Curriculum and Assessment

Our Curriculum Intent

 Priestley Smith School caters for students aged 2-19 years from across the West Midlands region, all of whom have significant visual impairment. Many of our students have additional needs which impact on their learning.

At Priestley Smith, our curriculum is underpinned by our ethos and values. Our fully accessible curriculum not only reflects the needs of our vision impaired students, but also promotes a love of learning and personal growth.

We do this through an experiential, creative and relevant specialist curriculum which inspires and motivates all students to develop as individuals and achieve their potential. We support our students and equip them with the skills and attributes they need to become confident, independent and respectful young adults, who have ambitious aspirations for their futures. We recognise the challenges faced by young people with vision impairments and help them to develop the strategies to overcome any barriers.

Our curriculum takes into account the fact that many of our students have additional needs which include learning, communication, physical and social and emotional difficulties. It is therefore essential that the curriculum we offer, while paying full regard to national guidelines, is fit for purpose in meeting this range of need.

We recognise that many, though not all, of our students are working below their chronological levels and that it is essential that the curriculum we offer provides a clear progression in learning and skills, geared at the individual learning level of each child rather than at age-related expectations. Our teachers therefore plan the curriculum for each child, ensuring that the learning they undertake is appropriate to their level of understanding and provides the correct level of challenge. Our curriculum is designed to allow teachers to draw from concepts within current and previous key stages and to provide regular opportunities to revisit and consolidate areas of learning. We follow a stage not age approach across all key stages of the school.

Through our teaching we aim to:

  • Encourage independence for each student in both learning and personal development.
  • Offer learning through first-hand experience so that students with visual impairment have a greater understanding of concepts which may otherwise prove abstract and remote.
  • Dovetail their specialist VI curriculum in their everyday learning e.g braille, ICT accessibility, independent living skills and mobility.
  • Actively involve students in their learning so that it is meaningful and enables them to take responsibility for their own progress.
  • Develop the student’s ability to work together as part of a team and to regard positively what other students offer. We strive to develop an attitude of tolerance and respect for all.
  • Ensure that students understand that learning is not simply about acquiring knowledge but also about developing essential skills that can be related to new and future learning.
  • Encourage students to have fun in learning and to be proud of their achievements.
  • Help develop a positive attitude towards lifelong learning and prepare our students for adulthood.
  • Develop in our students the skills and values to live in a diverse and ever changing modern world.
  • Promote strong mental health and well-being in our students by building their resilience and coping strategies.

Links to Primary and Secondary subject overviews are shown below.

Rationale for determining the curriculum at Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2

Topic plan for Foundation stage

Curriculum intent Primary 

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum page 1

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum page 2

Primary Geography

Primary History

Primary RE

Primary Science

Primary Maths implementation

Primary Reading and Writing implementation

Primary speaking and listening

Curriculum Framework for Foundation Stage

Key Stage 1 Curriculum Framework Years 1 and 2

Key Stage 2 Curriculum Framework for Years 3 and 4

Key Stage 2 Curriculum Framework for Years 5 and 6

Primary English

Primary Mathematics

 Primary Modern Foreign Languages

 Primary PE

Primary spelling curriculum

Key Stage 3 Art and Design

Key Stage 3 Computing and IT

Key Stage 3 Design and Technology

Key Stage 3 English

Key Stage 3 Geography

Key Stage 3 History

Key Stage 3 Mathematics

Key Stage 3 Modern Foreign Languages

Key Stage 3 Music

Key Stage 3 PE

Key Stage 3 PSHE Framework

PSHE rationale for whole of secondary

Key Stage 3 Science

Key Stage 3 Food Technology

Key stage 3 RE

Key stage 3 ALG

Curriculum-Framework-for-Key-Stages-4-and-5 (1)

Key Stage 4 PSHE Framework

 Promoting-British-Values-at-Priestley-Smith-School

Birmingham Curriculum Statement Sept 2018

Legal framework for curriculum