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Navigate to the following curriculum areas using the topic buttons below:

Please note the Curriculum Executive summary is available to download at the bottom of this page or by clicking here.

You can also download the full Teaching and Learning Policy, via the policies section of this website.

Rationale What is the evidence base for selected strategies and curriculum choices?

This section is kept succinct to ensure this policy remains accessible to a variety of audiences.  We have selected 4 essential areas of focus to highlight our evidence informed practice.  In particular, evidence has commonly been drawn from The Education Endowment Foundation due to its clear, accessible nature and its wider scope.   


Lesson Structure

Woodlane’s Features of Outstanding Teaching and Learning (Appendix 2) were set through a shared consultative process between Senior Leaders, Teachers, Teaching Assistants and the pupils themselves. This set of core principles forms the school’s expectations for all teaching and learning and provides staff with the framework to deliver outstanding classroom support.

The steps within Features of Outstanding Teaching and Learning are closely aligned to Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2012). The evidence base for Rosenshine’s work includes:

    • Research on scaffolds and cognitive supports, such as the use of instructional procedures and models, enabled students to grasp difficult tasks.
    • Directly observing ‘practices of master teachers’, those effective teachers whose students made the most educational progress as calculated by the attainment tests.
    • Research on Cognitive Science on how the human brain acquires and utilizes new knowledge. This offers knowledge of how to endure the limitations of students' long-term memory when trying to learn new conceptual ideas.

From this research, Rosenshine established 17 Principles of Effective Instructions, and this was refined further to create the 10 key principles which underpin effective approaches to instruction in lessons. This included:

1.         Daily review.

2.         Present new material using small steps.

3.         Ask questions.

4.         Provide models.

5.         Guide student practice.

6.         Check for student understanding.

7.         Obtain a high success rate.

8.         Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.

9.         Independent practice.

10.       Weekly and monthly review.

These principles are embedded across the school, are known by staff and pupils, and guide the planning and delivery of effective teaching and learning.


Learning Styles

Woodlane’s teaching expectations are centred around supporting pupils who need to access learning through a range of different learning approaches, such as through the implementation of Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (VAK) styles within teaching and learning.  Rather than this strategy centring around an individual’s preference towards a particular style, it attempts to offer a variety of methods simultaneously to account for the differing needs of each group. However, we acknowledge the key findings of The Education Endowment Foundation (October 2023) which highlights various limitations:

1.  The number of high-quality studies of learning styles are extremely low. As a result, no impact is displayed. Schools implementing approaches with very limited evidence should carefully consider how they would monitor impact and mitigate against the risk of negative effects.

2.  Learners are very unlikely to have a single learning style, so restricting pupils to activities matched to their reported preferences may damage their progress. This is especially true for younger learners in primary schools whose preferences and approaches to learning are still very flexible.

3.  Labelling students as particular kinds of learners is likely to undermine their belief that they can succeed through effort and to provide an excuse for failure.

4.  It appears to be more promising to focus on other aspects of motivation and self-regulation to engage pupils in learning activities.

5.  Teachers should aim to support pupils to take responsibility for success in their learning and develop their own successful strategies and approaches.’

We recognise the limited formal evidence to support this method, however, have taken steps to mitigate any potential risks of this model, for example:

  • Our method centralises on using all of the learning styles, therefore allowing pupils access to a variety of styles during a teaching and learning sequence.
  • We do not label pupils as a specific type of learner.  We feel this could impact pupil motivation, particularly as all our pupils have SEND and some are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Our method assumes that learning style preferences change and what may be suited one day would differ to the next.
  • We have asked our pupils how they like to be taught, while this specific terminology was not used, pupils described teaching including all three styles. 
  • Our teaching and learning, is not restricted to this one method, for example, we use a variety of Dyslexia Friendly and Speech and Language strategies etc. (Appendix 2). 
  • We regularly scrutinise our progress and outcome data, both of which remain outstanding, proving our methods are currently effective (see ‘Impact’ below).  We are however, always open to adaptation.



Teachers and TAs provide regular verbal and written feedback, as a result they: set SMART targets; recap prior learning; regularly and systematically check for understanding etc.  We acknowledge the key findings from the Education Endowment Foundation (October 2023), which are as follows:

‘1.  Providing feedback is a well-evidenced and has a high impact on learning outcomes. Effective feedback tends to focus on the task, subject and self-regulation strategies: it provides specific information on how to improve.

2.   Feedback can be effective during, immediately after and some time after learning. Feedback policies should not over specify the frequency of feedback

3.   Feedback can come from a variety of sources ­– studies have shown positive effects of feedback from teachers and peers. Feedback delivered by digital technology also has positive effects (albeit slightly lower than the overall average).

4.   Different methods of feedback delivery can be effective and feedback should not be limited exclusively to written marking. Studies of verbal feedback show slightly higher impacts overall (+7 months). Written marking may play one part of an effective feedback strategy – but it is crucial to monitor impacts on staff workload.

5.   It is important to give feedback when things are correct ­– not just when they are incorrect. High-quality feedback may focus on a task, subject, and self-regulation strategies.’

We recognise that a significant amount of the research is focused on feedback in a mainstream environment, however, we emphasise the following:

  • We use a simple clear model, which is displayed in the classroom and understood by pupils (Appendix 7).  The emphasis is on a blue comment for what the pupil has been done well and a green comment or question for the area for improvement. 
  • Given the variety of SEND we do ask for prompt, regular feedback but do not specify exact timeframes.
  • We offer feedback in a variety of forms, which include, verbal, written and in some lessons, and for some homework, digital forms. 
  • We use teacher and peer feedback.
  • We monitor marking and feedback through Book Looks to ensure best practice is followed.


Parental Engagement (Home-School Partnership)

Woodlane views parental engagement as involving parents in their child’s learning, we view learning as both academic and social, emotional and behavioural etc.  We acknowledge the key findings of The Education Endowment Foundation (October 2023) which highlights:

‘1.        Parental engagement has a positive impact on average of 4 months’ additional progress. It is crucial to consider how to engage with all parents to avoid widening attainment gaps.

2.         Consider how to tailor school communications to encourage positive dialogue about learning. There is some evidence that personalised messages linked to learning can promote positive interactions.

3.         Parental engagement strategies are typically more effective with parents of very young children. It is important to consider how you will maintain parental engagement as children get older. For example, providing flexible communications (e.g. short sessions at flexible times) might create opportunities for parents of older pupils to engage with the school.

4.         Consider what support you can give to parents to ensure home learning is of high quality. For example, providing practical strategies with tips, support, and resources to assist learning at home may be more beneficial to pupil outcomes than simply gifting a book to pupils or asking parents to provide generic help to their children.’

The research informs our practice in the following ways:

  • We regularly hold parent reference groups and listen to the feedback of parents, making adaptations accordingly, for example, last year we redesigned our reporting to parents practice and now provide a termly progress report and increased face to face meetings.  We have ensured this document is accessible to a wide audience. 
  • We use a variety of communication methods, including virtual, text, email, direct calls and offer an open-door policy for face to face communication.  We are flexible in our approach.
  • While parent engagement strategies are often more effective for younger children, the vast majority of our pupils have much younger cognitive ages, therefore the school views these methods as essential.
  • We implement regular parent workshops to enhance home-learning, giving examples and practical tips.  This method enables parents to ask for specific tips for their child, which are also likely to benefit others. 
  • We have a dedicated Parent Partnership Leader on the school’s teaching staff.

Intent – What is Woodlane aiming to achieve through its curriculum?

  • To provide an outstanding education, which is personalised to the need of each pupil.
  • To provide a calm, learning focused environment, which is safe, caring and nurturing.
  • To provide a holistic education, which incorporates guidance and strategies from support agency partnerships e.g. speech and language therapists, occupational therapists etc.
  • To increase resilience and develop pupils’ ability to self-regulate.
  • To ensure Woodlane values are at the heart of learning, these include:
    • Kindness
    • Tolerance
    • Honesty
    • Independence
    • Effort
    • Aspiration
    • Resilience
    • Achievement
    • Respect
  • To develop pupils’ essential life skills, developing their knowledge and the ‘cultural capital’ they need to succeed in life (personal development), this will include, but is not exclusive to:
    • personal & social well-being (safety/self-image/self-esteem);
    • communication skills (speaking/listening/reading/writing/body language);
    • social skills (behaviour);
    • physical & health skills (hygiene/healthy eating/exercise/team skills);
    • ICT skills (using computers to share and seek information); and
    • independence and study skills (thinking skills/self-organisation/concentration) etc.
  • To promote physical and emotional well-being.
  • To prepare pupils for the next stage of their education.
  • To ensure all pupils leave Woodlane with outcomes that reflect the best of their ability.
  • To ensure that all pupils receive an education that is in line with the statutory guidance outlined in the SEND Code of Practice 0-25.

Implementation – How is the Woodlane curriculum delivered?

Curriculum Delivery

  • Pupils have full access to a broad and balanced curriculum including the National Curriculum which is differentiated to meet pupils’ learning needs and styles.
  • Our curriculum is designed to be challenging, appropriate to the pupil’s stage of development.
  • Our curriculum offers significant cross-curricula learning opportunities to ensure pupils make significant personal development.
  • Our curriculum covers a wide range of core and foundation subjects.
  • We dedicate substantial time to both core and foundation subjects.
  • Our KS3 curriculum covers 14 subjects, which are taught through 25+ hours contact time each week.  Subjects taught are as follows:
    • English
    • Maths
    • Science
    • Computing
    • History
    • RE
    • Geography
    • Art
    • PE
    • DT
    • French
    • Drama
    • PSCHE
    • Music
  • Our KS4 curriculum covering a range of 13 subjects (some are ‘options’), which are taught through 25+ hours contact time each week.  Subjects taught are as follows:
    • English
    • Maths
    • Science
    • Computing
    • ASDAN/History
    • Art
    • PE
    • DT
    • French/Vocational Skills
    • PSCHE
    • College Link/Work Experience
  • Recovery Lessons are taught to all of KS3 (x3 lessons per week), and KS4 (x2 lessons per week). These subjects form the school’s Covid-19 Catch-up response and ensure dedicated curriculum time is provided to identified areas of lost learning, missed opportunities or regression. The following areas have been targeted through this additional curriculum time:
    • Science – experimentation and practical work.
    • Numeracy – problem solving.
    • STEM – investigation and practical application of Science.
    • Further areas will be included as and when these are identified in the school’s data analysis.
  • Our curriculum is designed to build and expand on previous skills and subject knowledge, over a 5 year period.  It also plans for opportunities for repetition to embed knowledge, increasing the chance of information recall (view our curriculum maps under each subject area). 
  • We offer a wide range of qualifications, which are selected to appropriately challenge, based on the pupil’s stage of development, including:
    • English Language (GCSE)
    • English Literature (GCSE)
    • Step Up to English (Gold and Silver Entry Level)
    • Non-Qualification English Units for learners below Entry Level (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
    • Mathematics (GCSE)
    • Mathematics (Entry Level)
    • Mathematics Functional Skills (NCFE Level 1 and 2)
    • Non-Qualification Mathematics Units for learners below Entry Level (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
    • Science - Biology (GCSE)
    • Science - Biology, Chemistry, Physics (Entry Level)
    • Non-Qualification Science Units for learners below Entry Level (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
    • Art and Design (GCSE)
    • Humanities/History (WJEC Entry Level Combined Diploma or Single Certificate)
    • Non-Qualification Humanities Units for learners below Entry Level (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
    • French and other Languages (GCSE)
    • Non-Qualification French and other language units for learners below GCSE (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
    • ASDAN (Gold, Silver and Bronze)
    • Computing (Entry Level)
    • Media (BTEC)
    • ICT Functional Skills (Level 1)
    • Design Technology - Cooking and Food Preparation (GCSE)
    • Design Technology - Textiles (GCSE)
    • Preparation for Work (WJEC Entry Level Diploma or Certificate)
    • PE – Certificate in Sport (NCFE Level 1 and Level 2)
    • Non-Qualification Vocational Skills Units for all those working within the Vocational Studies lessons (AQA Unit Award Scheme Units at Pre-entry, Entry Level or Level 1)
    • Non-Qualification Music Units for all learners (AQA Unit Award Scheme)
  • Enjoyment in learning is incredibly important to us, we therefore also run regular whole school theme days throughout the academic year, which have included: Medieval Day; World Heritage Day; Lions of Zulu Land; Science Day; Art Day; Puzzle and Challenge Day; School Improvement Day; Money and Enterprise Day etc. 
  • We provide additional extra-curricular activities at lunch time, after school and specially targeted support on a Saturday (click here for further details).


Teaching and Learning

  • Our pupils are taught by well-qualified and experienced transition teachers in Year 7 and subject specialists from Year 8 to Year 11.
    Our Headteacher is well qualified, possessing a range of post graduate qualifications (click here for further details).
  • Our senior leaders are well qualified, possessing a range of qualifications (click here for further details).
  • We have several SpLD specialist teachers.  Our Lead Practitioner/ intervention teacher holds an MA in SpLD and is an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association, allowing her to make assessments for dyslexia (click here for further details).   
  • Our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCO), holds a Masters degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Staff and pupils have collaborated to design bespoke criteria for ‘Outstanding Teaching and Learning at Woodlane’ criteria, which are used to judge the quality of teaching and learning at Woodlane (click here for further details).
  • The curriculum is differentiated broadly into 3 levels of challenge, ‘all’, ‘most’ and ‘some’.  Further differentiation and personalisation is implemented when required. 
  • We have a 3 tiered approach to supporting each pupil’s learning, including:

Universal – this is the teaching your child will receive from our transition/subject teachers and will include adaptations to match learning needs.  All classes:

  • are supported by a teaching assistant (TA);
  • have a maximum of 12 pupils per class to ensure there is a high level of support available from the teacher and TA;
  • are multi-sensory;
  • are dyslexia friendly (click here for further details);
  • integrate speech, language and communication support;
  • are supported either directly or indirectly by speech and language therapists (click here for further details);
  • receive specialist streamed literacy lessons at KS3; and
  • receive specialist streamed numeracy lessons at KS3.

Targeted­ – it may be appropriate to consider making additional short term special educational provision to remove or reduce any obstacles to your child’s learning.  This takes the form of a graduated four part approach of a) assessing your child’s needs, b) planning the most effective and appropriate intervention, c) providing this intervention and d) reviewing the impact on your child’s progress towards individual learning outcomes.

Interventions may include:

  • specific targeted numeracy/literacy small group activities run outside the classroom. These will be limited to a number a weeks to minimise disruption to the regular curriculum;
  • one to one literacy/reading support from a SpLD specialist;
  • one to one reading intervention using the SRA programme; and
  • one to one/small group sensory support/circuits etc.

Specialist – it may be necessary to seek specialist advice and regular long term support from a specialist professional in order to plan for the best possible learning outcomes for your child. This may include educational psychology support, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, art/play therapy, sensory advisory teachers and the child development service.  The school may need to prioritise referrals to these services. However, for a high proportion of Woodlane High School pupils, access to these specialists is automatic due to specification a pupil’s EHC Plan.



All homework is set through the Firefly learning platform:, which is managed by the Computing and Home-Learning Subject Leader. Logon details for each pupil are shared when they join the school and allow access to resources that are personalised to the individual. Within the platform, homework is set as a time-limited task in a standardised format (see Appendix 5). It is differentiated to provide the appropriate level of challenge. Training is provided for all staff to access the system and offered to all parents/carers and pupils to ensure there are no barriers to pupils completing their homework.

Click here to read more about homework at Woodlane.


Home Learning

When a pupil is required to remain off of school for 3 or more days, but is well enough to learn, the school puts in place Home Learning. This is coordinated by the Computing and Home-Learning Subject Leader. The school has access to technology that can be provided to any pupil who does not have appropriate facilities to work from home in the event of a period of absence.

Delivery of Home Learning takes 2 separate forms:

  • Short term Home Learning (1 or 2 days) – e.g. a pupil’s transport is cancelled at short notice.
  • Longer term Home Learning (3 days +) – e.g. a pupil is required to self-isolate due to a positive (asymptomatic) Covid-19 test.

Short term Home Learning:

  • Pupils are expected to access homework through Firefly.
  • Pupils will complete tasks set by teachers.
  • Where this absence is planned, teachers will add classwork to Firefly to ensure pupils do not fall behind.
  • Where this absence is not planned, teachers will add any classwork to the pupil’s book for the lessons they are absent for. This will be identified with the word ‘absent’ at the top (excluding MMH pupils, who will receive this work in a separate folder).
  • Pupils will be given opportunities to catch up on missed work at a later date, or through homework club.

Longer term Home Learning:

  • As soon as it is known that a pupil will be absent from school (but they are well enough to learn from home) the Computing Subject Leader will check the pupil’s timetable and establish which lessons are possible for the pupil to access remotely. Exceptions will apply, e.g. Science practical tasks where a ‘do at-home’ alternative is not practical or safe. Where this is case, staff will ensure there is work for the pupil to complete through Firefly.
  • The Computing Subject Leader will set up a Live Lesson link through Microsoft Teams and a timetable for any lessons that the pupil will be joining for the known days of absence.
  • Staff will be informed of the pupil’s timetable and will ensure they have prepared for the pupil to join their lesson through Teams.
  • This Teams link, and any available pre-lesson content will be sent to the pupil through Firefly, as this creates a secure access point for the pupil to their lessons.
  • The pupil will join their lessons. The teacher and any available teaching assistants will incorporate the pupil in as much of the lesson content as possible, ensuring that they experience a broad and balanced curriculum even if absent.
  • At the end of their absence, any work they completed at home on paper or through Firefly should be added to their class books as evidence of their continued engagement.
  • In the case of MMH pupils, as soon as they notify the school of their non-attendance, their live learning will be set up on the same day.



The progress of each pupil is carefully monitored throughout their time at Woodlane. Checks on progress take place formally at set intervals and informally throughout the school day. Analysis of progress data shows that pupil underperformance is rare, but addressed where found. Assessment takes the form of the following:

  • Each pupil collates a Pupil Achievement Book, where they showcase their best work and demonstrate progress over time in a variety of subjects.
  • Woodlane uses internal and external data from a range of sources to effectively evaluate each pupil's performance. This allows us to determine whole school performance, moderate our own practice and plan for further improvement.
  • Our Flight Path is used to track the progress of individual pupils and determine expected outcomes from different starting points (see Appendix 4).
  • Our Assessment Map highlights the range of qualifications available and how these can be compared to one another (see Appendix 3).
  • Teachers and senior leaders use a range of formative and summative assessment procedures to assess progress and attainment, including:
    • daily marking (click here for teaching and learning policy);
    • self/peer assessment;
    • reading/spelling/maths age assessment;
    • Cognitive Ability Tests (CATS);
    • Pupils Attitudes to Self and School (PASS);
    • informal/formal examinations; and
    • B-Squared Progression Step data, etc.

Impact – What difference is the Woodlane curriculum making on pupils?

The curriculum is regularly monitored and reviewed by the leadership team and subject leaders to ensure all pupils are accessing teaching and learning that meets their individual needs. This ensures that:

  • The vast majority of pupils meet or exceed their expected progress (click here for further details).
  • The very large majority of pupils meet or exceed their expected outcomes in Year 11 (external qualifications) (click here for further details).
  • Woodlane pupils’ academic starting points are often extremely low, their progress is compared carefully using DfE published data. When compared with only community SEND schools in England, Woodlane regularly ranks in the top 5% nationally (click here for further details).
  • When pupils transition from Woodlane in Year 11, they will have gained at least 1 and up to 11 externally accredited qualifications, which reflect the pupil’s best ability. 
  • Detailed analysis of outcomes and pupil progress indicates that there is little statistical significance between the performance of key groups.  Where any small differences are identified strategies are implemented swiftly.
  • The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding.
  • Pupils develop outstanding behaviour over their time at Woodlane, increasing their ability to self-regulate.
  • Pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their education and the large majority transition to mainstream colleges (click here for further details).  No Woodlane pupil has left Woodlane Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the last 6 years (click here for further details).
  • Pupils regularly return to Woodlane to celebrate their achievements Post 16.

* Please see our annual SEF/SIP for further details.

* Please see each subject area for further details on our curriculum.