Introduction - Intent, Implementation and Impact

Curriculum Intent

The Courtyard has developed a curriculum that meets the wide ranging educational and social needs of our students. 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 students who attend our school need to develop in order to live successful lives and achieve their potential.

Curriculum diagram 3

The Courtyard is dedicated to providing a broad and balanced curriculum at levels appropriate to the developmental understanding of our students. We believe that students 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 students are prepared for adult, independent life is at the centre of our curriculum.

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 students across a range of interesting and creative subject areas. It was developed in recognition of the need to ensure our students 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 student's pathway whilst at The Courtyard, with the short term targets from the Appendix A of the EHCP forming the basis of the student's end of year goals which are reviewed three times per year.

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

Our aim is for all students to leave with at least five Level 1 accredited outcomes.

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

Curriculum Implementation: Framework and Delivery

The curriculum at The Courtyard recognises the need for students 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 students will make throughout the year. These incorporate the termly PAIL themes and are overseen by the Teaching and Learning Leadership Team.

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 students.

The curriculum is highly responsive to student 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.

Students at the Courtyard are taught in ‘stage not age’ groups so that lessons are at the appropriate level of challenge for all students. Support strategies and interventions are applied on a case by case basis to enable each individual student to access the curriculum offer to their potential.

Those students 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 students 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 student's development in Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Independence (SCERI), emotional literacy and behaviour.

For students at The Courtyard, assessment aims to:

  • Provide a baseline against which to measure attainment and progress in all areas.
  • Identify the learning needs of an individual student or group of students. Inform planning, target setting and interventions.
  • Assist with the development of quality teaching strategies which motivate students. 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 students’ work and observations of students’ learning.

Students are formally assessed in English, Maths and ICT three times per year. Students can be entered for a formal qualification assessment at any time during the academic year if it is agreed by all parties that they are ready and we are confident that accreditation will be gained. This allows for progress and appropriate challenge.

Students 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 curriculum subjects, SCERI and behaviour using a RAG (Red/Amber/Green) rating, depending on how far students 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:

Students’ 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 students 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 students’ 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 Teaching and Learning Team and analysed in collaboration with teachers in order to monitor progress of students.

SCERI targets are assigned to students during their Keyworker sessions. SCERI targets are agreed by both students and the Keyworker in order to ensure student investment. Students are supported to make progress within their SCERI targets. Progress is tracked and assessed each half-term and new targets are set.



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

The assessment data will also show students’ progress from their starting points and also indicate who are either below, meeting or exceeding their expected and aspirational targets. 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

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

Students 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. Students also engage in 15 minutes of quiet reading at the beginning of each English lesson.

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


Curriculum Impact: Destinations

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

6th form students attend 3 different work experience placements each year, for 2 hours per week. The placements are intended to match the interests of the students 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.

St Mary Magdalene Church Gardens
Holloway Road
N7 8LT

Tel: 0203 859 6350

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