Curriculum Intent, implementation and Impact at Fred Nicholson School
(Information about the curriculum can also be found in our Prospectus and by contacting the school direct – see Contact Us)


We aim to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum to our pupils which is tailored to meet individual need at an appropriate level to their abilities. We follow the Early Years Curriculum, National Curriculum, and Key Stage 4 accreditation specifications.

Pupils learning will be enjoyable, engaging and relevant. They will have the opportunity to challenge themselves, develop problem solving skills, to be creative and to develop independence. They will learn from every opportunity provided. They will grow in confidence and take pride in their achievements. Our curriculum is differentiated and purposeful ensuring core skills are embedded at every opportunity.

Our pupils will have the opportunity to contribute towards the curriculum we offer, they will have the chance to pursue their own interests within topics. Our pupils are frequently given the opportunity to discuss their next steps and how to move their learning forwards in a way appropriate to their ability.


Our curriculum is delivered, as much as possible, through play based learning and exploration. Learning should be based in real life, context based situations. In Key Stage 2 and 3 we use big questions and immersive learning in order to achieve this. In Key Stage 4 we build on the progress made in Key Stages 2 and 3. Our pupils follow programmes tailored to develop their work and life skills alongside a broad range of qualifications.

Staff will model learning for pupils, including for social skills and independence. Learning may take place on a 1:1, small group or whole class basis. The curriculum is delivered in small steps with the opportunity for consolidation in order to support the small step progress which is essential for all our pupils.
To fully meet the varying needs of our pupils we have divided our curriculum into three areas:

  • Curriculum
  • Independence
  • Physical, Sensory and Interaction

Each led by a member of our management team. Please see links for further information. 


Our approach to teaching and learning differs between classes based on the needs of the pupils.

In KS2 we use an age appropriate approach based on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum.  This is an approach to learning which is based around child initiated learning and recognises where the young person is at within their ability and interests.  It is based on the recognition that children learn best through play, active learning and thinking critically.  It offers child-initiated play that most often leads to deep level learning which helps maximise progress.  By offering this style of learning in an age appropriate way we are able to develop a pupil’s readiness to learn and build on their social interaction and communication skills as well as address their Maths and English skills. KS2 pupils follow topic based learning in order to support this approach. KS2 has big questions in place which help challenge and extend pupils thinking skills.

In KS3 the majority of classes are static, pupils follow KS1 and KS2 of the national curriculum working within topics and using big questions to drive learning. As pupils move up through KS3 where appropriate they move into a slightly less static class in preparation for KS4.

In KS4, pupils follow relevant accreditation specification, where appropriate pupils move into sets and around school for their lessons. They have options lessons and Life and Work Skills in addition to English, Maths, Science, Computing, PSHCE and RE. Apple Class follow a similar set up but are more static being based with the same teacher and in the same room for the majority of their lessons.

Willow class spans across KS3 and KS4, they follow the ASDAN Personal Progress accreditation. This ensures they are accessing a curriculum designed to develop pupils’ independence skills whilst further developing their knowledge in English, Maths, Science, Computing, PSHCE, PE and RE. 

In the Orchard House Specialist Provision pupils are mostly taught on a one to one or small group basis. Pupils have their own work spaces and will follow an age appropriate EYFS approach to the curriculum, national curriculum or KS4 accreditation’s as relevant to their needs and abilities. The curriculum within Orchard is highly personalised due to the high staff to pupil ratio. Where appropriate, some pupils will be supported to attend whole class sessions within the main Fred Nicholson building.
Pupils follow the relevant curriculum for the Core and Foundation Subjects.

The Core Subjects:

  • English/Literacy
  • Mathematics/Numeracy
  • Science

Further Core subject for pupils at FNS

  • Personal, Health, Social, Citizenship and Economic Education

The Foundation Subjects:

  • Art
  • Careers and Work Related Learning 
  • Computing (previously Information Communication Technology)
  • Design Technology (DT)
  • Drama
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Music
  • Physical Education (PE)
  • Religious Education (RE)

These subjects are also embedded within the EYFS style curriculum.

The Extended Curriculum

Pupils have the opportunity to take part in other learning activities during lesson and lunch time.  These include:

  • Gardening
  • Languages
  • ‘Protect Me’ Sessions
  • Basic DIY
  • Craft
  • International learning
  • Travel (Cycling and Mopeds)
  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Duke of Edinburgh – Bronze award
  • Forest Schools

There are also a variety of Theme Days such as ‘World Book Day’ and ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ which offer an extended range of learning exercises in different environments, and ‘Religious Education Days’. 

The Spiritual, Moral and Cultural Dimension

The school, like family life, provides a context for spiritual, moral, social and cultural learning and experiences. At school pupils will have the opportunity to experience different aspects of society within a clear and consistent moral framework developing mutual respect and tolerance for each other. This is embedded across the curriculum, recognising and reinforcing core British values.

Your child will be given opportunities to make informed choices to develop leadership skills, to take responsibility and to consider the consequences of their actions now and in the future.


Our pupils will leave Fred Nicholson School achieving to the very best of their ability with a range of qualifications appropriate to their needs and abilities. Our pupils should be able to access and actively participate within their local communities. This will include having the necessary skills to communicate effectively and the knowledge and understanding to keep themselves safe. Our pupils will value themselves and the role they have to play within the wider community. They will be able to regulate their emotions and will be resilient enough for new challenges, including further education and career opportunities. We hope that our pupils will see the value in learning and the importance it plays in their own lives.