Formal Pathway


The Formal Curriculum at St Chrisopher’s School provides learners the opportunity to access elements of the National Curriculum at an appropriate pace and in accordance with their individual needs and developmental age. Formal learners require additional support in the 4 areas of need: communication and interaction, cognition and learning, physical and sensory and social, emotional, and mental health. Our bespoke Curriculum places great importance on personal development where pupils are encouraged to progress in self-awareness; self-care, support, and safety; managing emotions; changing and growing; healthy lifestyles and the world they live in. Typically, our Formal learners have moderate learning difficulties and/or Autism spectrum condition where they are working 3-4 years below age-related expectations.  As within the Semi-Formal Pathway, we provide real-life learning experiences where pupils can apply function skills and knowledge across a range of contexts and learning activities. Central to this is access to the community, where pupils are encouraged to visit local places of work, shops, Libraries, Cafés, and community facilities as well as participating in sessions from visitors to school for example, The Police, Pets at Home and Anglican Water just to name a few. The aim of our Formal Curriculum is to develop confidence and independence in our young people to enable them to fulfil their full potential and become active members of the community.   



Pedagogy within the Formal Pathway supports an adapted mainstream model which meets the needs of our learners. The curriculum is therefore largely delivered through discreet skills and knowledge-based lessons, however, opportunities for developing social, emotional, mental health, physical and sensory skills are also embedded into routines and daily school life.  Opportunities are provided across the curriculum to enable pupils to develop independence, fluency, maintenance, and generalisation of skills and knowledge throughout a range of subject areas. 


Subject Overview

 English and Reading

Communication and reading are reinforced continuously throughout the curriculum so that pupils can develop independence and fluency, maintain, and generalise these skills. At KS3 Formal learners participate in 4 weekly English lessons. Each term we focus on a different Hook Book which is used to explore and develop key skills and knowledge in speaking and listening, word recognition, comprehension, handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Further to this, pupils participate in phonics, 1:1 and guided reading sessions dependent upon their ability and need. When pupils enter Key Stage 4, they begin to gather evidence towards Skills for Living and Work Certificate. English Units covered include Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. This can be achieved at Entry Levels 1,2 and 3. There are also examination courses available for pupils working above Entry Level qualifications. 


Science and Technology

The science and Technology Curriculum is built around the following 6 areas of learning: Families and Identity, Around the World Food, Natural Word, Travel and Transport, Sport and Leisure. Each half term pupils complete project-based work linked to the over-arching themes of the Curriculum which broadens their understanding of the wider world around them. During the projects pupils develop skills and knowledge using a range of ICT equipment and applications: such as cameras, iPads, photo and video editing software, green screen, bee bots etc. As well as developing functional English and Maths skills such as following instructions, sequencing information, communicating what happened and recognising cause and effect.



Our SMSC curriculum is integral to our school’s Vision and Values and threads throughout all aspects learning. Pupils across the school worked hard to design our school value characters which all represent important attributes for young people to aspire to: these include Kindness, Positivity, creativity, Responsibility, Respect, Determination, Equality and Honesty. Further to this SMSC is taught discreetly throughout the year where pupils participate in a series of lessons which accumulate in a project day towards the end of the term. Examples of project days include visits to the local church at Harvest Festival, the Interfaith Centre at Lincoln University as well as visitors from the school including homeless charity ‘Let them eat cake’ and Anglican Water. 



Problem solving and thinking skills are embedded into all aspects of learning where pupils are encouraged to develop their independence and work things out for themselves. At KS3 Formal learners participate in 4 weekly Maths sessions which focus on different areas of Maths including number, time, money, measure, shape and space and statistics. These lessons are adapted to meet the individual needs of leaners to ensue all pupils can access the curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to apply their knowledge using practical skills-based activities such as measuring, using money, and planning their time effectively. When pupils enter Key Stage 4, they begin to gather evidence towards Skills for Living and Work Certificate. Maths Units covered include Measure, Time, and Money. This can be achieved at Entry Levels 1,2 and 3. There are also examination courses available for pupils working above Entry Level qualifications.


Keeping Safe

This subject area covers aspects of the PSHE SEND Education Framework including Self-Awareness, Self-care, Support and Safety, Managing Feeling, Changing and Growing. Other aspects of the Framework are taught through Preparing for Adulthood, Healthy Body and Mind and SMSC lessons. Relationship, Sex and Health Education is recognised as a priority in line with the statutory government guidance. As a special school setting, we utilise two specialist programmes that have been created to meet the needs of students with additional needs. ‘The Sex Factor Programme’ and ‘So Safe!’ are delivered across the school. Please see our RSE Keeping Safe page for more information. When pupils enter Key Stage 4 they begin to gather evidence towards Skills for Living and Work Certificate. Keeping Safe units covered include Personal Awareness, Personal Care and Hygiene and Personal Safety.  This can be achieved at Entry Levels 1,2 and 3.



Our creativity curriculum is divided into 6 areas these include: Art

Photography, Media, Music, Dance and Drama. We follow Skills/Knowledge builder progression maps for each area which are embedded into the medium-term. The aims of the Creativity Curriculum are aligned to pupils Social, Emotional, Mental Health, Physical and Sensory individual learning targets. The curriculum therefore provides opportunities to develop skills in Play and Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Productivity and Relaxation, Fine and Gross Motor Skills and Sensory Processing. This year projects have included: Famous Artists and Self-Representation, Wonders of the World Media Projects and a Dance and Music Festival. 


Preparing for Adulthood

At KS3 pupils participate in preparing for Adulthood sessions which provide practical opportunities to develop life skills in Personal Care, Cooking, Money and Shopping, Travel Training, Outdoor Education and The World I Live In. These discreet lessons often involve learning outside the classroom, provide opportunities to develop function English and Maths Skills as well as direct links to the PSHE SEND Curriculum Framework. At KS4 pupils complete AIMS units which develop Skills for Work and Living. These units change every year depending upon the interests and skills set of the pupil cohort, they currently include Knowing the local community and Horticulture.  This can be achieved at Entry Levels 1,2 and 3.


Healthy Body and Mind

Health Body and Mind encompasses a range of areas including Fine and Gross Motor Skills, Emotional Wellbeing, Healthy Lifestyles, Sports Theory, Hydrotherapy and Swimming. Each class is allocated weekly swimming session at One NK Leisure Centre. These sessions are timetable in 6-week blocks to ensure every pupil in the school has access across the school year. The sports facilities at the Secondary School are currently limited, whilst building works are in process. Therefore, we have arranged alternative facilitates to access at the Home of Ruston's Sports Club & Social Club facility for all classes on a weekly basis. We also have a large school field and football pitch, MUGA with basketball net, trampoline and trim trail which are accessed during Healthy Body and Mind sessions. 


World of Work

Pupils participate in a range of sessions which enable them to explore jobs inside and outside of the school and within our local community. These can take place through visits to places of work as well as special visits from people to our school. Example of trips have included Active Areana, the Quad Café, specialised tours of Morrisons supermarket and factories such as PepsiCo and Paul Smith, as well and visitors to school including Pets at Home. In Years 11 to 14, all students are given the opportunity to complete Work Experience in the way that best suits their individual needs. We have built close links with local Lincolnshire businesses as well as providing internal Work Experience opportunities. Each year the school hosts a Careers Fair where St. Christopher’s School aims to provide a high-quality Careers Education and Guidance programme to students where appropriate opportunities will allow for preparation of all students to make those important decisions that ‘influence their future education, careers and role in the world of work.’



Individual Learning Targets and Holistic Mark Book

Teachers use the Holistic Mark Book to select appropriate individual learning targets for each pupil. Progress towards these targets is monitored bi-annually where teachers can update targets at any point if they feel this is necessary. Individual targets are set in the following areas.


Reading and Communication Cognition English
Cognition Math Social, Emotional, and Mental Health
Physical and Sensory
Reading – word recognition

Reading – comprehension

Language – speaking

Language – listening
Writing – handwriting and spelling

Writing – grammar and punctuation





Space and patterns




Mental health

Staying safe



Fine motor skills

Gross Motor skills

Sensory processing


Self-help skills


Each subject area also has a Handbook containing a range of Skills/Knowledge progression maps which are embedded into the medium-term planning documents to ensure learning is sequenced and skills and knowledge build over time.  


Maths and English Stages Mark Book

This acts as a tool to stretch pupils' academic abilities teachers can access this Mark Book where pupils have reached their full potential in either Maths or English using the Holistic Mark Book. The mark book covers content from years 1-6 National Curriculum expectations and considers Entry Level 1-3 criteria as well as foundation GCSE and GCSE higher level. 


Tapestry Learning Journal

Tapestry is a secure journal that allows teachers to add observations of pupils participating and engaging in activities which contribute towards their progress towards individual leaning targets. Teachers can quickly flag the relevant Learning Targets from the Holistic Mark Book, as well as flagging specific Subject Areas, the means evidence is effectively organised, and appropriate information can be found easily. Each observation includes picture, videos and comments which demonstrate this progress. Observations can then be added to each pupil’s Personal Journal, which parents are able to access at home their child’ learning journey from home. All parents can view, like and comment on the observations as well add adding their own observations from home with photos and videos to show what pupils achievements outside of school. 


Moderation Meetings and Intervention

Teachers monitor pupils progress by identifying if they have ‘achieved’, are ‘on track’, need ‘catch up’ or ‘need help’ for each of their target areas bi-annually. Evidence to support this is mainly gathered in books, though for some areas (SEMH and Physical and Sensory) Tapestry evidence is more appropriate. Further to this, teachers participate in subject specific moderation meetings throughout the year discuss what evidence looks like for each of the phases and stages in English and Maths. During these meeting teachers refer to success criteria identified within the Holistic and Stages Mark Books to ensure it is being used consistently across the Pathway. Where gaps in learning are identifies, teachers put intervention plans in place.