomes focussed.

  • Curriculum delivery is of a ‘small steps’ approach, whereby skills are broken down into small achievable steps, which are taught in a systematic and consistent way.
  • An important aspect of our approach is the provision of individually designed reinforcement strategies to engage pupils in learning and enable them to experience success in their learning
  • Learning activities are designed to be enjoyable and engaging so that pupils remain motivated and interested.
  • Pupils often have a high proportion of teaching in one to one sessions, with frequency of repetition to ensure effective development of skills.
  • There is always an emphasis on generalising skills to varied environments and settings as soon as possible to ensure that skills are functional and useful. All teaching aims for increased fluency and independence, as far as possible
  • Pupils are also taught the requisite skills to learn within a group setting, building up these skills in a systematic and consistent way.
  • Speech & Language therapy and Occupational therapy programmes are embedded into each pupils’ daily learning programmes, and hence form an integral part of the child’s curriculum.

KS4 and Sixth Form

During KS4 and Sixth Form there is an increasing focus on preparing our students for transition to further education and for adult life, with a view to enabling them to live as independently as possible in the future.

The curriculum therefore focuses on:

  • Language & communication
  • Personal, Social & Emotional Education and Independence
  • Key Functional skills: Maths, English & ICT
  • Life Skills: Independence in daily living skills, including personal hygiene, cooking, washing and cleaning
  • Vocational skills:
    • Horticulture
    • Work related learning: students participate in on-site work experiences appropriate to their interests and abilities
    • Where appropriate, students have the opportunity to access work experience or volunteer placements in the community
  • Leisure and Recreation
  • Creative Arts

Curriculum Impact

“Learning has been defined in cognitive psychology as an alteration in long-term memory: ‘If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned. Progress, therefore, means knowing more (including knowing how to do more) and remembering more. When new knowledge and existing knowledge connect in pupils’ minds, this gives rise to understanding. As pupils develop unconscious competence and fluency, this will allow them to develop skills, i.e. the capacity to perform complex operations, drawing on what is known.”

The basis on which we work at Quest, whereby we provide learning which is:

  • Personalised
  • Specialised
  • Intensive
  • Goal-directed and outcomes focussed
  • Guided by pupil performance

And is informed by:

  • Evidence -based methods

The outcome of which is: generalised, mastered, functional skills.

External Accreditation for all students

All students work towards external accreditation at the end of KS4 and Sixth Form. The purpose of external accreditation is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of pupils. Courses are selected based on the relevance to pupils’ needs and abilities, as well as the personal interested of each individual.

Accreditation options at KS4 and/or Sixth form:

  • Entry Levels: Maths, English, IT.
  • Asdan: Transition Challenge
  • Asdan: Towards Independence
  • Asdan: Personal & Social development
  • Other Asdan Awards or Certificates as appropriate to individual needs and interests