Education & Curriculum
All students at St Joseph’s School have moderate, complex or severe learning disabilities. As one aspect of providing equal opportunities the school believes that the students ought to be treated according to the principle ‘person first, disability second’; that is: the student ought not to be defined or described simply in terms of his / her disability but is to be treated as a unique human being with individual needs, desires, interests and aspirations.
The school respects the students’ disabilities and does not seek to ‘cure’ or change its manifestation by coercive or confrontational methods. The school seeks to use a variety of teaching approaches in order to help each individual to overcome or cope with difficulties associated with their disabilities and to acquire skills and knowledge which are useful for all children and young people. The school, therefore, believes that the students have an entitlement to the education available to all, together with intervention which specifically addresses their disabilities.
The Whole Curriculum
In line with the National Curriculum 2000, St Joseph’s School aims to:
‘……. provide opportunities for all students to learn and achieve’
This curriculum will reflect the need to provide access to the culture and education generally available to children and young people in society by helping each student overcome or cope with the difficulties posed by their disabilities. For students with ASD the impairments of socialisation, communication and flexibility of thought need addressing ‘specifically’.
The curriculum will build on individual strengths, interests and experiences which will be reflected in the schemes of work and individual education plans. Through this process, the school will develop, implement and review a developmental curriculum which addresses the specific impairments of the students’ disabilities and provide access to the National Curriculum as appropriate to the developmental level of each student. For students with ASD this curriculum will be in part remedial, in helping students to overcome deficits and in part compensatory. Curriculum delivery will reflect the need for structure and repetition within subject areas which, in turn, will provide access to learning. The spiral curriculum St Joseph’s has created and developed revisits previous learning and knowledge and cements and builds upon what has been learned and experienced.
Students with learning difficulties require a ‘small steps’ approach in order to facilitate learning. Throughout key stages, students may need to continue to use / access multi-sensory approaches. These approaches are reflected in IEP targets and schemes of work.
‘school curriculum should aim to promote student’s spiritual,
moral, social and cultural development and prepare all
students for the opportunities and experiences of life’
(National Curriculum 1999, p11)