The Village School: A transdisciplinary approach to building a bespoke curriculum

The Village School (TVS), Brent, has 277 pupils aged 3 to 19 catering for a wide range of complex needs; all levels of learning, communication, ASD, physical, medical and sensory impairment. They employ an inclusive philosophy and commitment that all their children are entitled to make progress. There are more than 200 highly trained and experienced staff at TVS, including teachers, teaching assistants, personal care staff, lunchtime supervisors, therapists, administration and technical staff, site management and family workers.

In this case study, Hermann Farrington, Deputy Headteacher at TVS, shares how through the creation of their bespoke curriculum, ‘Moving Forward’, the school has developed personalised pathways so each individual pupil’s needs and aspirations can be met. The Moving Forward assessment framework has allowed the school to show more holistic progress of their pupils across a wider range of measures, within a broader and more balanced curriculum. Through the effective use of Classroom Monitor alongside their curriculum, the school is able to observe patterns and trends, indicating interventions at whole school, cohort and individual pupil level.

Life after p-scales – bridging the gap
In 2016, following the publication of the Rochford Review and the probable removal of the statutory requirement to use performance scales (p-scales), TVS began reviewing their curriculum.

Hermann outlines the challenge they faced, “At the time, the school was using PIVATS and p-scales. This worked ok for the school, but we soon realised we had a gap between the final p-scale 8 to the now existing national curriculum. So as a school we decided we needed to bridge this gap. Once we started, it soon became clear that we needed to work backwards through the whole curriculum to accommodate our specific requirements.”

“Primarily we realised that PIVATS wasn’t meeting our needs – we couldn’t demonstrate the small steps of progress that some of our students make. We wanted to measure what really matters; to make assessment meaningful, analysing and acknowledging those small steps of progress and being able to show progress.”

“There were also levels not appropriate for some students. For example, for our visually and hearing-impaired students, certain scales weren’t meaningful. For other students, being able to hold a pencil in a tripod grip was unrealistic, so having 30 targets relating to the development of their handwriting provided no value. We needed to make it meaningful.”

To meet these needs, it was acknowledged that they needed to rewrite the whole curriculum and develop a bespoke assessment framework – Moving Forward.”

Life after p-scales – bridging the gap
In 2016, following the publication of the Rochford Review and the probable removal of the statutory requirement to use performance scales (p-scales), TVS began reviewing their curriculum.

Hermann outlines the challenge they faced, “At the time, the school was using PIVATS and p-scales. This worked ok for the school, but we soon realised we had a gap between the final p-scale 8 to the now existing national curriculum. So as a school we decided we needed to bridge this gap. Once we started, it soon became clear that we needed to work backwards through the whole curriculum to accommodate our specific requirements.”

“Primarily we realised that PIVATS wasn’t meeting our needs – we couldn’t demonstrate the small steps of progress that some of our students make. We wanted to measure what really matters; to make assessment meaningful, analysing and acknowledging those small steps of progress and being able to show progress.”

“There were also levels not appropriate for some students. For example, for our visually and hearing-impaired students, certain scales weren’t meaningful. For other students, being able to hold a pencil in a tripod grip was unrealistic, so having 30 targets relating to the development of their handwriting provided no value. We needed to make it meaningful.”

To meet these needs, it was acknowledged that they needed to rewrite the whole curriculum and develop a bespoke assessment framework – Moving Forward.”