Mission Statement

Hello. I am Anna Bates and I am the lead teacher for our Semi-formal Curriculum. I have been teaching at Highfield for 6 years and have completed my NPQSL. This helps me to take a strategic view of our student base and how best to plan the long term development of the curriculum offered at Highfield. Makaton is our chosen sign language and used through-out our school day, by all staff. My real passionate is in supporting all our learners to communicate because this is at the very heart of well-being and self-worth.  We do not only strive to provide the right means but also the motivation and communication partner.  

Our curriculum’s vision is to cater for young people with severe and complex learning difficulties recognising that each child is unique and as such they deserve an individualised learning experience to both meet their needs and nurture the best possible outcomes.  

We have built our curriculum upon simple core values of ‘child first’, respect, enjoyment, and high expectations. We put the whole child at the centre of how we approach every aspect of their holistic betterment by adapting the learning opportunities and experiences to best meet the needs of the individual. 

Our curriculum is highly kinaesthetic and is designed to progress Communication, Independence and Problem-Solving skills through as varied a diet of experiences as possible, including Play. Nurturing confidence and sense of personal well-being underpins each bespoke activity whilst being anchored in real-life, meaningful experiences. These are delivered through highly personalised timetables giving routine and stimulation so that each learner can grow to meet their potential at the right pace and trajectory for them. 

Because each child learns differently then we must teach them differently. Adapt and flex to create a love of learning and a true sense of achievement, celebrating each and every success along the way. 

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing” Rollo May 

Students following the semi-formal pathway are focusing on developing their communication and independence skills. It is based on developing their life skills.

This curriculum supports learners who need greater support with all or some of the following:

Communication, concentration and attention, short term and long-term memory, sequential memory, information processing speed, strategies for thinking and learning, generalisation and problem solving.

There are semi-formal classes in all Key Stages of School including Post 16.

Classes on this pathway are in smaller classes with a higher staff ratio. Usually 7 students with 3 staff members. This allows staff to provide a greater level of support to successfully access their learning.

This pathway follows the Equals curriculum:  https://equals.co.uk/.


Students have a strong focus on highly personalised targets that thread across the curriculum areas.

Classes on this pathway have weekly lessons with specialist staff and areas of school – PE & Fitness, Horticulture, Cooking, Art, Music and Careers.