Introduction - Intent, Implementation and Impact

Curriculum Intent

The Courtyard has developed a curriculum that meets the wide ranging educational and social needs of our pupils. It is based on the values made explicit in our vision and also encompasses and extends the National Curriculum.

Curriculum planning is based on The Courtyard’s recognition of key skills that pupils who attend our school need to develop in order to live successful lives and achieve their potential.

Subjects overview visual v3

The Courtyard is dedicated to providing a broad and balanced curriculum at levels appropriate to the developmental understanding of our pupils. We believe that pupils should leave us with the necessary knowledge, skills and accreditation to see them successfully move forward to the next stage in their lives, whether that be college, an apprenticeship or paid employment.

Ensuring our pupils are prepared for adult, independent life is at the centre of our curriculum, as evidenced in the PAIL suite of subjects introduced in September 2018 (Preparation for Adult Independent Life).

There are 3 main themes which run through the PAIL curriculum:
• Autumn Term: The Self/Identity and Relationships
• Spring Term: Communication
• Summer Term: Our World

The PAIL Curriculum is designed to develop the personal and social skills of the pupils across a range of interesting and creative subject areas. It was developed in recognition of the need to ensure our pupils leave us with the knowledge and skills to live a successful independent life.

Provision for SMSC, PSHE, British Values, Prevent and The World of Work is made through weekly assemblies and the daily keyworker sessions which include pupils taking part in weekly votes on current affairs via the VotesforPupils platform.

Communication is another key aspect of our curriculum, with both specific communication sessions timetabled as well as cross-curricular opportunities throughout the day.


The starting point for a learner's curriculum programme is the individual child and their long term targets from their EHCP. These are used to populate a pupil’s pathway whilst at The Courtyard, with the short term targets from the Appendix A of the EHCP forming the basis of the pupil’s end of year goals which are reviewed three times per year.

We endeavour to provide opportunities for pupils who are identified as having a gift or talent to develop their skills and abilities in that area.

Our aim is for all pupils to leave with at least five accredited outcomes.

Our aspirational aim is for all pupils to leave with at least five Level 2 accredited outcomes.

Curriculum Implementation: Framework and Delivery

The curriculum at The Courtyard recognises the need for pupils to move towards a higher proportion of life skills and independence. The SEND Code of Practice recommends that from 14 years old:

“High aspirations about employment, independent living and community participation should be developed through the curriculum and extra-curriculum provision” (SEND Code of Practice, January 2015).

The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) devises a curriculum which meets the needs and aspirations of the current cohort of the school and, if necessary, adapt and modify it annually.

Teachers create a long-term curriculum overview which details the progression of learning pupils will make throughout the year. These incorporate the termly PAIL themes and are overseen by the Deputy for Teaching and Learning.

The quality of teaching and learning is monitored by the SLT via monitoring and moderation of planning and assessment, analysis of progress data, lesson observations, book monitoring, a CPD programme, learning walks, LINK meetings with teachers and discussions with pupils.

The curriculum is highly responsive to pupil need and results in a wide variety of activities which stimulate interest and curiosity in all areas of learning. The small, peaceful and natural setting and well-resourced classrooms support this.

Pupils at the Courtyard are taught in ‘stage not age’ groups so that lessons are at the appropriate level of challenge for all pupils.

Those pupils who are academically and socially able to access GCSE and A-Level qualifications in the St Mary Magdalene Academy mainstream setting are always supported by a highly trained member of The Courtyard staff team.

All teaching staff are trained specifically to work with and ensure the academic, social and emotional progress of pupils with ASC. Lessons are planned and delivered to enable each child achieves their potential.


Curriculum Implementation: Assessment

At The Courtyard we use a range of assessment systems in order to show progress in both academic achievement but also in other areas of the curriculum and a pupil’s development in Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Independence (SCERI), emotional literacy and behaviour.

For pupils at The Courtyard, assessment aims to:

  • Provide a baseline against which to measure attainment and progress in all areas, including the PAIL Life Skills and Creative Skills curriculum.
  • Identify the ‘hidden talents’ of pupils beyond the academic subjects (through the CAT4 assessment).
  • Identify the learning needs of an individual pupil or group of pupils. Inform planning, target setting and interventions.
  • Assist with the development of quality teaching strategies which motivate pupils. Comply with statutory requirements.
  • Inform parents and carers of their child’s experiences and achievements.
  • Support the identification of barriers to learning and the development of strategies to overcome these.

Assessment is an on-going activity throughout the year through questioning, marking of pupils’ work and observations of pupils’ learning.

Pupils are formally assessed in English, maths and ICT three times per year, the final assessment of the year often, but not always, being one which gains an accreditation. Pupils will only be entered for a qualification if it is agreed by all parties that they are ready and we are confident that accreditation will be gained.

Pupils are entered for the BTEC qualifications once their body of coursework is ready and they have completed all necessary units in order to achieve the award.

Teachers assess other PAIL subjects, SCERI and behaviour using a RAG (Red/Amber/Green) rating, depending on how far pupils have met their targets. Further details on how each subject is assessed can be seen in the subject specific pages.


Curriculum Impact: Attainment and Progress

Targets and tracking:

Pupils’ academic targets are set based on a number of factors: their KS2 achievements, baseline assessments, therapeutic advice, parental advice and teacher advice.

Due to the wide range of qualifications offered in English, maths and ICT, these subjects use a points system in order to create a uniform tracking system of progress. The points system is adapted from DfE Primary Progress Measures (2016).

Expected and aspirational targets are set based on the expectation that pupils will make 4 points of progress per year and uses a target-setting model based on the DfE National Progression Guidance document, although these are adjusted according to individual pupils’ starting points and other factors which may have affected their attainment prior to arrival at The Courtyard. Attainment data is collected and tracked by the Deputy for Teaching and Learning and analysed in collaboration with teachers in order to monitor progress of pupils.

SCERI targets are assigned to pupils either in Annual Reviews, SCERI staff meetings, ‘All About’ staff meetings and the emotional literacy questionnaire. These are also reviewed three times per year and adjusted accordingly, depending on when they are met.



The three assessment windows per year inform teachers and leaders of pupils’ attainment against standardised levels for those who are studying formal qualifications in GCSE, Functional Skills and BTEC.

The assessment data will also show pupils’ progress from their starting points and also indicate who are either below, meeting or exceeding their expected and aspirational targets. Progress in the remaining PAIL subjects, SCERI and behaviour is monitored by the lead teacher for PAIL, the SENCO and the Deputy for Behaviour and Safety. Targets are adjusted accordingly and interventions put in place for those identified as in need of support.

Parents are informed of their child’s progress three times per year as well as the Annual Review which monitors progress of the EHCP targets.


Curriculum Impact: Reading

Pupils are encouraged to read widely. Reading and oracy form part of daily Keyworker sessions whereby pupils are involved in shared reading and discussion of current affairs through the VotesForSchools programme. This is a voting platform for pupils which covers SMSC, British Values and Prevent.

Pupils are invited to complete an online questionnaire about their reading habits which include stating the types of texts they read and the genres of story they enjoy. This allows teachers and leaders to encourage reading of various mediums during break and lunch times and the purchase of favoured genres for those who like to read hard copy texts. Pupils also engage in 15 minutes of quiet reading at the beginning of each English lesson.

The IDL Intervention programme assesses pupils’ reading and spelling ages at 3 points during the year and indicates progress in comprehension, spelling and grammar.


Curriculum Impact: Destinations

Our Sixth Form pupils successfully move onto a range of FE destinations including university, college and apprenticeships.

6th form pupils attend 3 different work experience placements each year, for 2 hours per week. The placements are intended to match the interests of the pupils to develop confidence and encourage active participation.

Examples of placements include: Melia Hotels International, Tesco, Odeon, Freightliners City Farm, Westbourne Early Years Centre and Red Brick Marketing.


Whole school subject Intent, Implementation and Impact Statements and Teaching Overviews:


St Mary Magdalene Church Gardens
Holloway Road
N7 8LT

Tel: 0203 859 6350

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