Including All Learners
The curriculum should provide relevant and challenging learning to all children. It should follow the three principles set out in the statutory inclusion statement:
- Setting suitable learning challenges.
- Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs.
- Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.
Setting suitable learning challenges
Teachers should aim to give every pupil the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible. The national curriculum programmes of study set out what most pupils should be taught but teachers should teach the knowledge, skills and understanding in ways that suit their pupils’ abilities. This may mean choosing knowledge, skills and understanding from earlier or later stages so that individual pupils can make progress and show what they can achieve. Where it is appropriate for pupils to make extensive use of content from an earlier stage, there may not be time to teach all aspects of the programmes of study. A similarly flexible approach will be needed to take account of any gaps in pupils’ learning resulting from missed or interrupted schooling.
For pupils whose attainments fall significantly below the expected levels at a particular stage, a much greater degree of differentiation will be necessary. In these circumstances, teachers may need to use the content of programmes of study as a resource or to provide a context, in planning learning appropriate to the requirements of their pupils.
For pupils whose attainments significantly exceed the expected levels, teachers will need to plan suitably challenging work. As well as drawing on work from later stages, teachers may plan further differentiation by extending the breadth and depth of study.
Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs
When planning, teachers should set high expectations and provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve, including boys and girls, pupils with special educational needs, pupils from all social and cultural backgrounds, pupils from different ethnic groups including travellers, refugees and asylum seekers, and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Teachers need to be aware that pupils bring to school different experiences, interests and strengths which will influence the way in which they learn. Teachers should plan their approaches to teaching and learning so that pupils can take part in lessons fully and effectively.
To ensure that they meet the full range of pupils’ needs, teachers should be aware of the requirements of the equal opportunities legislation that covers race, gender and disability.
Teachers should take specific action to respond to pupils’ diverse needs by:
- Creating effective learning environments.
- Securing their motivation and concentration.
- Providing equality of opportunity through teaching approaches.
- Using appropriate assessment approaches.
- Setting targets for learning.
Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils
A minority of pupils will have particular learning and assessment requirements which go beyond the provisions described above and, if not addressed, could create barriers to learning. These requirements are likely to arise as a consequence of a pupil having a special educational need or disability or may be linked to a pupil’s progress in learning English as an additional language.
Teachers must take account of these requirements and make provisions, where necessary, to support individuals or groups of pupils to enable them to participate effectively in the curriculum and assessment activities. During end-of-key stage assessments, teachers should bear in mind that special arrangements are available to support individual pupils.
Pupils with special educational needs
Curriculum planning and assessment for pupils with special educational needs must take account of the type and extent of the difficulty experienced by the pupil. Teachers will encounter a wide range of pupils with special educational needs, some of whom will have disabilities. In many cases, the action necessary to respond to an individual’s requirements for curriculum access will be met through greater differentiation of tasks and materials, consistent with school-based intervention as set out in the SEN Code of Practice. A smaller number of pupils may need access to specialist equipment and approaches or to alternative or adapted activities, consistent with school-based intervention augmented by advice and support from external specialists as described in the SEN Code of Practice or, in exceptional circumstances, with a statement of special educational need. Teachers should, where appropriate, work closely with representatives of other agencies who may be supporting the pupil.
Teachers should take specific action to provide access to learning for pupils with special educational needs by:
- Providing for pupils who need help with communication, language and literacy.
- Planning, where necessary, to develop pupils’ understanding through the use of all available senses and experiences.
- Planning for pupils’ full participation in learning and in physical and practical activities.
- Helping pupils to manage their behaviour, to take part in learning effectively and safely.
- Helping individuals to manage their emotions, particularly trauma or stress, and to take part in learning.
Pupils with disabilities
Not all pupils with disabilities will necessarily have special educational needs. Many pupils with disabilities learn alongside their peers with little need for additional resources beyond the aids which they use as part of their daily life, such as a wheelchair, a hearing aid or equipment to aid vision. Teachers must take action, however, in their planning to ensure that these pupils are enabled to participate as fully and effectively as possible within the national curriculum and the statutory assessment arrangements. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset of work, without recourse to formal provisions for disapplication.
Teachers should take specific action to enable effective participation of pupils with disabilities by:
- Planning appropriate amounts of time to allow for the satisfactory completion of tasks.
- Planning opportunities, where necessary, for the development of skills in practical aspects of the curriculum.
- Identifying aspects of programmes of study and attainment targets that may present specific difficulties for individuals.
Pupils who are learning English as an additional language
Pupils for whom English is an additional language have diverse needs in terms of support necessary in English language learning. Planning should take account of such factors as the pupil’s age, length of time in the country, previous educational experience and skills in other languages. Careful monitoring of each pupil’s progress in the acquisition of English language skills and of subject knowledge and understanding will be necessary to confirm that no learning difficulties are present.
The ability of pupils for whom English is an additional language to take part in the national curriculum may be ahead of their communication skills in English. Teachers should plan learning opportunities to help pupils develop their English and should aim to provide the support pupils need to take part in all subject areas.
Teachers should take specific action to help pupils who are learning English as an additional language by:
- Developing their spoken and written English.
- Ensuring access to the curriculum and to assessment.