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Curriculum Overview

At The Livity School, we believe that the most effective and powerful curricula are those that are flexible, allow for responsiveness, and continually change through evaluation.


Our curriculum is based on the ideas of Dr Penny Lacey (2011). For Lacey, a curriculum for young people with learning difficulties needs to be constructed around the ‘twin pillars’ of communication and cognition. With this in mind, our curriculum is informed by a developmental perspective, rather than a National Curriculum perspective, where the starting point is each individual pupil. 

Lacey, Penny (2011) A Profound Challenge in SEN Magazine. Accessed at

At The Livity we plan opportunities for more bespoke intervention programmes and cross-class learning, to bring enhanced personalisation. Through a rolling plan of themes, pupils experience varied contexts for learning, and encounter each of the foundation subjects within the UK National Curriculum. Across our school we have three curriculum pathways: 

- Informal: for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), working between P1 and P4, and at a developmental level between 0 and 18 months.

- Semi-Formal: for pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), working broadly between P4 and P7.

- Formal: for pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD), working between P8 and into National Curriculum levels. 


Rather than need to fit into either the Informal, Semi-Formal, or Formal stages we strive for pupils to have a ‘blended’ curriculum experience, unique to them.

Although all pupils from Year 1 upwards are placed in a class which follows one of the above three curricula, we are aware of the need to blend between them for pupils whose needs fall between the informal and semi-formal curriculum.

An overview of our Curriculum across The Livity School

Early Years Foundation Stage

Encounter and Discover

Pupils follow the EYFS curriculum throughout Early Years. This is a developmental curriculum, which plays a diagnostic role in establishing which of the three curriculum pathways the child will begin with in Year 1. The three key areas on the core EYFS curriculum are: 

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The Informal Curriculum

Connecting and Responding

PMLD: Levels P1-P4

  • My Communication

  • My Cognition

  • My Care and Independence

  • Me and My Community 

  • My Body 

The Semi-Formal Curriculum

A Life-Skills-Based Curriculum

SLD: Levels P4-P7

  • My Communication

  • My Thinking

  • Myself

  • My Body

  • How My World Works

  • My Creativity 

  • Me and My Community

The Formal Curriculum

An Adapted National Curriculum, which emphasises life need

MLD: Levels P8 and into N/C Levels

  • Language and Communication

  • Maths and Finance 

  • Understanding of the World 

  • Life Skills 

  • Personal and Social Development 

  • Creative Development 

  • Physical Development and Healthy Lifestyles

Learning Partners

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