Secondary Curriculum

Kingsmead Curriculum

Guiding Principles:

Kingsmead School offers an engaging curriculum designed to inspire and challenge our pupils to make outstanding progress in aspects of their life and learning.

Pupils will follow the National Curriculum but the approach will be enquiry and nurture based, with a strong emphasis on the development of social and emotional awareness, resilience and self regulation

Kingsmead recognises that we are preparing our pupils to live in a diverse and rapidly changing World where the skills of independence and self regulation will be key to future success. Alongside our academic curriculum, we believe in ensuring our pupils have a broad range of ‘life’ skills and cultural experiences. Alongside knowledge of how to keep themselves safe including sex and relationships education. There is a strong emphasis on developing literacy and British values, as well as the identification of core competences related to the world of work.  Pupils will also be given opportunity to acquire and expand a broad range of social and emotional tools to build and shape their character.  This is achieved via a range of activities linked to developing a wider and deeper understanding of themselves and the world they live in. 

We foster a love of reading provide pupils with opportunity to develop and articulate their opinions in a forum designed to demand deeper thinking and questioning, in order to equip our pupils with the skills needed to respond positively to the demands of a dynamic and diverse society. We want our pupils to be positively challenged to think about why they are learning, as well as what they are learning.

Pupils will undertake recognised assessments and gain nationally-recognised qualifications at the end of key stage 4. Where pupils are significantly below age-related expectations, the core disciplines of English and mathematics will be prioritised in their timetable until they have “closed the gap”. The identification of pupils who will benefit from such a strategy will begin during the primary school transition programme and Kingsmead induction and will be supplemented with baseline testing once the pupil has joined the school.


The core aims:

·         to provide pupils with the requisite skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience to make aspirational assessments of their post 16 options and make positive next steps post Kingsmead

·         to provide a safe space for pupils to better understand themselves and develop their resilience, confidence and sense of personal responsibility

·         To maximise the individual’s potential developing communication skills, sensory capabilities and personal independence

·         To be characterised by breadth, balance, relevance, differentiation, progression and continuity that is suited to the needs within each school

·         To reflect teaching approaches and methods which best enhance the individual pupil’s ability to learn and to be delivered at a level and rate suited to the age and learning ability of each individual pupil

·         To take full account of each child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This may require specific modifications of, or dis-applications from, various National Curriculum requirements

·         To promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school, and within society

·         To provide a stimulating learning environment which promotes effective learning and enables pupils to experience a sense of enjoyment and achievement throughout their school career

·         To encourage pupils to recognise, record and celebrate positive achievements in all areas of personal, educational and community life

·         To regularly and consistently record each child’s progress using appropriate methods of formative and summative assessment

·         To ensure equality of opportunity regardless of gender, race, culture, religion, social disadvantage or disability

·         To be monitored, evaluated, modified and revised as necessary, reflecting changes in cohorts and developments identified in the School Improvement Plans

Special School

Pupils follow the National Curriculums for KS3 and KS4. Teachers should build on the knowledge and skills that pupils have been taught at Key Stages 1 and 2, so where gaps in knowledge and skills are identified, pupils will always be given opportunity and time to revisit these, as appropriate, across all subjects. Interventions may be used to meet need and this supports all pupils in achieving outcomes in Key Stage 4.  We have a strong focus on our nurture curriculum which is designed to support pupils through a holistic approach in bridging previous learning gaps in a nurturing environment. Through the use of a topic based curriculum designed to engage and enthuse pupils there is a strong emphasis on knowledge acquisition, cross-curricular learning and development of social and emotional resilience and critical thinking skills. An evolving KS4 pathway will also look to including further work on emotional regulation, metacognitive strategies, life skills, school engagement and skills for building positive relationships while working towards ASDAN outcomes in PSD: further enhancing the offer and the nurture curriculum as a vehicle to support pupils in working towards accessing a traditional core curriculum in key stage 4 and beyond.

As part of the core curriculum, pupils in key stage 4 work towards appropriate qualifications in English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science and ICT.  Pupils are provided with opportunity to shape their learning by pursuing qualifications in our “options” subjects which include Design Technology, Sport, Food and Art.  There is also a strong focus on careers and guidance to ensure all pupils get the support they need to make the necessary steps into the next phases of their education/employment.







Pupils with higher levels of social/emotional resilience and confident independent learners

Higher levels of learning anxiety, low levels self-awareness/emotional regulation, complex SEMH often co-morbid with other areas of SEN

Blend of nurture and core pupils where elements of nurture support are still required to facilitate engagement and meet SEMH need.

Statutory Content/Accredited Courses

National Curriculum.  GCSE/Level 2 qualifications

National Curriculum.  Entry level qualifications up to Level 2 (shaped by individual needs of pupils)

National Curriculum.  GCSE/Level 2 qualifications



Pupils who are able to attend a mainstream school will undergo a short-term programme that focuses on preparing an appropriate mindset to support re-integration into another mainstream school and mitigate against large gaps in learning and development. For pupils requiring longer term intervention or for those that are unable to return to mainstream the focus will be on re-engagement in education and rapidly identifying and bridging gaps in learning.  Due to the atypical admission points and often historically disrupted learning the curriculum offer is focused around preparing pupils for their next steps in education or employment. Typically a core curriculum will be followed, with accredited qualifications being attained.

Students with English as a second language will undergo a language and skills acquisition programme with TFEL trained teachers. From here, students will either enter a pathway with a more nurtured approach to learning, similar to the Special School or enter the core curriculum pathway.



Transition to employment

Preparation for independence


Language Acquisition


Pupils able to cope with greater learning/social demands

Pupils with large gaps in learning, learning anxiety, SEN needs not identified

Low literacy levels, SEN needs not been identified, learning anxiety

Pupils with low language acquisition/functional literacy

Statutory Content/Accredited Courses

National Curriculum.  GCSE/Level 2 qualifications

National Curriculum.  Entry level qualifications up to Level 1

National Curriculum.  Entry level qualifications up to Level 2 (shaped by individual needs of pupils)

National Curriculum.  Entry level qualifications up to Level


Hospital Medical (Castle)

The Castle Education Centre is used for young people who are unable to attend school for medical reasons and are referred by their mainstream school or via the Local Authority SEND team with an EHCP or a draft EHCP. Pupils often follow a more bespoke learning pathway that reflects and supports young people with specific medical needs.  There is a core learning offer of Maths, English, Science, Humanities, Art PHSE and ICT where pupils work towards nationally recognised qualifications in these subjects. All pupils also receive alternative provision engagement opportunities within their timetables, some of which allow them to progress towards a level 1 qualification.   The school maintain strong links with the medical, SEND and educational professionals who are supporting the young people to ensure there is an integrated approach to providing a rich and relevant learning experience that supports pupil transition back into a mainstream setting or into post 16.




Hospital Ward


Pupils with social/emotional resilience and confident independent learners

Pupils who are too ill to attend learning on site and need to re-engage with the education system

Pupils who are in hospital for prolonged periods of time

Statutory Content/Accredited Courses

National Curriculum.  GCSE/Level 2 qualifications

National Curriculum.  GCSE/Level 2 qualifications

Online provision monitored by Castle staff and set by their home school


Personalised Programmes/Gateway

Personalised Programmes is a pathway that is made available for Kingsmead’s most vulnerable and educationally dis-enfranchised pupils.  All pupils on this pathway have been unsuccessful on accessing other educational settings in Derby, most have EHCPs and is part of our Special School function, many are LAC, many are subject to Child Criminal Exploitation and most have current or recent involvement with Youth Offending Services.  All pupils are considered educationally and socially vulnerable.

The personalised programme curriculum is shaped to ensure the learning offer is accessible and engaging whilst still being ambitious.  We aim to inspire and challenge our pupils to learn and progress in all aspects of their life and learning. Working towards the National Curriculum will be prioritised in core/facilitating subjects such as English, maths, science and ICT.  Pupils within Personalised Programmes have experienced significant interruption to their education.  In response, the curriculum focuses on identifying and addressing these gaps so that pupils have the knowledge, understanding and skills to make informed choices and ultimately succeed in their next stage of learning.

Personalisation is central to the success of this curriculum.  The overall ‘packages’ that are put together for pupils are individualised and based on the needs, ability and circumstances of each pupil.  Whilst very few packages look the same or are delivered in the same way – all pupils within Personalised Programmes study a ‘core offer’.  This constitutes English, maths, science, ICT and PSHCE.  Additional learning and development opportunities stem from this offer.  These range from therapeutic placements to help address emotional trauma to technical and vocational placements to provide a gateway to a potential future career.

Gateway is an assessment process, which is responsive to the referral route and used to enable readjustment time for pupils who may have had changes to school setting. The assessment process collates information about academic ability, readiness for learning and new or emerging needs. Following time in the Gateway, informed decisions will be made and pupils will transition into the next most appropriate setting. This may be Specialist setting, PRU or mainstream.

The Gateway will provide a detailed analysis of the pupil through assessments and analysis of emerging needs to establish the transition route to the most suitable follow on phase of education. The Gateway assessment process will run concurrently with sustaining the most appropriate learning and school experience for the pupils needs at the time.



“day 6”

Assessment and re-integration



Personalised Programmes


With an EHCP

Personalised Programmes




Pupils recently excluded and

Pupils new to Derby

Pupils referred from SPP/IYFA, Fresh start+, SEN, F/T AP

Pupils can be allocated a place by consultation within Personalised Programmes

Pupils can be allocated a place from SPP/IYFA/Fresh start+

Statutory Content/Accredited Courses

National Curriculum, shaped by individual needs/presentation of pupils

National Curriculum topic based curriculum adapted by individual need

National Curriculum at Entry Level, Functional Skill and/or GCSE, AP personalised by individual interest

National Curriculum at Entry Level, Functional Skill and/or GCSE, AP personalised by individual interest



Reading and Intervention

All members of staff understand the importance of reading, across all subjects.  The Kingsmead School is committed to improving the life chances of our students by continually developing their literacy skills. The closer we can bridge the gaps between reading ages and chronological ages – the better the outcomes for students with their time with us.  Regular reading sessions take place every week, including ‘D.E.A.R’ time, beyond English and across many different sessions, so that we can increase Kingsmead students’ will and skill to read and furthermore enhance the inclusion of all, through different reading experiences and approaches.  All pupils are encouraged to log reading on their reading logs and these logs are used to identify progress in reading where pupils will be invited to the annual reading awards to celebrate success. Annual reading assessments check the progress of all pupils.

There are different reading interventions available, dependent on need, for all pupils. Fluency, phonics, inference or recognition of HFWs (high frequency words) are all types of skills that can require intervention. Phonics is taught to those pupils for whom it is appropriate. The school has invested in the ‘Read it Write it’ programme, FLASH Academy and a new intervention That Reading Thing. All staff are offered training and support materials around the teaching or support of reading, in all subjects.

Each school has a library where pupils have access to a range of excellent books to suit all abilities – we are continually improving these spaces, to make them as accessible as possible for Kingsmead pupils and where we don’t have something that a pupil may want to read, will look to invest in new material. The school’s ‘Reading Champions’ are on hand to support with all things reading.


Extra-Curricular Activities

To enhance the curriculum we provide a variety of out-of-school activities, visits, residential trips and lunch time clubs. All pupils are encouraged to attend to promote independence and the transference of skills across the curriculum, and to promote healthy lifestyles and positive mental health.

Wider Curriculum

We understand that pupils face many barriers to learning and that academic success is often not the primary barrier to lifelong success for our pupils.  Alongside our formal learning/academic curriculum each school has developed a ‘wider curriculum’ offer to codify the work we do to provide pupils the skills, behaviours and experiences they need to become positive and productive citizens.  This includes work on overcoming social anxiety, emotional regulation, preparation for working life and improving self-awareness and efficacy.


Sex & Relationships Education

This is an integral part of the curriculum based on National Curriculum Areas of Study, and it is taught with care and sensitivity at an appropriate level depending on the child’s age and learning ability.  This is primarily delivered as part of the PHSE curriculum.


Religious Education

All Key stage 3 pupils have RE lessons as part of their “themed curriculum” (TC).  Pupils on a Nurture pathway also access RE through a thematic approach incorporating the learning which is appropriate to their needs. This also includes participating in specific/themed curriculum drop down days.

The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews by being able to describe a range of religious beliefs, investigate some religious questions and recognise different ways of life in a variety of communities and cultures.


Curriculum Statements

Individual Department Curriculum Statements detail what is offered to pupils within each curriculum area at each key stage.  These describe the content and sequence of learning within each area. To see these statements, please see ‘Individual Class Curriculum Statements’.


Kingsmead recognises that parent carers have the right to withdraw their child from RE lessons and/or acts of Collective Worship and from elements of Sex Education.