A whole school approach – curriculum delivery and the EHC Plan

Posted on 10th Sep 2019 in School News, Autism, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Principal Dr Gill Barrett explains The Loddon School’s integrated offering...

The Children’s and Families Act 2014 and The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 introduced the Educational Health and Care Plan. A plan replacing the Statement of Special Educational Needs and for the first time incorporating the provision for one child, for their Educational needs, Health needs and Social Care needs. Educational provision was also redefined: “Health care provision or social care provision that educates or trains a child or young person is to be treated as special educational provision instead of separate Health care or social care provision.” The overarching aim was to deal with each child holistically, a single team around the child, providing provision to fully meet their needs. For children with highly complex needs, the new EHCP is essential.

The new Ofsted framework places greater emphasis on the curriculum, how it serves the school population and prepares the students for the next stage of their learning journey or adulthood. Outstanding schools, it could be argued, have always had this as a key focus and one reason for the high rates of progress, by having rich and broad curriculums, catering well for the specific requirements of their cohort. “Pupils thrive at Loddon. They make exceptional progress in all aspects of their learning. Consequently, they are very well prepared for life beyond school.” (Ofsted 2018) The new framework requires the school to have designed its curriculum stating clearly the knowledge and skills that will be gained at each stage. School leaders need to be able to articulate and demonstrate the intent of their curriculum, how it is implemented at all key stages, and to have evaluated what has been gained by each individual (the impact) against the desired expectations (Ofsted 2019).

The educational and social care legislation strives towards providing a holistic package that is seamless, focused completely on the individual, meeting their education, social and health needs and preparing them well for their next step in life; however, in practice this is not always the case. At The Loddon School®, our aim is to do just this, providing a totally integrated approach. The school has an integrated day with students educated from their home base, rather than having to travel to separate classrooms. The team around the child are: Learning and Care workers, the teacher and the Children’s Service Manager, the therapists and nursing team, providing a fully integrated approach. “Children benefit from the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to education and care. The entire team focuses on the needs of each child, communicating across the disciplines so that there is a consistent approach.” (Ofsted 2018)

The PLLUSS® curriculum is unique providing the essential skills required for the lives of students with specific special needs. The six roots of the curriculum – communication, access to learning, relating and interacting, independence, transitions and leisure & well-being – link directly to the Framework for Adulthood. This alignment to this framework provides cohesion and consistency for a curriculum that is outside the national curriculum. The PLLUSS® curriculum has an ethos which is rooted in all that the school does and links directly with the elements of the child’s EHCP, placing their individual targets into one of the six areas. The intent of the curriculum is to provide a platform to practise and develop the linked skills firstly in a familiar environment with physical, gestural or verbal prompts, practising the skills until they become routine before learning to generalise in new environments, with different support staff, and with reducing support. For example – being able to manoeuvre a wheelbarrow in the stables (access to learning), using both hands and steering it will help with steering a tricycle (transitions), and pushing a shopping trolley through a supermarket (Independence). The curriculum deals holistically with the child’s skill progression taking full advantage of opportunities to experience the wider community beyond the school grounds ensuring robust skill and knowledge development for adulthood and a rich quality of life.

The PLLUSS® curriculum is implemented with learning taking place throughout the total waking day. Staff use all activities as a vehicle to extend the learning of each child in the school. The day is shaped to help each child to deal with their sensory processing needs; individual timetables are built so that there are regular sensory learning activities throughout the day to allow the child to remain calm and focused and ready to learn. Teachers carefully plan highly creative and playful learning experiences embracing the sensory diet of the child. This approach keeps the child highly engaged in a calm but alert state able to utilise new learning and build upon previous learning experiences. Personal learning targets which focus around the six elements of the PLLUSS® curriculum also align fully with their EHCP targets in this integrated whole approach. The Access to Learning sphere of the PLLUSS® curriculum provides a platform for termly themed learning, opening the child up to knowledge-based learning experiences related to aspects of the world around them, culture, scientific learning and historical events and is a rich vehicle to embed early reading, writing and mathematics.

The fully integrated recording system completes the total integration approach and simplifies the sometimes-cumbersome bureaucratic paperwork that is attached to children with special educational needs. Within one document – the EHCP review – Health matters, social care issues, progress with PLLUSS® targets incorporating PEP targets, progress with Early Reading, Writing and Mathematics, therapies, the Engagement Profile, transition plans and photographic evidence to demonstrate impact of provision are recorded. Progress is reviewed every five months with a progress review and annual review meeting every year. The Pre-review meeting held one month before allows the multidisciplinary team to discuss progress and set up new targets. All paperwork is available to the LA, parents and school staff via a portal two weeks before the meeting.

The PLLUSS® curriculum is a whole approach delivering fully all aspects of the EHCP in a totally integrated way and results in young people “who thrive and are well prepared for life beyond school”.

This article first appeared in the 2019/20 edition of Which School? for Special Needs. The digital version can be viewed here: