Curriculum Overview

Holly Grove’s curriculum is broad and balanced taking into account our children’s specific needs. It is designed to ensure the curriculum experienced by each pupil is appropriate to meet their need. We have high expectations and physical, positive mental health and wellbeing and cultural capital are given a high priority within our curriculum.

For pupils in the EYFS/Year 1 we follow the statutory 2021 EYFS Framework with pupils working towards the Early Learning Goals (ELG). Pupils are assessed using the school’s EYFS Special School Progression Document based on ‘Development Matters’ and ‘Birth to 5’.

Pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 will access one of three curriculums designed to meet their individual learning needs and may move through different curriculums during their time in school:

Sensory Curriculum:

Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. The sensory curriculum aims to encourage and promote learning and development through the stimulation of all the senses and is based on the five main areas of the EHCP: Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Personal, Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Self-Help and Independence.

Pupils are assessed using the school’s Sensory Progression Document.

Semi- Formal Curriculum:

The semi-formal curriculum is designed for our pupils with severe learning difficulties/complex ASD who require experiences and opportunities which promote the development of functional skills, communication, emotional well-being, confidence and independence. It is important for these pupils that achievable aspirations for transitioning to their adult lives remain at the heart of our curriculum and time is dedicated to ensuring a progression of skills throughout school.

Pupils accessing the semi-formal curriculum develop a progression of skills in 10 areas: Communication & Interaction, Emotional Understanding and Self-Awareness, Social Understanding and Relationships, Learning and Engagement, Sensory Processing, Healthy Living, Interests, Routines and Processing, Independence and Community Participation, Functional English and Functional Maths.

Pupils are assessed using the school’s Semi-Formal Progression Document based on ‘The Autism Education Trust Progression Framework’ and ‘Development Matters’.

Formal Curriculum

Holly Grove’s formal curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and is designed for pupils who are working below age-related expectations but are developmentally and cognitively able to access subject specific learning e.g. History, Geography etc.

Pupils are assessed in Pivats in English, Maths and PSD and the school’s subject specific progression documents in the other formal curriculum areas. Where appropriate, pupils will be entered into age-appropriate national testing e.g. Year 1/2 Phonics Screening, Year 6 SATs etc.

Curriculum maps are provided for each year group to ensure that each teacher is clear about what to cover.

All pupils, regardless of which curriculum they follow, are entitled to inclusive learning opportunities with their peers, alongside smaller ability-based groups or 1:1 teaching opportunities, where appropriate. They are also entitled to access a curriculum that is broad and balanced demonstrating a clear progression of skills. Work Related Pathways will be followed to ensure a clear progression of skills across the key stages,

All pupils will have opportunities to access additional learning opportunities and therapies including singing, drama, music therapy, visiting authors and artists, MOVE, rebound therapy, sensory processing, hydrotherapy, community visits, swimming and nurture, according to their needs.

Holly Grove School teaches daily systematic synthetic phonic lessons, where appropriate. Pupils access this through a multi-sensory approach, using the DfE approved ‘Bug Club Phonics’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’. Bug Club Phonics provides phonically decodable books and an online learning resource. These are accessed both in school and at home.

We have just completed the Headsprout Early Reading in Special Schools Project (HERiSS). The HERiSS project evaluated the effects of a computer-based early reading programme on reading skills for children with special educational needs and disabilities in special schools. The project was funded by the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF), in their first round of funding specific to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This was the first special school project funded by EEF, and quite possibly the first large-scale RCT conducted in special schools in the UK. We are currently awaiting the final report, however internal assessments demonstrated excellent progress in reading for those pupils who took part. We will continue to use Headsprout for identified pupils.

Pupils in Year 1 and 2, who are demonstrating blending and segmenting skills, may be put forward for the Phonics Screening Test in June each year. These children, along with other children who may require extra support with reading will access regular, additional intervention sessions led by our Intervention Lead, Michelle.

Pupils at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 may also be supported through additional interventions to access National Curriculum Tests, where appropriate.

Pupils have access to a range of additional interventions and support including speech and language, MOVE, Sensory Processing, Physiotherapy, Rebound Therapy, Hydrotherapy and ICT, and where appropriate have access to specialist teachers for Visual Impairment and Hearing Impairment. We have accessed funding as part of the DfE school led tutoring programme.

If you require more information on the curriculum we follow at Holly Grove please speak to your child’s class teacher.

To find out what each class is learning about this term, click on the class.

Files to Download

Burnley Campus, Barden Lane,
Burnley, Lancashire, BB1O 1JD


Lisa-Jane Brown and Holly Mackenzie

01282 953710


Karen Alty


Eve Taylor


The Georgia Fourie Butterfly Fund was set up in 2009, in conjunction with her parents, in memory of a very special pupil who sadly passed away after many years of bad health.