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At Castle Wood School our curriculum is divided into 3 distinct levels but with overlap between the three.

Informal (P1-4)

Semi-formal (P4-8)

Formal (P8 to NC Level 2)


The school is divided into EYFS, KS1 and KS2.  However, the EYFS play-based framework is not confined to children under the age of 5 but extends right across the school where children are functioning at a level below NC Level 1.


The semi-formal curriculum is divided into 6 areas closely related to the EYFS Areas of Learning.  The diagram below shows how the curriculum fits together across the school.  The two central pillars of the curriculum are communication and cognition, which have slightly different names at each level.



PSHE PE English Maths


& Humanities

Arts and




Personal, social

and emotional

Physical Communication and Literacy Cognition and Numeracy Understanding of the World Expressive arts and design



Self care and independence Physical Communication Cognition    

Children’s key targets are drawn from the children’s individual needs within the two central pillars plus at least one other area of learning.


Lesson objectives are clearly related to the children’s key targets and provide a range and variety of opportunities for children to practice central skills over and over again.


Programme of learning

Each curriculum area has a Programme of Learning which outlines the essential opportunities for learning each child needs.  These essential opportunities are based on what children need to learn in order to lead fulfilled lives, both as children and eventually as adults. 


Schemes of work

Each Programme of Learning has a Scheme of Work attached to it.  These schemes provide activities and ideas for how to teach the programmes, and are especially useful for staff who are new to the school.  Teachers can use the schemes to help them to plan day-to-day work with the children. There are schemes of work for each of the three levels, plus schemes of work that bridge from informal to semi formal.



Each half-term a theme is identified and this provides the context within which to teach the Programmes of Learning.  Thus day-to-day planning takes account of both the provided Schemes of Work, the half-term theme plus any other published or unpublished schemes and activities that are suitable for children studying at P4-8.


Documents to download

Informal Curriculum (p1-p4) - Policy and guidelines


Programs of learning - Communication        



                                     Self care and independence


Schemes of Work -   Cognition     


                                 Self help skills  

                                 Teaching drinking and eating 

                                 Toilet training


Specific guidelines - Designing lessons for pupils with PMLD   

                                Good teaching in PMLD

                                Learning environment    

                                Routes for Learning  

                                Sample lesson designs


Bridging curriculum (p3-p5) - My Cognition   

                                              My Communication


Semi-Formal (p4-p8) - Cognition   



Castle Wood School reading strategy