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The Curriculum at Penkford School supports the mission statement ‘Success Every Day’ by giving pupils the opportunity to learn and develop in a supportive and creative environment in which there is a focus on recognising achievement and supporting progression.

Penkford’s bespoke curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils re-engage with formal education upon admission, and that they feel safe and happy within our learning environments, taking into account our school’s unique characteristics and the complex range of SEMH needs which we cater for. We aim to build pupils’ aspirations by demonstrating possibilities for their future lives.

The curriculum is individualised, creative, innovative and flexible, allowing for the needs of each pupil to be met. Physical and mental wellbeing are prioritised within our curriculum design allowing children opportunities to exhibit spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding.

The school is committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum, based on the National Curriculum for those pupils of compulsory school age. This is blended with opportunities for pupils to develop functional skills, independence skills and skills for working life. Some subjects are taught discretely while others are covered via a creative curriculum approach. The timetable and Curriculum are reviewed annually to ensure compliance with current legislation and guidance whilst considering best practice within special needs education.

The curriculum is planned to provide continuity and progression. It enables pupils to make connections and transfer skills and to think creatively and solve problems. It also develops pupils’ capacity to work independently and collaboratively.

In addition to the academic curriculum, individualised timetables often provide opportunities for pupils to withdraw from some lessons to participate in Additional Needs intervention sessions, PDBW development sessions, multisensory play sessions and Draw and Talk therapy sessions with designated teachers, learning mentors and teaching assistants.

Curriculum Overview Diagram


PSHCE is a timetabled session every week which follows a topic-based long term plan.

Assemblies and PSHCE lessons on important cultural and religious festivals and commemorative days ensure a school wide understanding of the world around us.

The development of social and communication skills is also a key part of the PSHCE/SMSC curriculum and we have discrete, weekly Communication and Social Skills (CSS) lessons timetabled for each Key Stage.

Further information on SMSC curriculum and development can be found in the SMSC curriculum overview and SMSC Policy.

Sex and Relationships Education

Sex and Relationships Education is taught in PSHCE and Science lessons at a level appropriate to the level of understanding of the young people.

Parents may request that their child is excused from Sex Education.

Further information on SRE curriculum can be found in the Sex and Relationships Education Policy.

Safeguarding Curriculum

We meet the needs of our more vulnerable pupils by working in partnership with Safer Schools Police Officers, the Youth Justice Service, Connexions Careers Service and the Young Peoples’ Drug and Alcohol Team to enrich our curriculum offer and provide targeted, preventative, group and 1:1 sessions.

Further information on Safeguarding curriculum can be found in the Safeguarding Policy.


The curriculum is enriched by educational trips and visits, external visitors to school and opportunities within the timetable to engage with new experiences for example: Kick Boxing, Forest School, gardening, educational visits to museums and art galleries, international WW1 History trips to Belgium and France and 1:1 music tuition provided by St Helens Arts Service.

We endeavour to provide opportunities for pupils who are identified as having a gift or talent to develop their skills and abilities in that area.


Learning outcomes are accredited via a range of qualifications and exam boards. Examples include: AQA unit awards, Arts Award, Entry Level qualifications, Functional Skills Level 1 and 2, BTEC, GCSE. Subject teachers use professional judgement and enter pupils, in consultation with SLT and parents, for qualifications at a level which is accessible but also stretches and challenges pupils to achieve to the best of their potential.

Further information on our current qualification offer can be found in the subject overview documents on the Subject Areas page.


Penkford School. Wharf Road, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside WA12 9XZ

Tel: 01744 678745 | Fax: 01744 678748 | Email: