At Barbara Priestman Academy we offer a rich and varied curriculum that aims to inspire and excite learners at all stages of their development. Our curriculum model is based on developmental stages that ensure a mastery approach to learning across the subjects. The curriculum design incorporates the elements that students will need to access qualifications in KS4 and KS5 that are appropriate to their ability level.

Alongside the academic aspects of the curriculum we offer a comprehensive program of CIAEG and PSHE within each year group, these are delivered in a flexible way that is appropriate to the needs of the learners in a given cohort.

All subjects are planned using our Bloom model which ensures that planning for progress is embedded at each stage of learning, this is underpinned by our Thinking Schools Accreditation; Pupils use a ‘thinking toolkit’ that include Hyerlie’s Maps and De Bono’s Hats; this develops and encourages independent thinking in a range of scenarios. Learning for all pupils is closely linked to their Learning Plans which are developed in conjunction with their EHCP’s. This ensures that pupils are always working towards their agreed goals.

In KS3 all pupils will study maths, english, science, humanities, music, DT, MFL and PE.  At KS4 pupils will complete appropriate and relevant qualifications in maths, english, science and humanities, there are also option choices including Performing Arts, DT, MFL (German) and ICT. We ensure that all pupils are on pathways that will stretch, challenge and provide routes of progression for the future. In KS5 pupils will continue to study maths and english but will also access a broad variety of vocational qualifications. Duke of Edinburgh is a large part of the curriculum and is delivered at the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards stages.

We are incredibly fortunate to have our own Forest School and outdoor learning area, this includes a range of animals such as horses, sheep and chickens. We also have many more animals that do not brave the outdoors! The outdoor learning area is used by many subjects and is also used for specific forest school sessions delivered by our forest school trained practitioners, sessions are based around the core forest school principles and the ‘5 R’s’ – Readiness, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness, Responsibility and Resilience; overtime pupils grow this skill set and are able to transfer these skills more widely.

At Barbara Priestman we know that academic qualifications simply aren’t enough to provide our young people with all the skills they need to be prepared for adult life. To meet these wider needs all pupils experience P4C (Philosophy for Children), Dramatic Enquiry and Question of the Week – these teach pupils how to consider issues from a range of perspectives and communicate more effectively with their peers. In doing so we foster the development of thinking skills in our young people that they can then go on to use throughout life.

Work experience is offered at year 11 onwards and can be delivered within our setting in our school café or around the grounds.  For those pupils who can access different environments we offer placements with a range of external providers.  Where necessary these will be supported to ensure that all pupils are able to access these experiences.

Independence is commonly cited as the main aspiration of parents and carers for their young people. To allow independence skills to grow we offer independent skills lessons and also have our own independent travel trainers who will work with families and young people at a personalised pace to achieve the goals set.

In order to support the curriculum, pupils at Barbara Priestman also access a range of therapeutic input and interventions such as Bowen Therapy, access to a counsellor, Girls/Boys groups and many other activities that enhance their learning, social communication and emotional well-being.