Curriculum Intent 

Ashgate School Curriculum reflects our school ethos. Developing independence, communication, confidence, self-regulation and self-help skills is at the forefront of what we do to ensure we are preparing our children for life beyond Ashgate. Education is a continuous process of growth and development throughout life. At Ashgate School we believe that every child deserves the best possible learning opportunities and access to an enriching environment to reach their full potential. 



Through careful research, by drawing on in-house expertise, and including Equals published Schemes of Work, Ashgate’s Curriculum has been carefully designed to support the children’s learning at each stage of their development. The Curriculum has been organised into four subsections. Children are not limited to one of these curriculums and they may access aspects of one or two of them depending on their ability levels across the different areas of learning.  

  1. The Pre-Formal Curriculum is designed for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and complex medical needs who are working consistently and over time within band 1 and 2.   
  2. The Informal Curriculum is aimed at children who have complex Autism, communication and sensory processing needs who are working consistently and over time within band 2 and 3.   
  3. The Semi- Formal Curriculum is written for children with a variety of different needs from Autism, communication needs and learning difficulties. They are working within band 3 and 6. As children are ready to progress from the Semi-Formal Curriculum, we bridge this gap by setting more manageable targets. This ensures the children are successfully prepared to tackle the challenges of the National Curriculum.  
  4. The National Curriculum follows a themed based formal curriculum which integrates relevant National Curriculum areas and skills. This is taught through the use of specialist techniques which scaffold their learning. Working within typical or near age related expectations. 

We are using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme in our teaching and learning of Reading and Phonics.  This is used with children who are able to access this level of learning and children on the Informal or Pre-Formal curriculum learn phonics through other phonological awareness activities.

Personalised learning All the children at Ashgate School have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which details the challenging outcomes that they will achieve by the end of their Key Stage, in preparation for the next stage of their education.  These broad and ambitious outcomes are set in consultation with parents who outline their aspirations for their child during the Annual Review Process. Teachers utilise our highly specialised differentiated curriculum to plan accordingly for each of these outcomes. We recognise that not all of our children are subject specific learners and our curriculum reflects this. Where children can access subject specific learning we are aspirational and provide a relevant and meaningful curriculum. All our children follow a multi-sensory, holistic curriculum experience, which is individualised and appropriate for their developmental stage. We strongly believe that “if a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn” (Carpenter 2019). Learning is a two-way process, we provide experiences and opportunities to learn, then transfer these skills to meaningful real-life activities. Through re-visiting skills in different contexts, we ensure that our children not only generalise but also maintain and master skills over time. Ashgate School has a strong commitment to working closely with parents. We also work closely with a wide range of professionals who are dedicated to supporting the diverse needs of the pupils. Their input ensures that further specialist knowledge is also included and at the centre of any long-term outcomes stated on the children’s EHCPs. Professionals at Ashgate include psychologists, psychiatrists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, school nurse, learning disability nurses, art therapists, specialist music teachers, sensory support services [HI and VI] and educational psychologists.  By working in partnership with other professionals, teachers and teaching assistants break down these long term outcomes into more manageable, achievable targets. These relate to the children’s education and additional specific needs. Teachers create Pupil Progress Records and Individual Education Plans for each child, documenting their personalised targets and identifying strategies for overcoming any barriers to learning for the forthcoming yearSee individual policies for further information and detail regarding approaches and interventions.  Impact The drive and commitment of all staff to promote pupil progress is unwavering and this results in excellent outcomes for our learners. Our dedication to the continued development and review of our curriculum leads to outstanding classroom practice where fun, stimulating and engaging learning environments are created for the children.  In turn, the Curriculum supports the planning of individualised targets, where, “small steps of progress are regularly recorded by staff. Leaders monitor the progress of pupils to make sure that targets are precise, meaningful and challenging. This meticulous process is working very well. The school’s own records demonstrate that pupils are making excellent progress from their starting points.” Ofsted April 2019 


Ashgate Specialist Support School, Crossacres Rd, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 5DR

Main Contact: Lisa ThompsonTel: 0161 359 5322Email:

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