Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to ensure pupils build on their strengths with a robust foundation of knowledge and skills that will prepare them for adulthood, increasing opportunities and enabling them to thrive in life. Our values and ethos permeate our curriculum.

St Luke's School Curriculum (2018-19)

St Luke's School Curriculum (2019- Draft)

St Luke's School Curriculum Pathways (2019 - Draft)


We believe learning, when it is fun and engaging builds our wellbeing and encourages further progress.

Social communication

Whilst our curriculum is based on a modified national curriculum, it is unique in the focus throughout all elements of the curriculum on the development of social communication skills

Specialist curricula

Our curriculum applies the National Curriculum, with subject teaching in relevant areas of learning that seek to engage, inspire and establish skills and knowledge to be creative and evaluate - making the abstract concrete where possible with transferable learning. We identify the specialist areas of; learning to learn, independent living, keeping safe, ambition, and understanding self.


We enable our pupils to gain appropriate, nationally recognised qualifications (including Entry level, BTECs, GCSEs and City and Guilds) that support our young people in developing pride, achieving results and to springboard from at college and in adulthood.

Learning in the Community

Whether at the end of the school day, or when leaving school at 16 years old, our pupils are part of our mainstream world. As such, we emphasise the importance of teaching and learning functional skills across a range of settings.

Work-Related Learning

We strongly value functional learning skills and the acquisition of employment related skills and experiences. We are working to support more pupils into work/ have more work-related learning experiences.

The curriculum is regularly reviewed so that each pupil has an opportunity to develop personal skills and widen their interests. We offer a range of externally moderated courses to pupils with the aim of introducing a broader choice of qualifications to match pupils’ interests and abilities. All pupils work towards certification in English, maths, science, design & technology, humanities including Religious Education and, art. They take Entry Level Functional Skills Qualifications in English, maths and IT. GCSE courses in maths, English, Geography, modern languages and art are available to those pupils whom it is appropriate.

Pupils have the opportunity to choose vocational courses in horticulture and ‘community action’ leading to accreditations such as City & Guilds or Entry Pathways. They can also opt to gain Level One qualifications in horticulture, construction and cookery through BTEC and City & Guilds examinations. Last year, our pupils achieved Level 1 in the Jamie Oliver BTEC and this year, some children have passed Level 2 qualifications in this very important subject.

College Link and Work Experience
Pupils attend link courses at our local colleges of further education, giving them the opportunity to experience education in a different environment and to promote the values of learning as young adults. Here pupils learn alongside others with special needs and mainstream students. They spend either an extended morning or afternoon at college for a term to have comparative experiences. The programme is designed to meet a range of learning difficulties and include: preparation for work, basic skills, ICT, media, creative arts and life skills. The purpose of our link courses is also to build the pupils’ confidence in attending college as an intended destination beyond schooling.

Work experience is an integral part of the vocational learning followed by pupils in Years 10, 11 (and currently Year 12). Our vocational courses support the child’s broad and balanced curriculum that seeks to broaden pupils’ interests and engagement with the world of work. All pupils are encouraged to make an informed choice of their work experience placement. They each have an opportunity to undertake some community experience or sheltered placements that culminate in the chance to secure a longer placement – these are sometimes paid part-time employment opportunities. We also create extended work experience placements where this is appropriate, meaning children attend work placements to gain work and life skills, whilst undertaken supported programmes of study across work and school.

Careers Guidance and Work Related Learning
We have a range of external sources of careers guidance that meet the new statutory guidelines. These include employer visits, mentoring and website and telephone helpline access. This is together with the provision set up within school – careers teaching by the class teachers, progamme of our weekly college visits about next steps – education and work.

Careers is taught as a cross-curricular programme throughout the whole school. Younger pupils begin by looking at different job roles whilst learning the foundation subjects through a topic-based approach. From Year 10 onwards, pupils follow integrated courses including Work Related Learning thus allowing them to investigate in greater detail jobs of particular interest to them. All pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 have an individual interview with a Careers Advisor who visits the school and attends annual review meetings to support pupils’ college choices and advise the parents. We are also aware of the apprenticeships resources and access this throughout our teaching.

It is one of our aims of the school that all pupils will access the mainstream world on an individual level. Work experience and a desire to be part of the workforce – to pay our taxes and give to charities for those less fortunate than ourselves forms a key message in our provision. As such, we are developing opportunities for our pupils to experience work-related learning through effective partnerships with local, national and international employers. Our links with colleges and employers extends across Hertfordshire and supports children from all areas of the county.

We are delighted to be supported by Careers Enterprise Company, who are helping us to work with potential employers in our aim to improve understanding about learning disabilities and the value of our young people in the workforce.

If you have access to work experience placements, please do get in touch, we are always growing our range of opportunities for our pupils. St Luke's Contact Page

Curriculum Learning Foci

Communication, Personal & Social Development and Kinaesthesia guide learning throughout the pupils' schooling. We have a system for sharing information about PSD as well as assessing progress in this vital area of learning.


Our curriculum nurtures each young person's strengths, giving them a reason to learn and building their sense of value, worth and belief in the importance of what they can achieve.

Learning Groups 2017 Onwards..

We call ourselves Lower, Middle and Upper Schools in order to celebrate age transitions and work across key stages.

Strategies that Support Learning

There are many philosophies and theories about teaching and working with children with complex learning disabilities. Our staff research and apply research to the teaching environment, innovating on a daily basis to ensure the individual child's needs are met and exceeded. There is a blending of strategies and application of these according to need. Teaching and Support Staff are trained in these areas, both in-house and through certified training. The more prevalent strategies used across the school include:

SPELL philosophy

The evidence-based NAS SPELL philosophy (evaluated by Tizzard Centre at the University of Kent) was developed through autism specialist education and is based on ethos of respect for every pupil.
SPELL stands for:
  • Structure (to reduce anxiety resulting from rigidity of thought)
  • Positivity (recognise autistic intelligence to enhance self esteem)
  • Empathy (seeking to recognise the perspective of the person with autism)
  • Low arousal (to reduce anxiety related to sensory differences)
  • Links (to other intervention and to the wider community)


    TEACCH aims to increase independence and reduce anxiety through ensure the young person understands what is expected of them. There is a particular focus in TEACCH on:
  • Physical structure of the environment
  • Personalised visual schedules
  • Independent work-systems
  • Visual instruction jigs


    SCERTS facilitates the development of
  • Functional Social Communication skills
  • Emotional Regulation and coping strategies (including recognition of the role of behaviour in this)
  • Through the use of transactional supports (complimented by TEACCH)

  • Positive Behaviour Support

    This is used to understand behaviour whilst respecting the individual through a five step process (which relates to an assessment cycle). PBS is used by psychology and behaviour teams when usual strategies are unsuccessful in addressing a behavior. Through PBS, there are:
  • Functional analyses
  • Behaviour support plans that identify proactive strategies (including environment modification, skill teaching and reward use) as well as reactive strategies
  • Implantation through direct support
  • Monitoring and collecting data
  • Evidence based evaluation

  • Social Stories and Comic Strips

    These are visual and text based scenarios that help children understand a sequence of events - in the past or forthcoming. They are particularly helpful in supporting:
  • the understanding of social situations

  • PECS

  • PECS provides children with limited verbal communication with an alternative visual means of communicating starting with exchanging a photo for the desired item

  • Sensory Circuits

    Sensory circuits:
  • Series of short activities that support the student through a physical and sensory medium
  • Helps develop balance, coordination and bodily awareness
  • Such regular exercise can reduce incidents and promotes self esteem

  • Sensory Diets

    These specified programmes support children with OT-specified needs and sensory based experiences that in turn support:
  • Children's self regulation
  • Children's behaviours and interaction with others/resources