Skip to content

The Curriculum – David Lewis School

As a school we want our students to have the opportunity to –

  • Access learning through academic studies and vocational programmes within a unique and personalised curriculum
  • Maximise their independence and everyday skills for life
  • Have their health and medical needs met
  • Have access to additional therapies appropriate to the individual

Through these opportunities students will –

  • Gain academic skills
  • Gain skills for practical activities and work
  • Gain independence skills
  • Become part of the school and wider community
  • Become confident students
  • Feel safe and comfortable
  • Be healthy, happy and resilient young people

Whole School Curriculum Intent

David Lewis School is a Non-Maintained Special School for children and young people with a variety of complex learning and health needs.

We have a wide ranging curriculum with access to excellent learning facilities in our small school on our large campus. Teaching takes place in small groups and teaching methods are always differentiated to meet the needs of every learner. Every student learns differently and we pride ourselves on our differentiation of learning and inclusive approach.

Three curriculum pathways cater for students needs through a differentiated, broad and balanced curriculum. Pathways are ambitious and progressive. The ‘Purple Pathway’ is an informal, sensory curriculum for students with PMLD, working on the engagement model (P1-4). The ‘Green Pathway’ is a semi-formal curriculum that is designed for students working within Pre Key Stage 1-4 (P5-8). The ‘Blue Pathway’ is a formal curriculum for students working within Pre Key Stage 5-6 (P8) to National Curriculum 4 and beyond. Students may move between the pathways as they progress through school, or have elements of more than one pathway within their individualised curriculum.

Literacy and numeracy are embedded within every lesson as well as being taught as discreet lessons of their own on the blue pathway. Pre-Phonics and Phonics are delivered to every student working at that level on a daily basis through “Read, Write Inc. Fresh Start” Reading intervention is also delivered daily to those working at that level through the “Accelerated Reading framework” Each pathway also has an emphasis on independence, personal, social and physical development and vocational skills. The curriculum provides learning that is relevant to each individual to maximise engagement and support outstanding progress. The personalised curriculum allows teachers to differentiate and plan to cater for student’s individual needs, interests and aspirations. It promotes lifelong learning and prepares students for each phase of their education and the transition into adult life.

Accredited learning is promoted at KS4+5 through ASDAN and EQUALS.

Whole School Implementation

Students are assessed before coming to school and on entry to the school via a multi-disciplinary approach. Education and therapy professionals assess the needs of each individual to ensure that the school are able to meet need. We do this by gathering information from previous settings, observations, baseline assessments and professional’s judgements. Teachers and Senior Leaders are then able to use this information to make decisions on which pathways will best suit their individual education, health and therapeutic needs. Planning is informed by a number of curriculum providers including Equals, White Rose Maths, PSHE association, National Centre for Computing Education and the DfE. The long term plan (yearly), medium term plan (termly) and short term plan (weekly) are used to ensure the delivery of a robust and varied curriculum. The weekly plan is personalised to each individual student and is adaptable on a daily basis to suit student’s presentation and needs. Students each have targets that are linked to their EHC plan, which they work towards throughout the school day. Targets are monitored and evidence is recorded online through the schools “Evidence for Learning” platform to plan, monitor and assess progress over time. Targets are reviewed holistically with input from the teacher, senior leadership, and therapists.

Whole School Impact

The curriculum is regularly reviewed to monitor its impact on teaching and learning. By providing a wide range of opportunities this supports students to make the maximum possible progress throughout their time at school. It also supports students to transition out of school and into adult life, whether that be to further education, social care settings, or employment. Students leave school having had the opportunity to maximise their educational progress develop their confidence, independent living skills, skills for work, social skills.

David Lewis School Curriculum Pathways

Purple Pathway – PMLD

The purple pathway at David Lewis School is based around a person centred and holistic curriculum for Students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. The key, core areas of the curriculum focus on Well-being, Communication, Social Relationships, Sensory, Physical, Cognition and Challenge, Self-Determination and Independence, and Creativity. PSHE-SRE is embedded throughout the curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to engage with work experience that is relevant to their level of learning and interests.

Green Pathway – Pre KS1-4

The green pathway at David Lewis School is based around a semi-formal curriculum which is developmental in nature and open to individualisation. At the heart of the curriculum there is a focus on independence, thinking and problem solving, communication and play and leisure; as well as creative studies, physical wellbeing, the wider world, relationships and sex education and work experience from KS4 onwards. Elements of the core national curriculum subjects are embedded within lessons where appropriate.

Blue Pathway – Pre KS 5-6 NC 4 and beyond

The blue pathway at David Lewis School is based around a formal curriculum, focussing on national curriculum subject specific learning, as well as providing opportunities for students to develop and engage with physical wellbeing, play and leisure, the wider world, independence and work experience from KS4 onwards.

Curriculum Subjects


Literacy at David Lewis School has a strong focus on communication as this is an essential part of learning for all of our children and young people. It encompasses the development of skills needed for reading, writing, listening and speaking. Communication and literacy is embedded throughout the whole curriculum as well as being taught discreetly on the blue pathway. Through literacy all students have the opportunity to develop reading, comprehension and recognition skills, writing and mark making skills and total communication. Some students will develop these areas further through specific elements of the national curriculum, such as spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Pre-Phonics, Phonics and Accelerated Reader

Access to phonics is available to all through the “Read Write Inc.” Fresh Start framework. Developed by Ruth Miskin, Fresh Start teaches students at their challenge point, so they learn to read accurately and fluently. They will also develop good comprehension, spelling and punctuation skills through targeted activities. Resources are age-appropriate, matched to students’ increasing knowledge of phonics, and finely levelled to accelerate progress. David Lewis School also uses the Accelerated Reader framework to motivate, monitor and manage students’ independent reading practice. Students have access to 6000 online books at a wide range of levels aligned with their interests and reading level. David Lewis School believe that activities associated with books help build vocabulary and literacy skills and play a fundamental role in reading.


Numeracy is embedded throughout the curriculum at school as well as being taught as a discreet lesson on the blue pathway. There is a focus on giving students confidence to problem solve and use maths functionally throughout their lives, supporting them to make sense of the world we live in. Practical numeracy plays a large part in the curriculum and students have the opportunity to develop their ability to work with numbers and understand mathematical vocabulary/symbols. Some students will also move on to more complex mathematical problems. The numeracy curriculum is bespoke and informed by White Rose Maths, and EQUALS.


Through ICT lessons students learn about using technology to access the world around them. ICT has deep links to maths, science and design technology and these cross curricular links are built into the curriculum. ICT allows students to express themselves and develop ideas through information and communication technology. ICT at David Lewis School provides access to a variety of assistive technologies to support students learning across the curriculum. ICT is supported by the National Centre for Computing Education and students may also have the opportunity to gain accredited learning through ASDAN ICT.


PSHE-SRE curriculum is designed with the support of the PSHE association and is split into 6 sections. These sections are self-awareness, self-care, support and safety, managing feelings, changing and growing, healthy lifestyles, and the world I live in. These sections are then broken down further into topic areas which can then be individualised to each key stage, and each student. By following the PSHE associations framework, students have the opportunity to experience taking and sharing responsibility, feeling positive about themselves and others, develop the ability to exercise personal autonomy, make decisions and contributions, maintain and develop relationships and celebrate achievements. On the purple and green pathways PSHE-SRE is not taught as a discreet lesson and is instead embedded within lessons across the curriculum to ensure that learning is relevant and person centred.


The aim of citizenship is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and understanding to prepare them for life beyond education where they can play a full and active part in society. Citizenship at David Lewis School equips students with an understanding of themselves, the community around them and wider communities. It prepares students to take their place in society and live a life with the most independence possible. The rules and laws of society, managing money and planning for the future are also key areas taught in Citizenship.

Creative Studies

Creative studies includes Art, Drama, Sensory Drama, Music and Dance. Creative studies engages students through different mediums and allows individual talents to flourish. There is a vast amount of opportunity for exploration of interests within creative studies and individual interests inform teachers planning. The creative curriculum has strong links to literacy and numeracy and it is a fantastic opportunity for students to transfer skills learned in other lessons.

Vocational Studies

Vocational studies at David Lewis School are offered throughout the key stages, but with a particular focus at KS4+5. We have a lot of vocational opportunities on site including animal care, enterprise and horticulture, and work experience such as working in the shop, in the café and in our dog grooming parlour. We have strong links to the community where work experience placements are also available should this be in the interest of the individual student. Transition lessons are also key for students who may be leaving school to go to college, a day service, supported living or employment.


Project is a lesson that is run on a half termly basis and covers a topic taken from a core National Curriculum subject such as geography, history and science. Lessons are individualised to the students within the class and draws on areas of interest, as well as access to live resources on site at different times of the year. These lessons are flexible and provide a wide range of learning opportunities and strong cross curricular links.

Physical Development

All students take part in Physical Education and swimming lessons within their timetable. Some students receive additional physical development time in the form of rebound therapy and hydrotherapy. The overarching theme of Physical Development is to promote healthy, active lifestyles, as well as to ensure students get regular access to physical activity which supports health and fitness that promotes being part of a team and embedding values such as fairness and mutual respect. Physiotherapists provide input to ensure that student’s physical needs are supported and developed.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC)

SMSC is embedded throughout the curriculum with a specific focus during our weekly assemblies. SMSC promotes personal development and encourages confident and responsible citizens. The spiritual aspect encourages students to explore a variety of beliefs, faiths and cultures and learn to respect others and their values. Through the moral focus students encounter right and wrong, the law, consequence and ethical issues. Using and developing social skills is promoted including engaging with others both within school and the local community. Opportunities are built into the curriculum for students to understand, respect, take part in and celebrate a wide range of cultures and associated activities.

Responsible gambling

If you would like more information on responsible gambling, there are some websites you can visit:

Or you can contact the gambling support network, GamCare, confidentially on 0808 802 0133.

David Lewis does not promote the lottery to children under the age of 18. David Lewis has implemented the following procedures to prevent children under the age of 18 years old taking part in the lottery:

  • The minimum age for play is detailed on our website
  • Children under the age of 18 are flagged on our database
  • Where possible we check our database to ensure persons are above the legal age limit before data is supplied for the use of a lottery.