In Sandelford, we deliver the curriculum through five Core Skill areas: Functional Literacy, Functional Numeracy, Emotional and Social Skills, Physical Skills and Creativity.

We recognise the need for a Skills Based Curriculum and pride ourselves on delivering an outstanding and specifically designed core skill programme that promotes independence and success.

Assessment is an integral part of our curriculum and learning and progression is monitored through our bespoke Core Skill Maps assessment tool. By focusing in on skills we can recognise and praise success and achievement. With our school motto in mind, “Together towards independence” our curriculum is focused on what our pupils CAN do.

Literacy Skills

Functional Literacy refers to core literacy skills required to function in daily life. Each individual is provided with the opportunities to reach their potential within this area. Functional Literacy covers a range of skill areas including communication skills, reading, writing, turn taking, talking and listening.

Our highly trained and specialised staff use a wide range of strategies to support and develop literacy skills. These strategies include Makaton, PECS, Intensive Interaction, Attention Autism, TAC PAC, Rebound Therapy and augmentative and alternative communication strategies. The school works alongside other agencies, such as Speech and Language Therapists, to meet the individual needs of the pupils.

Numeracy Skills

Functional Numeracy refers to core numeracy skills required to function in daily life. Our pupils are provided with opportunities and practical learning activities focused on supporting them to reach their potential within this area.

Our specialised and highly trained staff use a range of practical and structured activities to support skills such as problem solving, perseverance, self-confidence, independence and co-operation with others.

Pupils experience numeracy in the real world through internal work experience, links with the local community and activities that simulate “real life” scenarios, such as shopping, form filling and banking.

Physical Skills

Physical Skills refers to the development of fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles in the body, such as the hands, fingers and wrists. Features of fine motor control include handwriting, cutting, manipulation, grasping and controlling objects. Gross motor skills encompass the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling and bigger body movements.

Here in Sandelford we recognise that due to Sensory Processing Differences physical skills may be affected. Therefore, supporting Sensory Integration is a significant part of physical skills development. The staff have specialised training for implementing sensory integration strategies to support physical development and sensory regulation.

Social and Emotional Skills

Social and Emotional development refers to the life skills required for turn taking, social interaction, building relationships, managing and recognising emotions, self-esteem, confidence and social understanding.

Here in Sandelford we recognise the importance of providing a nurturing and caring environment where children and young people can grow and develop emotionally. A wide range of supportive strategies and resources are used including Take 10, Circle Time, Tac Pac, Five Funny Feelings, Play Based Learning, Lego Based Therapy, Rebound Therapy and creativity to develop social and emotional skills.


Creativity is woven through every part of our skills based curriculum. It encompasses areas of learning such as free play, music, dance, art and drama. However, creativity is also about curiosity, learning, exploring, enjoyment, excitement and developing essential skills such as making decisions, empathy for others, organising self and interaction with the world around us.

Here in Sandelford our pupils enjoy a curriculum rich with creative and expressive learning opportunities. Lessons are designed to connect with our senses through sound, movement, visual and tactile elements. Learning is practical and challenges individuals at their own level.

Further Information

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