Early Years and Primary Phase

The East SILC Primary Curriculum Overview

The Primary curriculum operates on a three-year rolling topic-based program which covers all aspects of the EYFS and Primary (KS1 and KS2) curriculum. The topics are carefully selected to get breath of coverage and to ensure that teaching and learning can be delivered in a cross curricular manner to ensure deeper learning and aim to immerse pupils into topics. These topics are delivered termly. In addition to the termly topics, we embrace our ‘Exploration Weeks’ which are weeks of immersive learning that aim to cover stand-alone topics such as ‘The Vikings’ and ‘Victorians’ across the week to ensure that pupils have a deeper understanding of a topic that spans a range of subjects and also allows pupils to understand transferring of skills in different contexts.

The curriculum allows for personalized learning and to ensure that pupils EHCPs, ILPPs, SALT and physiotherapy programs are at the heart of everything by enabling them to develop skills but using the topics as an interesting vehicle to do so.

The coverage is tracked termly in line with Medium Term Planning and is monitored on a central sheet for an overview of what is being covered within the Primary Department. The EYFS pupils follow the same topics in line with the rest of the phase to be connected to the wider school community but objectives and outcomes relate to age related expectations and developmental stages from the EYFS frameworks.

The topics are selected by analysing the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum subject by subject and identifying which strands can be covered during selected overarching topics. For strands and aspects which stand alone, we deliver these as immersive learning weeks as mentioned before (Exploration Weeks). Other topics are added to the ‘Exploration Weeks’ cycle and are put into the calendar to ensure that these topics fit well with other events in school and the wider community as well as identifying special events and celebrations which provide learning opportunities to ensure maximum progress for our pupils.

The subjects are grouped together in a similar way to the EYFS to enable this topic-based learning to really come to life and enables us to cover a wide range of topics and strands over a longer period simultaneously which enables pupils to engage in deeper learning, immerse themselves in topics and transfer skills. We also allow for retrieval skills by revisiting prior learning on a regular basis. The link between ILPPs and the work done within lessons is strong, evidence is gathered throughout the week using ‘Evisense’ and links to curriculum/assessment as well as ILPPs/EHCPs and ‘Wow Moments’ which are standalone moments that demonstrate exceptional progress made.


Early Years Foundation Stage

Topic based learning experiences are offered which cover the seven areas of learning. These are;

  • Communication and Language
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Expressive Arts and Design
  • Understanding the World

Pupils access a mixture of adult and child lead learning experiences within the provision and have access to outdoor space, which include climbing equipment and sensory exploration areas. Play and exploration is highly important within the EYFS as it develops all the areas of learning and encourages the development of the characteristics of effective learning. The environment is set up to allow the children access to resources which will encourage child lead learning, this includes role play and sensory areas, a range of opportunities for mark making and gross and fine motor skill challenges. The pupils are also able to access whole school resources and events; these include a soft play area, assemblies and celebrations.


Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2


Literacy is taught through the topic based curriculum, often based around a book. Literacy and communication is at the heart of the curriculum and learning is personalised through the pathways as described below;

Sensory Pathway – Students experience literacy and literature through a multi-sensory curriculum that allows progress towards their ILPP targets.

Towards Independance Pathway – Students receive a curriculum that has equal focus on literacy intervention and literature.

Independant Pathway – Students receive a curriculum which will guide them towards recognised qualification, as appropriate.


Speaking and Listening

In the broadest interpretation, speaking and listening encompass all forms of communicative responses and intent.

Pupils are given every opportunity to communicate to encourage them to express their likes, dislikes, feelings, emotions and preferences for different audiences. We recognise it is important to develop vocalisation, whether spontaneous or imitative and/or the use of a range of communication aids, communicative movements and gestures. This is supported by the Speech Therapy Department.

Speaking and Listening is delivered by:

  • Specifically identified objectives from the National Curriculum
  • Providing a range of opportunities for children to talk and listen in formal and informal settings. This is supported in all areas of the curriculum.
  • The use of drama and role play to explore imagined situations
  • Class discussion time and debates on topical and contentious issues both local and world affairs
  • Interviewing carried out as part of a topic
  • External stimuli to develop language
  • Interactive questioning


It is our aim that pupils read for understanding and for pleasure. Many will need a carefully constructed reading programme.

For some pupils with learning difficulties, reading is interpreted as any activity that leads to the derivation of meanings from visual or tactile representations, for example, objects, pictures, symbols or written words.

Reading is developed through:

  • Direct teaching in shared/guided reading
  • Providing a range of reading materials and opportunities for children to select from this for information and enjoyment
  • Use of structured reading schemes to support all pupils until they are capable of independent reading
  • A structured programme of phonics and word recognition - Jolly Phonics 
  • Home/school reading, in which children are encouraged to read fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or a reading scheme (Bug Club) at home to read and share with parents and carers
  • Children have the opportunity to borrow good quality fiction and non-fiction from the school mobile reading library to use in the classroom, which is levelled so students can choose books appropriate for their ability.


Writing may be interpreted as any activity that communicates and records events and experiences, information, thoughts and feelings.

Writing is developed through:

  • Direct teaching within and beyond the Literacy Sessions through modelled, shared, guided and independent writing
  • Providing a range of contexts for writing
  • Paying increasing attention to punctuation, grammar and spelling as children become more fluent and confident
  • Encouraging a process of drafting and redrafting
  • Providing opportunities for collaborative writing during regular shared and guided writing sessions within and beyond the Literacy Sessions
  • Extending the whole range of skills from mark making and emergent writing, to being able to write independently for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Setting group and individual writing targets for children to highlight the next step forward
  • Role play
  • Display and a print, rich environment

For some students their method of recording will include the use of objects, pictures, photographs, symbols, texts and Big Macs or dictation to a scribe.

Handwriting is developed through:

  • Letters and sounds introducing correct letter formation
  • All relevant ICT aids are used to support and foster writing, including single switches and communication aids
  • Encouragement of neat presentation and pride in their work

Spelling is developed through:

  • Direct teaching
  • The marking of work
  • Individual word wall 
  • Regular learning of differentiated spelling lists using look, say, cover, write, check method and encouraging children to have `best try`
  • Encouragement in the use of and direct teaching of dictionary skills



Mathematics is an essential subject that affects every aspect of a child's life. It gives children a greater understanding of the world around them and equips them to cope with the mathematical demands of everyday life. We aspire for our pupils to make a positive contribution to society and to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. Individual pupils’ learning is tailored to reflect both EHCP outcomes and ILPP targets.

We aim for mathematics to be as practical as possible and to engage and stimulate all of our pupils. Mathematical learning takes place both in and outside of school. Mathematics is taught in classrooms as well as areas such as Soft Play, Millennium Garden, Quad Garden and PhysCap Play Area . Learning continues on educational visits to a variety of locations including shopping trips involving the practical use of money.

Pupils following the Sensory Pathway curriculum learn through cognition activities with a maths theme. Multisensory resources are used to motivate and encourage curiosity amongst learners.

Pupils following the Towards Independance Pathway curriculum benefit from a combination of multisensory and more formal approaches. Learning it tailored towards pupil’s individual interests and designed to develop a greater understanding of the world.

Pupils following the Independant Pathway curriculum have specific focused maths lessons both using practical and more formal approaches. The context will often reflect life skills and prepare pupils for adult life and to be as independent as possible.


In the primary phase, science is taught through topic-based learning. The topics are cross-curricular and cover all of the National Curriculum topics over KS1 and KS2. Certain topic themes are enhanced through the year through deeper learning, such as “What’s It Made Of?”, “Marvellous Me!” and “Healthy Living”. Pupils at the East SILC learn better and gain a greater level of understanding when they have a focus week rather than hourly lessons per week.

Pupils following the Sensory Pathway curriculum develop through exploring and experiential learning. Sensory objects are shared that have links to the topic covered across all science topics. They are encouraged to use their senses to explore foods, textures, fabrics, music, light and sound objects and other objects and smells associated with the topic themes.

Evidence is largely photographic or short video clips, featuring progress, engagement and enjoyment. The media file is uploaded to Evisense and is linked to an assessment strand where applicable.

A variety of communication strategies and resources are used, including Eye Gaze Technology, Communicate In Print symbols, Makaton signing, switches, objects of reference and single key word communication.

Pupils following the Towards Independance Pathway curriculum will have elements of their learning that are sensory based, similar to pupils who are working on the Sensory Pathway curriculum, however their learning will be more subject and topic lead, whilst introducing more skill.

Pupils will focus on developing basic scientific enquiry skills such making predictions, observations, following simple methods, recording results and making simple conclusions. Pupils will learn abouIndependent Pathwayt basic lab safety and how to use scientific equipment safely e.g. using beakers.

Pupils on this pathway will require support to access the topics however independence is encouraged throughout. Pupils will learn simple theories and concepts through the use of total communication to ensure they can access the curriculum.

Learning will involve pupils using a variety of resources, including songs, role play, sensory materials, opportunities to explore, Millennium Garden, educational visits, topic specific experimental resources, interactive white board, worksheets, iPads and topic related PowerPoints

Pupils following the Independent Pathway curriculum will have elements of their learning that are similar to the semiformal and informal curriculum, however their learning is subject-specific, going into depth and detail within topics, building on basic skills, knowledge and understanding.

Pupils on the Independent Pathway focus on enhancing and developing their scientific enquiry skills such as making hypotheses, recording detailed observations, writing methods, recording multiple results, calculating averages, drawing graphs, making conclusions and evaluating their own work.

Pupils will learn how to keep themselves safe when handling potentially hazardous materials and equipment. Pupils work independently for the majority of the work set although support may be required for more complex work.

Learning will involve pupils using a variety of resources, including the Millennium Garden, educational visits, topic specific experimental resources, interactive white board, worksheets, topic related PowerPoints, chemicals, educational videos, software, glassware, Bunsen burners, external providers, computers and iPad’s.


The PSHE curriculum across Primary is a broad and engaging one. Pupils access PSHE throughout the day, from circle time to being able to interact with both adults and their peers. Many pupils access PSHE through SEAL activities. The SEAL approach promotes, social and emotional skills that helps underpin effective learning, positive behaviour and building friendships. It also teaches children how to live happily and safely in society by developing their self- help skills, independence, e-safety and road safety. Other pupils may focus on areas that are best fit to their physical health and well- being such as Physiotherapy, Tac-Pac, Lego-Therapy and sensory circuits.

In Primary this year we have introduced Mindfulness in order to teach pupils about their body and mind. This may be done through relaxation, time in the sensory room or for some, weekly yoga. The introduction of yoga has been a success and has had a good impact on the pupil’s readiness to learn and the importance of taking time to relax the mind.

Overall, the PSHE curriculum is a holistic one that allows for the needs of all pupils to be met and developed.


Computing is a prime way to teach in a cross curricular manner and is used effectively and regularly within most sessions. Computing is taught as a discreet lesson in many cases and also taught in a cross curricular manner to support topics.

The resources within school include: Switch toys, assistive and adaptive technology, EyeGaze technology, interactive whiteboards, iPads in each class, floor projector, Musii, Beamz, the Sensory Room, Bee-bots, green screen technology and programmable robots. 

Within the Sensory Pathway curriculum , pupils respond to computing in a variety of ways. Switch toys and games enable the pupils to interact effectively with different objects, pieces of equipment and software on the computer by giving the pupil control of their learning. Pupils with visual impairments have access to apps and games which enable them to develop their functional vision skills by responding in a fun and meaningful manner. This can be through the use of iPad apps and games and visuals on the smartboards.

Pupils also get the opportunity to work on larger pieces of equipment which enable them to use their whole bodies to communicate and engage. These include the use of the Musii and the floor projector.

Pupils who are working towards independence on a semiformal curriculum engage in a range of resources as well as using the computers which include cause and effect programmes and simple programmes such as Purple Mash, Help Kidz Learn and 2Simple to name a few.

Communication aids and assistive technology are used with some pupils on this pathway by enabling pupils to make choices, recognise symbols and developing their communication. iPads can be used for this using a range of software supplied through the SALT team and the communication aid team.

Pupils also enjoy using the resources such as the floor projector, Beamz, Bee-bots and the programmable Robots.

The pupils who are on the Independent Pathway and are working on a formal curriculum are encouraged to use ICT in a range of ways which include; taking photographs and video, saving and retrieving work, sending emails, logging on and off computers, word processing and eSafety and online safety.

Pupils create a range of documents including the use of Microsoft Office (eg. Word, PowerPoint, Publisher), Textease and Clicker.

iPads are used for a range of activities including Programming and problem solving, stop motion animation and video editing.

All styles of learning are catered for using the range of resources which enable the pupils to work independently and develop a greater depth of knowledge, skills and understanding.

Food Technology

We learn about cultural issues and cook food from different countries as part of individual topics. Students who follow a sensory programme explore foods and ingredients using all their senses. Using large sensory trays students are encouraged to touch and smell a variety of ingredients. The topic is reinforced with a sensory activity and music. use a range of communication techniques in food Technology including the use of Pecs for students who are developing verbal communication up to printed recipes which students follow independently. Students are encouraged to be as independent as possible in preparation for adult life.

Within the Primary Department Food Technology is incorporated into the main curriculum. The primary phase work on individual topics such as weight and capacity in maths and as part of this they may make bread and divide it into halves, quarters and thirds. They incorporate food into most of our topics, for instance, in history we might cook food based on World War 2 rationing recipes. Basic cooking skills are developed using a range of techniques including modelling and hand on hand.

Physical and Sensory Development

Within the Primary phase, PE is taught as a discreet lesson which is often linked to the current topic. PE is taught by class teachers and a Sports Coach who deliver high quality PE lessons.

PE helps to promote health and wellbeing and most importantly builds confidence and self-esteem. PSHE is constantly a part of lessons encouraging self-awareness where pupils evaluate their own work and others.

Pupils have the opportunity to take part in swimming and activities at the local sports centre and be coached by external providers such as Leeds United, yoga instructors and dance groups.

Complementing the activities facilitated through the PE curriculum we use a series of recognised programmes to enhance physical development and emotional well-being. These include Wake up Shake up, sensory circuits and individual sensory integration programmes

Pupils working on a Sensory curriculum take part in activities linked to the National Curriculum and use a range of adaptive equipment. We work closely with physiotherapists and occupational therapists to ensure the physical and sensory needs of our pupils are met. Pupils on the Sensory Pathway also have the opportunity to take part in the Motor Activity Training Programme (MATP) which develops pupils gross and fine motor skills and inter- SILC ‘Challenge Days’ to showcase their achievements.

Evidence is largely photographic or short video clips which feature progress, engagement and enjoyment. Progress is recorded through Engagement Steps and captured on Evisense.

Pupils on the Towards Independence Pathway  on a semiformal curriculum take part in activities linked to the National Curriculum and may use a range of adaptive equipment. Pupils independence is promoted throughout the lesson and pupils are encouraged to get changed into their PE kit to develop their self-help skills.

Pupils on the Independence Pathway work on a formal curriculum and take part in activities linked to the National Curriculum and are encourage to develop their skills as Sports Leaders by leading at a range of competitive sporting competitions and school sporting events. This is to develop their self- confidence and communication skills.

The school works closely with the School Games Organiser to arrange a wide range of sporting competitions for pupils across all pathways and key stages. For example, the MATP days, West Yorkshire Panathlon and Inter SILC competitions.


In the Primary Phase, the humanities subjects are taught through topic based learning. The topics are cross curricular and cover all of the National Curriculum subjects. Interspersed throughout the main topic themes are Exploration Weeks which may be humanities based, for example, in the spring term 2020, the pupils had an Exploration Week to learn about ‘Chinese New Year’, ‘Ancient Greece’ and ‘How can I Help?’. We believe the primary pupils at the East SILC learn better and gain a greater understanding when they have a focus week rather than hourly lessons each week.

Teaching in the humanities will frequently reflect what is happening locally and nationally. In RE this includes celebrating different religious festivals, in history commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War 1 and in geography studying the local area. As often as possible learning will include off site educational visits to provide first hand experiences and learning will be enhanced through the use of IT resources.

Pupils on the Sensory Pathway learn through an informal curriculum, exploring different artefacts that are exciting and have a strong sensory element and are linked to the themes covered in the humanities subjects. They are encouraged to use their senses to explore foods, music, textiles, objects and smells associated with the topic themes.

Pupils working on the Towards Independence Pathway will study a semiformal curriculum and will have elements of their learning that are sensory based similar to those of pupils working from an informal curriculum, however their learning will include more factual detail about the humanities subjects.

Pupils working on the Independent Pathway will work from the formal curriculum and they will be encouraged to form opinions, evaluate and research independently as part of their learning in the humanities subjects.

Creative Arts

The way in which pupils learn through the arts is individualised and completely bespoke dependent on their pathway.

Pupils on the Sensory Pathway engage in an informal curriculum and take part in a range of tasks which appeal to their natural curiosity. This is achieved through exploratory learning around all topics. Many activities involve pupils expressing preference and communicating through their experiences of learning. In art, they may work on making marks in sensory materials, feeling and responding to different textures and responding to songs and instrument sounds.

Pupils working from the Towards Indepedent curriculum begin to experience a more formal approach to their classroom learning. They may explore texture in a more complex way, make meaningful marks, begin to look at making things for a purpose, playing percussion instruments (tuned and untuned) along to music which supports the topics, singing along to songs and joining in with actions.

Independent Pathway pupils work from a formal curriculum which will begin to facilitate their own individual creative learning. Research tasks play a crucial role in pupils’ discovery of the arts and complements their prior knowledge. Pupils will engage in activities such as planning their work, create art for a purpose using a range of techniques and materials, review their own and others work, perform confidently and create their own compositions.

A range of specialist resources are implemented across the school. In music we regularly use cutting edge technology such as ‘Musii’, ‘Sound Beamz’ and advanced recording equipment. An array of adapted musical instruments are used as learning tools in lessons.

ICT equipment is used across the arts. Interactive whiteboards, iPads, EyeGaze and floor projectors are regularly used to facilitate the learning of a range of pupils with specific learning needs.

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