Curriculum / Prospectus / Classes

Birtenshaw School Bolton


The mission at Birtenshaw school Bolton is to transform the lives of pupils by offering a bespoke, personalised curriculum that puts pupils EHCP long term aspirations at the heart of their learning to ensure every child leaves school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. We believe that every child can achieve their best outcomes from their individual starting points by following an ambitious curriculum with a focus on breaking down learning barriers through development of communication skills, behavioural support and therapeutic input. Personal development, social interaction and cultural capital equips pupils with key knowledge and skills in order to become successful, valued members of their community.

The acquisition of knowledge and skills

The curriculum is designed to cumulatively build the knowledge, cultural capital and skills pupils need in order to be successful in their lives beyond Birtenshaw School Bolton.

All pupils have an Education Heath and Care Plan with Autism being the most common diagnosis, followed by ADHD. At Birtenshaw School Bolton we have identified additional barriers to learning that can inhibit pupil’s ability to acquire knowledge and skills:

  • Sensory processing needs
  • Limited parental support
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Speech and Language / Communication Difficulties
  • Previous exclusion from school / previous failed placement
  • Significant time away from education
  • Being a Looked After Child
  • Poor attendance
  • Complex Health Needs

In order to overcome these barriers, our first and ultimate priority is that pupils feel safe in school. We do not place any unnecessary stresses such as school uniforms, school bells, unnecessary transitions and busy, overcrowded corridors. Pupils enter a quiet, calm and clutter free building following a carefully planned transition contributed by parents, carers, professionals and therapists. To support pupils feeling of safety it is imperative that pupils access a range of therapeutic assessments and interventions so that they are in a calm, relaxed state before we introduced any learning demands.

Before lessons start many pupils access the sensory spaces around school such as the ball pool, sensory integration, rebound therapy and hydrotherapy. Some pupils have a shower or bath and are supported to manage their own personal care as part of their morning routine.

Once pupils are in a calm, relaxed state and feel safe and happy they are introduced to their learning.

The curriculum is split into four areas;

  • EYFS
  • Route One
  • Route Two
  • Sixth Form

The diagram below shows the breadth of the curriculum across the four areas.

Birtenshaw School Bolton - Curriculum
Birtenshaw School Bolton - School Flow

Class Groups

EYFS Curriculum

The Early Years Curriculum is designed to promote pupil’s curiosity and embed an enthusiastic attitude to learning by creating a safe and secure environment for pupils to build confidence and self-resilience, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.

The curriculum is flexible to consider each individual’s starting point; using the development journal to record even the smallest steps of progress. Pupils are supported to link their learning across a range of subjects through exploration, imaginative play, therapeutic activities and communication development. Therapeutic assessments and interventions help to ensure pupils are ready to learn, form relationships and thrive physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally. We provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences, as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking.

Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.

The seven areas of learning for the EYFS Curriculum are;

  1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  2. Physical Development
  3. Communication and Language
  4. Literacy
  5. Mathematics
  6. Understanding the World
  7. Expressive Art and Design

Within these seven areas there are sub categories that ensure pupils access a broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities both inside and outside of the classroom.

Route One Curriculum

The Route One curriculum provides a holistic approach to learning, led by pupils’ EHCP outcomes and long-term aspirations, whilst also meeting pupils sensory and physical needs.

Pupils working within Route One need intensive support from adults around them in order to make progress within lessons and activities, keep safe and to meet all of their personal and self-help needs. Such as toileting, feeding, communication, structure and behaviour management.

Route One provides pupils with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills they need to build effective strategies around behaviour, structure and routine, resilience and their understanding of the wider world through an ambitious, pupil centred and supportive package. Route One has an over-arching focus of communication, supporting pupils to develop a successful and effective way to communicate their needs. Pupils are given the knowledge and skills to be able to communicate to a variety of people around them and gain their own voice to support their independence and preparation for adulthood, with the over-sight and support of the Speech and Language Therapist.

As pupils in Route One gain the knowledge and skills to progress they can move into the Route 2 curriculum, accessing a broad and balanced curriculum.

The four areas of the Route One curriculum are;

  • Cognition and Learning
  • Sensory and Physical
  • Social, Emotional and mental Health
  • Personal development

Communication overarches all four areas.

Route Two Curriculum

The mission of the Route Two curriculum is to introduce pupils to an ambitious, integrated, broad and balanced curriculum where they are able to connect the dots in their learning and gain the essential knowledge needed to be educated citizens. A wide range of topic-based learning immerses children in progressive knowledge and skills, in a secure, caring and supportive environment, with opportunities to apply their learning in real life, practical applications within their community.

By identifying pupil’s individual needs and utilising a combination of educational and therapeutic approaches; all pupils should be able to play a full, active and equal part in all lessons and enrichment opportunities. The Route Two curriculum is aimed at pupils within Key stages 2, 3 and 4 working within the National Curriculum Stages.

Alongside the core curriculum, pupils will also engage in complementary personal development programme. These extra curriculum topics include:

  • Enrichment
  • Life Skills
  • Food Technology
  • Pony Riding
  • Birtenshaw Gym
  • Cooking Skills

Accreditations at KS4

  • Entry Level to Level 2 Functional Skills English
  • Entry Level to Level 2 Functional Skills Math
  • Entry Level to Level 2 Functional Skills ICT

The broad and balanced curriculum enables pupils to become good citizens and demonstrate an appreciation for each other, the school community and the wider world. Pupils will learn to be respectful and show tolerance and acceptance to those from different faiths and backgrounds.

Sixth Form Curriculum

The mission at Birtenshaw School Bolton – Sixth Form is to empower pupils to live fulfilling lives as productive members of society within their own community. All pupils have an Education Health and Care Plan and it is these Long-Term Aspirations within the EHCP plans that defines the curriculum on offer within the Sixth Form provision for each individual pupil. We believe that pupil’s success is defined by the opportunities that we provide; facilitated through a welcoming and safe environment, experienced and dedicated staff and a bespoke, tailored curriculum designed to engage, inspire and motivate pupils to reach their maximum potential. The curriculum develops pupils existing knowledge and provides opportunities for this knowledge to be skilfully applied in various ways to help prepare pupils for their adulthood pathway as defined in their EHCP.

The continued focus on English, Maths, ICT and Communication ensures pupils continue to develop their basic skills in a functional and purposeful way to help equip them with the knowledge they need to excel in their individual destinations. Cultural capital equips pupils with key knowledge and skills in order to become successful, valued members of their community.

The curriculum is uniquely individualised to each pupil; designed around their EHCP long term aspirations. In addition to these individual curriculums, all pupils will study Functional Maths and English, Communication and Information Technology as well as

The EHCP Long Term Aspirations will shape their individual timetables and depending on their individual PFA pathways they will opt to study a selection of Units within the ASDAN PSD and BTEC Work Skills Level 1 qualifications and PSHE and RSE schemes of work.

Birtenshaw’s mission to Transform Lives is at the very heart of the Sixth Form Provision. Pupils will leave Sixth Form with the skills they need to contribute actively to society and engage in the futures they identified through their EHCP outcomes. For some this may mean that they can safely meet their own basic care needs, communicate effectively with friends and family as well as members of their community. For others this may mean an apprenticeship programme, supported internship or paid employment alongside independent living. Regardless of their EHCP Outcomes, all pupils will leave with confidence, resilience and the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their lives.


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Sixth Form One

Sixth Form Two

Sixth Form Three

Sixth Form Four

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