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6th Form Curriculum

Firwood sixth form constructs a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all our students the knowledge and skills to better prepare them for adulthood. When students arrive in the sixth form, they are taking a new step in their educational journey and getting ready for their next step into education, care or employment. Our curriculum is designed to support transition required for young adults and create readiness for life outside Firwood. We believe in planning our curriculum to give students more independence and a bigger choice and voice, creating some ownership of their learning path and better preparing them for their next step. Most of our students will change from children to adult services while they are with us and it is important that they understand the future support that they can access, outside of education. Our aim for transition is to provide a package that is tailored to our students and families allowing them to make informed decisions on their next step. We aim to promote more collaborative and community learning and new challenging experience, within the familiar environment of the Firwood Family, to support our students in moving on in a safe and secure way.

The aim of the sixth form curriculum is for it to be coherently planned and for leaders continually review to ensure: 

  • Students receive a high-quality educational offer. 

  • Students have the opportunity to work on their aspirations through the curriculum and accreditation offer. 

  • It is up to date with current priorities in education. 

  • Students are better prepared for their next destination and beyond. 

  • Students are better prepared for adulthood. 

  • Communication is supported at every level.

  • It caters for the needs of all. 

  • Student outcomes are appropriate, clear and provide challenge.

We consider parents/carers priorities for pupils and build in opportunities for this within the curriculum, to ensure we work in partnership with parents/carers to build on the skills needed for our students to live a life which meets their aspirations. Targets and aspirations from parents are included on personalised learning plans. To further support our students holistically, we include targets set by other professionals, such as speech and language therapists or occupational therapists. Specialist input is woven in to the daily life of our students, and we dedicate curriculum time to supporting our students with these goals. Whilst we are adaptive, responsive and ensure our curriculum caters to the different needs of our students, we also ensure that the curriculum promotes literacy, numeracy and good communication at all times, as a core focus. We have a further focus on prompting independence, where appropriate and supporting the Preparing for Adulthood agenda to ensure student’s meet their destination outcomes.



From this September, students have been grouped according to student need. This allows teachers to focus more on the needs of their students and ensure that they are provided with an education that is challenging yet appropriate. We follow the four strands of preparation for adulthood in our curriculum offer and day to day teaching; PHSE /RSE is offered in our friends and relationships lessons; skills for work and life are taught through our life and living and world of work lessons; and community inclusion is taught through our community lessons. Our core curriculum demonstrates our passion for improving each student’s skills for work and life and as well as studying the core curriculum they are also given options to choose from every Thursday.


We provide students with work experience and experience of work opportunities both internally, in our bistro and vocational room, and externally by forging links with external providers. The careers curriculum is regularly assessed using the compass tool and we consult with our enterprise advisor and coordinator, as well as other external providers, to ensure that our careers offer is constantly evolving.  


Leaders link the curriculum intent to relevant local and regional employment and training by:

  •  Working closely with Connexions service to provide identified  students with 3 training sessions per year on transition, employment skills and local labour market information. 

  • Teaching employment skills to every student through our world of work lessons each week.  ( What happens in Thrive )

  • Joining with Talentino to support with our experience of work offer. 

  • Providing training to all staff on the national careers landscape, ran by Talentino. 

  • Evaluating our careers offer against the Gatsby Benchmarks using the compass tool. 

  • Working with and seeking advice and guidance from GMCA’s enterprise advisors and coordinators. 

  • Sourcing external work experience and training opportunities with external providers including Remploy and Bolton at Home. 

  • Forging links with external agencies including the DWP, Remploy and Bolton at Home to continue to provide our students with employment opportunities and ensure that they have up to date information about the local, regional and national about market. 

  • Providing internal work experience and skills for life through our bistro. 

  • Providing internal work experience and skills for life through our vocational pathway. 

  • Preparing students for adulthood through the teaching of life skills in our school flat. 

  • Following the key strands of preparation for adulthood (employment, independent living, good health, friendships, relationships, and community inclusion) to inform our curriculum planning and offer. 

  • Providing impartial careers advice and guidance with a Connexions advisor, for those that it is appropriate. 

  • Developing standalone functional English and maths in the curriculum. 

  • Providing students with a range of accreditation suited to their ability and aspirations. 

Students study an ambitious curriculum which is tailored to meet individual needs:

  •  Students are streamlined into ability groups to ensure that they receive a more tailored offer. 

  • The curriculum is planned around the core preparation for adulthood strands: employment, health, community inclusion and independent living.

  • Functional skills are studied to develop essential numeracy and literacy skills.

  • Students have pathway options including the Duke of Edinburgh, catering, art, sensory, transition and ICT allowing them to study what they are interested in. 

  • Students study a range of accreditations based on their interests and ability.  

  • Teachers, senior leaders, families and social care teams meet to discuss individual EHCPs in annual reviews. 

  • Individual Learning Plans are created and evaluated by teachers for each student every term, and families have the opportunity to question and feedback on progress made and the targets set. 


Assessment is done using formative and summative assessment. The curriculum is planned to include AQA Unit Awards and moderated internally. For this academic year, we have planned in ICT for all students and will be using the ASDAN focus ICT scheme. As well as this, students on the Sport and Catering options follow the ASDAN short course units and students on the Transition option cover AQA units for work skills and moving on.

We have just finalised the process of updated the maths and English coverage to include entry level functional skills exams for those that it is appropriate. 


Teachers create targets for students which are added to their individual learning plans (ILP’s). The targets are informed by targets on the students’ EHCPs and the curriculum content. Assessment of progress is measured using the MAPP skills-based lateral progress scale and there are four key areas that teachers assess on for each target. The areas are independence of the skill, fluency, maintenance and generalisation.  


The students are baselined at the beginning of each term and performance is assessed at the end of the term. If the student has made sufficient progress in the target set for them then a new target will be generated, baselined and assessed the following term. 


We are introducing evidence for learning, which is an online system allowing us to record student learning, create baselines and assess their individual targets. This will allow us to evidence the progress each student has made in each area and generate individual as well as whole school assessment reports. 



Students wear their own clothes and this allows them to have a separate identity to the rest of the school as well as a feeling of being on their next step in preparing for adulthood. We have a school bistro which students work in to gain experience of work and life skills and a flat to gain essential life skills. We promote independence as much as possible and the environment and resources are designed so that students can practice more independent skills. As well as this, we ensure that we are keeping track of students’ individual learning goals and EHCP targets by displaying these in every classroom.


The preparation for adulthood curriculum is designed to support students in gaining essential skills for work and life. We are committed to providing students with experiences and opportunities which better prepare them for adulthood. By doing this, students are better prepared for their next step when leaving us. We try to ensure that every student is offered a curriculum that is suited to their interests and abilities and provide qualifications to recognise their achievements and record their learning.  We believe that the impact of our curriculum offer is that students are happier, better equipped for an ever changing and challenging world and more successful in their next journey. This is visible in the atmosphere within the sixth form where relationships between staff and students are strong and positive, and the input of their core curriculum, additional transition support for students and their family, as well as the weekly transition option sessions for year 14 students, makes the vast majority excited for their next step in life. We keep track of student destinations after they leave and support their next placement when needed or requested.


Students are given opportunities to develop in their skills for work and life and become more independent. Mencap reports that only 6% of SEND students end up in meaningful employment but 65% would like to enter the workforce. We strive to change this by better preparing students for the workplace through the lesson content, providing impartial careers advice and working with external agencies to evaluate and expand our experience of work offer. For those that employment may not be appropriate, we offer a curriculum focused on gaining essential skills for life and becoming as independent as possible. We utilise the onsite facilities of the flat and bistro in order to do this and design our curriculum to support with this. This results in a cohort that develops more independence as they travel through sixth form with a greater awareness of their strengths and the opportunities that are available to them in the future.


The progress of each student against their EHCP and progress in the curriculum which is assessed through the MAPP assessment tool and through their annual reviews. We identify and celebrate where progress has been made and evaluate next steps. When a student is not making expected progress, we consider the reasons and tailor plans to best support the student. This allows us to keep track of every student’s learning journey and develop strategies to support them and their families in reaching their full potential.

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