Curriculum Structure

We employ a multi-tiered curriculum approach, combining Informal and Semi-Formal models with a Formal model partly based on Literacy and Numeracy from the National Curriculum.

We advise against a strict adherence to a specific curriculum, recognizing that learners on the edges of learning difficulties, such as those described by terms like PMLD, SLD, or MLD, may benefit from some involvement in adjacent curricula.

The base of our multi-tiered curriculum is the Equals Semi-Formal Curriculum (Equals, 2018). All areas of learning are carefully considered and individualized to fit each of our learners, linking to the main areas of need outlined in their EHCPs.

All key curricular areas focus on highly functional skills that our learners will take with them to their future destinations. These areas include:

  • My Communication
  • My Problem Solving
  • My Independence
  • My Creativity
  • My Online safety
  • My SRE
  • My Outdoor Learning

Reading at MacIntyre School

At Macintyre School, we believe every child, including those with autism and Special Learning Needs (SLD), should have the chance to develop their reading skills in a way that aligns with their overall language and thinking abilities. Reading, for us, is about understanding the world through objects, pictures, symbols, and words. Some children with autism may recognize words without grasping their meaning.

Our goal is to nurture a love for reading by recognizing the diverse ways children learn while also focusing on functional reading skills. During their time at MacIntyre School, young people will:

  1. Learn to read from visual information in their surroundings, like schedules and work systems, to better understand the world and become more independent. This includes understanding rules like left-to-right orientation and page turning.
  2. Develop the ability to access various reading materials adapted to their level of understanding, ranging from real objects to written words.
  3. Foster a love for reading through activities like sensory stories, guided reading, and materials tailored to their special interests.
  4. Expand their vocabulary, positively impacting their speaking and listening skills.

How we deliver reading at MacIntyre School:

Reading skills are integrated throughout the curriculum and vocational learning programs.

Some children have regular discrete sessions to work on their reading priorities, while others benefit from a more functional approach across different subjects. Due to the variety of individual needs, each reading provision is tailored to each learner. The provision may include a diverse mix of the following:

This approach ensures that:

  • Children of all abilities can succeed in reading at appropriate levels.
  • Learners enjoy reading in different settings.
  • There's a gradual increase in reading skills and comprehension.
  • There's improvement in understanding and use of spoken language, along with the ability to follow instructions.
  • Children gain reading skills applicable to functional situations, supporting their independence.

Remote learning provision at MacIntyre School

We expect all students to attend school full time. As a school that caters for young people with complex needs, MacIntyre School aims to remain open  throughout any period of lockdown to minimise the impact on learning and support families with meeting their needs. On the rare occasion when the provision may need partial closing (i.e. Covid19 outbreak in a specific group) or in the case of a child needing to isolate, MacIntyre School will provide an individualised set of resources to support remote learning.

The curriculum offered at MacIntyre School is highly individualised in order to meet each young person's needs and take their learning forward from their own individual starting point. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the students’ needs, all of them require 1 to 1 support when accessing learning activities. As a result, when providing resources for home learning during periods of self-isolation, teachers work closely with families in order to provide appropriate resource packs together with additional information on how these activities can be delivered in the household. For those who can benefit from virtual session, the teachers will liaise with families to timetable supported video call to deliver targeted 1 to 1 sessions or to offer pre-recorded lessons via the ‘Evidence for Learning’ platform. 

Careers and work related learning

MacIntyre School Career Lead

Louise Waters

Contact details

Telephone number: 01296 681274

Email address: [javascript protected email address]

Work related learning across the MacIntyre Curriculum

MacIntyre School offers a wide range of activities to help prepare our students effectively for adulthood, working life and life beyond MacIntyre. We provide our students with a range of interesting, exciting and stimulating experiences that will allow us to concentrate on the core skills of communication, independence and emotional development. MacIntyre School offers work experience both internally and externally. Internal work experience opportunities include (but are not limited to), office jobs, horticulture, maintenance and preparing and serving food. External work experience opportunities currently include access to local farms.

As part of our holistic and personalised curriculum our students follow a career pathway. The pathway choice is guided by the students and their parents in conjunction with school staff. Students have the opportunity to follow more than one pathway. The pathways are based on a range of activities as well as their intended final destinations.

Careers education, information, advice and guidance at MacIntyre School can also be understood through reading our Career Policy Statement

Engaging with the wider Community

Our aim at MacIntyre School is to help our students to understand and join in with the community around them as much as they possibly can. At the same time, we want to promote a greater understanding of autism, Severe Learning in our wider community.

We provide as much of our curriculum outside the School as possible. This focus is even stronger in the Sixth Form. This is to enable our students to learn how to generalise and adapt what they learn inside school to the outside world. The main goal is to help students to cope with real life experiences and get a sense of belonging to a wider community.

Measuring the impact of the Careers Curriculum

  • All Post 16 students have a learning journey in place. This includes a career plan. Progress against this plan is tracked in relation to the current year's priorities.
  • The Careers Plan, work related learning intentions, any related ASDAN modules and the learning pathways are reviewed 3 times per year during progress meetings.
  • By evaluating our destination data, we can review whether the careers programme and guidance is effective in preparing our pupils for further education at an appropriate college after School.

Ofsted Report 2020:

Adults keep a firm focus on the intended purpose of all activities. They use various techniques to support communication. Staff know and reinforce pupils’ targets, giving precise and encouraging feedback. Their obvious joy in the progress that pupils make reflects their care about what the school does. 

This school goes above and beyond to support pupils’ personal development.

Assessment of progress at MacIntyre School

At MacIntyre School we aim to give each young person the richest and most appropriate education. It is very important to us to ensure each student is assessed accurately and to know exactly where they are in their learning at any given time. This enables us to develop targeted strategies and learning programmes so they can achieve the best outcomes possible.

We use a basket of assessments to ensure our judgements are accurate and agreed in a multidisciplinary way. This enables us to report on the aspects of learning that are relevant and meaningful for each young person.

The assessment model enables the possibility to tailor the learning intentions to the individual’s needs and his or her unique profile, taking into account the stage the young person is at in his or her cognitive development and learning. This model is based on ipsative assessment. This means that performance is assessed against the starting point of each young person and taking into consideration their unique journey, rather than judging against external criteria and standards. This makes the assessment process a lot more flexible as any changes in performance and needs are taken into consideration when assessing a young person. It also enables teachers to better assess smaller changes over time, for example looking at fluency or maintenance of a skill over time.

In order to collect data accurately and consistently, and to ensure the data and evidence collected is monitored on a regular basis, we follow the MacIntyre School assessment cycle.

Our core belief is that if the input to each young person's learning is the very best it can be, then the progress made by that student, whatever that is, will be the very best that they could have made. It is therefore essential that teachers fully understand each young person's needs and are able to collect data and robust evidence to be able to build a narrative of progress and be able to accurately judge the progress made by each learner.

We do not use any system of measurement of progress to compare any one young person with another. The numerical data we collect is only used to see the progress being shown within each learning intention. This data can only be understood directly related to the context, student and learning intention.

The learning intentions set are broad to enable young people to show additional lateral progress so the progress can be seen as a whole rather than as very specific measurable steps. This also enables to better see any emergent skills and to set up further learning intentions based on the previous learning and the young person’s interests and talents.

All students who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a Statement of Special Educational Needs must, by law, have an Annual Review. Every internal and external specialist that works with the young person (Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Music Therapist, etc.) provides a report and input to the review as appropriate. The review highlights the achievements made during the year by the young person and this forms the basis of the projection of the next year’s curricular aims and objectives.

Exam results

We are required to show exam results for our pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 and 5.

We are a school for children and young people with severe learning difficulties, autism and complex needs; currently, all of our students are working below the levels required to be able to achieve GCSE or other formal qualifications.

Young people in the sixth form of our school do follow accredited ASDAN programmes of study. This year students in the sixth form achieved at least 2 accredited ASDAN modules. Across the school 18 young people achieved a total of 42 modules between them.

Find out more about the school

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