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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

Please find an interactive overview of the school's Whole School curriculum Long Term Overview with Key texts (Feb 22), which details our planning and progressive teaching and learning objectives as children progress throughout the school. We hope you find it helpful and would appreciate any feedback you would like to give. 

Phonics and Reading at Blackmarston - Jan 21

Letter to parents and carers about the new Blackmarston Curriculum 2020-21

Recovery Curriculum


Blackmarston School recognised at the end of the Summer term 2020, that it may be difficult for our children to pick up the curriculum at the same stage that they left it when the school went into lockdown, particularly those children who had been absent for over 5 months when they returned in September 2020. As such, Blackmarston School is following a specific recovery curriculum for the first half term, based upon the work of Barry Carpenter. His think piece, ‘A Recovery Curriculum:  Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic’, describes how children will have experienced the loss of routine, structure, social interaction, opportunities and freedom during lockdown. Barry Carpenter suggest that:

‘From loss emanates three significant dynamics that will impact majorly on the mental health of our children. Anxiety, trauma and bereavement are powerful forces. For them all to appear at once in an untimely and unplanned fashion is significant for the developing child. Our children are vulnerable at this time, and their mental-health fragile. And on top of that, they are witnessing a sea of adult anxiety, which they unwittingly are absorbing’

Barry Carpenter also suggests that ‘now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental wellbeing, and secure positive development of the child’, before we focus on the recovery of lost knowledge.

We have developed a recovery curriculum to enable the staff and children to reconnect, to re-establish engagement, relationships and emotional well-being. The recovery curriculum will allow children to understand and process the many emotions that they will have experienced. Our Recovery Curriculum will be responsive and sensitive to the needs of each learner, and will prioritise emotional well-being and connections to ensure each child is ready for learning. Our Recovery Curriculum theme is ‘Together’ and we have sourced a number of beautiful storybooks to support the topic across all our classes.

We are aiming for all children to have formally started our new whole-school curriculum by Autumn term (2) 2020.

                        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.
The Blackmarston Curriculum has developed its own curriculum areas. These have been designed to deliver the national curriculum with minimal subject specific learning, to promote contextualised learning and to support the overall development of our learners.

The Blackmarston Curriculum has been carefully developed to meet the unique needs of our learners. As part of our curriculum review process, parents and carers were invited to participate in a curriculum survey. The parent and carer voice was clear: independence, life skills, communication and play skills were viewed as the most important areas of learning for their children. The staff were also asked to complete the same survey and the feedback matched the views of the parents/carers. 


This feedback was used to create the three core areas of the Blackmarston Curriculum: My Communication, My Independence and My Thinking. These core areas underpin the entire curriculum and ensure that everything we do is meaningful and relevant for our learners. Our Curriculum is designed to teach our children the skills they need, in a way that they can learn. 

Core Curriculum Areas

Subject Areas Overview

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

Jungle Animals

Plants and Growing

The High Street

EYFS Year 2

All About Me


Polar Animals


In The Garden

At The Beach

EYFS Year 3

Friends, Family and Pets

In The Sky

(Light, dark and weather)


Once Upon A Time

On The Farm

(Food and animals)


KS1 Year 1


(Materials, now and then, maps, directions)

The Queen


(Plants, seasonal changes)

Me And My Body



(Weather, now and then, transport, forces)

KS1 Year 2

Traditional Tales



True Heroes



Lower KS2 Year 1



The Elements

Music Of The World

Me And My Body


Lower KS2 Year 2


The Stone Age


Food And Where It Comes From

Looking After Our World

Staying Safe And People Who Help Us

Upper KS2 Year 1


The Arctic and Antarctic

Kings and Queens

Staying Healthy


The Seaside, Now And Then

Upper KS2 Year 2

Inventors and Inventions


Staying Safe

Life on Earth

Celebrations Around The World

The Environment And Climate

Blackmarston Long Term Curriculum Overview