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Curriculum - (Further information found in School Prospectus)

Key Assessment documents for measuring progress across the Blackmarston Curriculum, covering the Pre-formal / Semi-formal and Formal curricula, as well as The My Thinking , My Independence and My Communication Core Subject areas

                        The Blackmarston Curriculum                                         

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”

Ignacio Estrada

At Blackmarston School, we believe that positive relationships are the foundation for learning. Children must have all their needs met to allow them to fulfil their potential and so we strive to create a safe and nurturing learning environment, staffed by skilled adults who are attuned to, and able to meet the complex needs of our learners. We understand that behaviour is a form of  communication, and that building effective relationships will enhance children's engagement with learning and build resilience. We focus on establishing strong relationships initially, so that our children are ready to learn, secure in the attachments that have established with their peers and staff alike.


Our curriculum at Blackmarston School is skill and context-based and encourages active engagement in learning. The curriculum focuses on developing the key skills of communication, independence and thinking, as these are all transferrable skills that equip children and young people for life beyond the school. Our curriculum strives to be responsive to each learner, and builds on individual strengths and interests. The National Curriculum forms part of our whole school curriculum and the programmes of study for each subject are followed (where they are relevant and accessible) as part of a thematic curriculum.


A rolling curriculum plan is in place, which offers a balance of stimulating contexts for learning through different learning experiences, themes and subjects. Overarching themes provide relevant learning contexts, allowing children to make links and generalise learning. We aim to provide a flexible, meaningful and holistic curriculum framework, which enables all children to communicate, to be independent and to think and problem-solve across a range of contexts. This means that compartmentalised learning will rarely be seen at the school. Our curriculum offers continuity, challenge and progression across the EYFS, KS1 and 2, ensuring that all children achieve their potential. Assessment 'flight paths' ensure that our personal targets are aspirational and that we have high expectations for all our learners.


Learners broadly follow the EYFS curriculum during the Early Years. This is a developmental curriculum and plays a diagnostic role in determining the learning pathway they will follow in KS1 and 2. The Blackmarston Curriculum follows a three-tiered approach from KS1 (based on the principles of the Equals curriculum and the work of Penny Lacey):


  • The Pre-Formal pathway is for learners working at around levels P1 to P3ii and allows learners to follow a personalised curriculum with targets focused around their EHCP, under the core areas of 'My Communication, My Independence and My Thinking'. The school curriculum provides the context for learning.
  • The Semi-Formal pathway is for learners working between P4 and P8 and follows a life-skills based approach to learning.
  • The Formal pathway is for learners working at level P9 and above and introduces more opportunities for subject specific and formal learning.

Blackmarston Phonics;

From Early Years Foundation Stage, through to KS1 and KS2, Blackmarston use the 'twinkl phonics' programme, and related resources, to teach reading skills. This systematic and synthetic approach, focuses on decoding, (reading) and encoding, (spelling) skills. The programme is in six phases:

Phase one promotes speaking and listening skills. We use 'Attention Autism' and 'Focus groups', to develop attention before moving to phonological awareness, and  oral blending/segmenting;

Phases two to five focus on high quality phonic work to help children develop fluent word reading skills. In addition to discreet phonics teaching, phonic skills are applied in reading and writing opportunities as well as in other areas of the curriculum. Teachers will check pupil progress i.e. in their understanding of grapheme-phoneme (letter sound) correspondence.

Phase Six Children who are secure at phase 5 can go onto phase 6, focusing on consolidation of skills and spelling. Sessions include direct teaching of spelling strategies, guided reading, and high-frequency words.

Core Curriculum Areas

Whole School Rolling Thematic Programme


Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

EYFS Year 1

My Busy Body


People Who Help Us

The Zoo

In the Garden

My Street

EYFS Year 2

All About Me

In the Sky

Polar Animals

Once Upon A Time

On the Farm

At The Beach

KS1 Year 1


(Materials, now and then, maps, directions)

Look, Listen, do!

Rhythm and Rhyme

My Body


Transport and Travel

KS1 Year 2

Traditional Tales


Colours around us




Lower KS2 Year 1



Light and Dark

Music Of The World

Me And My Body


Lower KS2 Year 2



The Stars and Beyond

Food And Where It Comes From

Looking After Our World

Safety and Rescue

Upper KS2 Year 1

Celebrating Differences

The Arctic and Antarctic

Kings and Queens

Staying Healthy

Julia Donaldson

The Seaside, 

Upper KS2 Year 2

Creators, makers and inventors

Lighting up the Past

Staying Safe

Life on Earth

Day and Night


Blackmarston Long term Overview