At Willow Bank School we strive to provide an ambitious curriculum in a nurturing and safe environment underpinned by four key aims:

We encourage ‘Success Every Day’ by giving pupils the opportunity to learn and develop in a supportive and creative environment in which there is a focus on recognising achievement and supporting progression.

Physical and mental wellbeing are prioritised within our curriculum design and we strive to enhance our pupils’ school experience with opportunities to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding.

Willow Bank’s bespoke curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils re-engage with formal education upon admission, and that they feel safe and happy within our learning environments, taking into account our school’s unique characteristics and the complex range of SEMH needs which we cater for. We aim to build pupils’ aspirations by demonstrating possibilities for their future lives.

Details of curriculum intent and planning within each subject area can be found through the individual subject pages on the website.

Curriculum Documents


We have 6 lesson periods a day which are 45 minutes long and a daily form-time session which is 30 minutes in duration. Form-time sessions are dedicated to literacy and numeracy development, with a current affairs session each Friday. Our staff work hard to ensure that our curriculum is individualised, creative, innovative and flexible, allowing for the needs of each pupil to be met. Teachers refer to Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction when planning lessons, using this research to inform how we implement our curriculum.

The school is committed to providing a broad and balanced programme of study, based on the National Curriculum. This is blended with opportunities for pupils to develop functional skills, independence and skills for working life. Some subjects are taught discretely while others are covered via a creative curriculum approach, embedded into other subject areas.

Our lower school is designed to be based on the principles of nurture so there is a focus on understanding behaviour, improving communication and developing self-esteem. They have a safe and supportive space with key adults.

As pupils move through the school the level of independence expected increases. During KS4, pupils can access BTECs, Functional Skills qualifications at Entry Level, Level 1 and 2, or GCSEs, dependent on their individual progression pathways and aspirations. The full range of subjects taught and qualifications offered is outlined in our ‘Curriculum Map’ and ‘Available Courses’ web pages.

In addition to the academic curriculum, individualised interventions provide opportunities for pupils to participate in Additional Needs 1:1 sessions, personal development mentoring and Draw and Talk therapy sessions with specialist teachers, learning mentors and teaching assistants. Lower school pupils enjoy an afternoon of Forest School each week, which progresses to a weekly Outdoor Education session in key stages 3 and 4.


The curriculum is planned to provide continuity and progression. It enables pupils to make connections and transfer skills and to think creatively and solve problems. It also develops pupils’ capacity to work independently and collaboratively. 

The impact of our curriculum can be tracked in a variety of ways. We track pupils’ personal development throughout their time at school and ensure that the experiences accessed through school encourage them to develop resilience. Progress in early literacy is tracked by our specialist Learning Mentor, and our Key Stage leads monitor reading development across their respective stages.

Pupil progress is recorded termly, and subsequent learning is planned around their identified next steps. Over time, pupils grow in confidence and take pride in their accomplishments. The qualifications pupils achieve allow us to assess the impact of our provision. Even sitting exams evidences the commitment to learning which pupils develop during their time at Willow Bank and demonstrates the ability of a pupil to work independently.

We have a strong sense of community at school and we encourage pupils to consider the importance of contributing. Our pupils go on to access learning and employment and our NEET figures show this. We track how well our pupils succeed after school and encourage our past pupils to keep in touch.

Additional Information

If you would like to discuss curriculum and learning further, please contact any of the following staff:-

Deputy Head Quality of Education - Mrs N Laughton

Tel: 01744 678745

Quality of Education - Information

Please find below a list of qualifications offered at Willow Bank. Awarding Exam Board Specification and Course Links can be found underneath each subject where more information can be found. For any curriculum or qualification questions please contact 

Deputy Head Quality of Education - Mrs N Laughton Tel: 01744 678745






* English Language

AQA Subject Page (8700)

* Mathematics

AQA Subject Page (8300)

* Combined Science

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (1SC0)

* Geography

OCR Subject Page (J383)


OCR Subject Page (J410)

* Art & Design

AQA Subject Page (8202)


Functional Skills and Level 1



* English (Level 1)

AQA Subject Page (8720)

* English (Level 2)

AQA Subject Page (8725)

* Number & Measure (Level 1 Award)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (ANM10)


* Pre Vocational Studies (Entry L1)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (DXYG4)

* Applied Science (Level 1 Introductory Award and Certificate)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (HDDY7 & HDDY8)

* Home Cooking Skills (Level 1 Award)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (HCYP7)

* Personal Health & Wellbeing (L1 Certificate and Extended Certificate)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (DYZL5 & DXYG5)

Sport (Level 1/Level 2 First Award)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (BNYX7)

Entry Level Certificate

* English

AQA Subject Page (5970)

* Mathematics

AQA Subject Page (5930)

* Science

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (NSC0)

Edexcel Pearson Subject Page (NSF0)

* Geography

OCR Subject Page (R407)

* History

OCR Subject Page (R435)

Other Awards

* John Muir Trust Award

John Muir Award Page

* Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award

Duke of Edinburgh Award Page

Achievement Awards

* AQA Unit Award Scheme



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