Curriculum Pathways

West Lea School offers children and young people four pathways that progress from Early years to Post 16. Each pathway is ambitious in its expectations of children and young people’s capacity to make progress to learn, thrive and be happy and to prepare for fulfilling and purposeful adulthoods.

Each of the four pathways delivers a broad curriculum consisting of a balance between academic (national curriculum) programmes of study, life skills and preparing for work and adulthood. Each pathway recognises the needs of the child as expressed in the EHCPs and seeks to support the child to overcome the barriers to learning that inhibit progress and development.

Children in all pathways have equal access to resources, therapies, support and enrichment opportunities. Children move between pathways freely when this is appropriate and are therefore never limited by a pathway. All pathways focus on personalise learning and practitioners craft their own plans around the particular needs of each learner, breaking down any barriers to learning.

Children following the Willow Pathway may have a range of complex needs and/ or medical conditions. These children may experience barriers to learning in the areas of communication and interaction as well as cognition and learning. They may need targeted support to help them develop their socialization, language, and life skills as well as learning and study skills.

Children will make progress through targeted teaching approaches designed to educate them in key aspects of the national curriculum and to prepare them for adulthood. Independence, in life and work are significant elements of the curriculum for all West Lea pupils. In order to ensure full and equal access for all pupils, adaptations and adjustments are made as necessary.

Academic and vocational learning sit alongside social and life skills, to provide a practical and purposeful curriculum experience. As the children progress up the school the focus on employability and vocational learning intensifies and they will work towards personalised qualification targets.

At post 16 the potential for supported employment becomes a real goal for those young people ready to take that path in society and many will access employment pathways through West Lea’s Horizon Campus. 

Children on the Oak Pathway may have moderate learning difficulties, medical conditions or other developmental, social, or emotional needs.

Children will experience a full range of the national curriculum programmes of study appropriately scaffolded to recognise the barriers to learning which they may face. This pathway also focuses on functional independence and supports pupils to independently travel and access work experience within their local area, where appropriate.

Opportunities to sit formal examinations mean that young people on this pathway will leave school with qualifications for work and life. Most young people on the Oak pathway will achieve qualifications in Functional Skills (up to level 1) in English, mathematics, and ICT and in vocational awards in the Arts, as well as broad skills accreditation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Princes Trust Achieve programmes.

Young people on this pathway typically move on from West Lea to follow college courses, Supported Internships and paid employment.

Children and young people of the Sycamore Pathway may be described as experiencing mild to moderate learning difficulties and may also have medical, social or emotional needs. This Pathway provides an appropriately adjusted and scaffolded National Curriculum to allow the children and young people to enjoy programmes of study similar to those delivered in mainstream schools.

Young people will access both academic and vocational subjects to educate them for adulthood. Work placements and community engagement feature in the weekly diet of young people as they move up the school, and the majority will learn to travel independently within their local area. Where appropriate, some young people access aspects of their learning through partnership delivery with mainstream secondary schools, as well as develop life skills in order to prepare for adulthood.

Functional skills qualifications to level 2 or GCSEs in English, Mathematics and ICT are available for those young people who have the ability. Entry level courses as well as vocational qualifications in the Arts and Duke of Edinburgh or Princes Trust Achieve programmes, sit alongside the core subjects to create a full and ambitious curriculum at key stage 4 and key stage 5. Pupils on this pathway usually move from West Lea’s one year bridging course to sixth form or to full time college provision. Many later access Supported Internships and paid employment.

Young people on the Birch Pathway typically join West Lea School when their mainstream school education has been disrupted as a result of social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Young people may exhibit disengagement, anxiety or distress through poor attendance, relationship difficulties, dysregulation, or negative attitudes. For many pupils, although academically able, high levels of anxiety may cause significant barriers to learning as they struggle to cope within a mainstream setting and exhibit difficulties in developing social relationships. Students on this pathway access fully personalised intervention, which is delivered through a solution-focused philosophy. Multi agency involvement is significant in the provision for young people on this pathway.

Young people on the Birch Pathway are supported to address their emotional needs whilst maintaining their engagement with the National Curriculum and a qualification regime in which they may already be invested. Each young person’s curriculum is adapted to enable, as much as is possible, a continuum of provision in order to enable the student to gain confidence in re-engagement back into the school community. Young people have the opportunity to achieve functional skills and GCSE qualifications where appropriate as well as BTEC in Personal and Social Development.