At St Nicholas School the curriculum comprises the National Curriculum/ EYFS and the school’s broader curriculum. These sit together to meet student’s individual learning needs and support their progress. All student’s in the school have access to the National Curriculum at an appropriate level and subject areas are planned creatively to provide stimulating, motivating and relevant learning experiences.
Students are taught literacy and numeracy skills commensurate with their age and development. There is a focus on teaching skills in these core subject areas that are functional and relevant to the individual student. Students learn in whole class groups and small group sessions and it is strongly believed that students benefit greatly and learn most from having opportunities to interact with others and learn collaboratively. Student’s make progress towards individual literacy and numeracy targets which are developed in line with individual needs and interests. In the senior department students have the opportunity to work towards accreditation in these core subject areas. The humanities are taught through cross-curricular ‘World Studies’ topics, which develop functional skills and student’s understanding of the world around them both in local and global contexts. The creative arts, including music, art, drama and dance are very important elements of the curriculum and students benefit from weekly sessions with specialist teachers in these areas.
Students have access to a wide range of sporting and outdoor activities which are provided both on site and in the local community. The school has a number of trained Rebound Therapists and students participate in regular sessions on the trampolines. Weekly swimming sessions either off site or in the hydrotherapy pool, are in place for all classes, with students’ benefitting from lessons with trained swimming instructors. Other PE activities on offer include gymnastics, climbing, dance, mountain biking and boxing. A broad range of outdoor/ community learning opportunities are on offer across the school, including visits in the local community, a Forest School, horse-riding, travel skills training and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. The school organises a number of residential trips each year which provide enriching and life-affirming experiences for our students.
Communication in its broadest sense, is a central part of the curriculum for all students at St Nicholas School. A range of AAC (Augmented and Alternative Communication) systems are in place to support individual pupils in the best way. These include Makaton sign language, symbol based communication aids, E-Tran boards, eye-gaze computers and Objects of Reference. These systems are a central part of the learning environment and give students the means to initiate, respond and interact with their world. Students in all classes have access to a wide range of ICT. Computers, iPads and computerised teaching aids are available, and can be adapted to the needs of individual pupils. The school has the latest eye gaze technology and software and a range of interactive sensory equipment and two sensory rooms.
Students at St Nicholas School with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) will be able to access the SHINE curriculum. This is a focused curriculum based around 4 key areas of learning.
Communication and Interaction
Knowledge and Understanding
The purpose of the SHINE curriculum is to provide students with a sensory, holistic and highly individualised education, with targets that focus on life skills, independence and future needs. The curriculum provides a variety of interventions which are used to support individual student development. These include:
The MOVE (Mobility Opportunities via Education) approach, which supports the development of physical skills through a range of learning activities.
Active Education: An intervention based on the theory of Conductive Education. This develops student’s physical and cognitive skills to promote independence.
Intensive Interaction: An approach that focuses on developing skills for communication and interaction that precede speech development.
Tac Pac: A music and movement approach to physical development to develop body awareness in a sensory way.
Students with the most complex needs access an educational programme called Shared Goals which is set up with a multi-disciplinary team, the teacher, parents and carers.