Our learning areas

Our Curriculum

We firmly believe that our whole school curriculum ensures that our pupils leave us at the end of Year 11, as prepared and equipped as they can be, with knowledge and life skills ready for life after Pinewood.


The intent of our school curriculum is to develop independent and motivated learners who are ready to take their place in 21st Century Britain.

Whole School Curriculum

Our whole school curriculum intent is for our pupils, with their range of needs, to be able to learn and acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them to access a range of opportunities and experiences in later life.

From the beginning of their journey at Pinewood, we focus on the core skills our pupils need both in school and society. Knowledge of prior learning and ability levels is a key part of our transition work to ensure that we continue to develop and stretch our pupils both in and out of the classroom. 

Our whole school curriculum is planned and sequenced. New knowledge and skills build on what has been taught and learned before as well as working towards clear goals and end points specific to the individual needs of the students.

View our Whole school curriculum pathway here

Local Curriculum

We also recognise that at Pinewood our pupils have individual profiles that are unique so opportunities to expand learning alongside our standard curriculum offer is vital.

We ensure that our whole school curriculum offer is considered and planned to be as wide as possible; acknowledging that learning takes place outside and in between lessons, such as at break time, lunch time, lesson transitions and extracurricular opportunities.

Our “hidden” Curriculum

At Pinewood we know that our pupils learn in a range of ways. Our formal curriculum is balanced, broadly based and works to support and further develop the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) skills that are essential for young people’s individual development, as well as the development of society as a whole. Our curriculum also provides opportunities for physical and mental development interwoven with necessary subject specific knowledge and skills. 

However we also believe that for our pupils to successfully “take their place in 21st Century Britain”, they need to be: HAPPY, BRAVE, INDEPENDENT and KIND– values and qualities that come from our overarching intent. As role models, every adult within our school community uses every opportunity across the school day to support our pupils to be ready for life after Pinewood.

Subject Specific / Department Curriculums

Across our six individual departments, our Department Leads (DLs) are developing bespoke curriculum pathways for their cohort of pupils. We are ensuring that subject specific knowledge and skills are relevant to our pupils as well as ambitious,sequenced and joined up over time from lower school to upper school. It is imperative that our “road maps” are progressive and build on prior learning whilst working towards identifiable destinations.

Work in core subjects such as Literacy and Numeracy is planned discreetly as well as embedded in cross-curricular links wherever possible. Our Heads of (whole school Literacy and Numeracy) are working closely with DLs to secure this.


External reviews have shown that significant improvements have been made in Phonics and Reading across the school as a result of the daily input pupils receive. This has led to good progress in reading for the learners which is demonstrated by the rate at which they progress through the stages of the phonics programme used by the school.  Systems that are in place are effective and will continue to be developed further through inhouse development and training.  

The effectiveness of the numeracy curriculum has been evaluated and strong evidence of improvement has been seen, including opportunities for repetition and regular assessment of learners’ knowledge.  Students revisit areas of learning to ensure that they have not only learned them but also retained them.  This has been seen in practice with students and in discussion.

The Cornerstones curriculum ensures that the wider curriculum for students continues to be broad. Topics are carefully selected and regularly evaluated to ensure that they meet the needs of students in terms of developing a sequenced learning programme and that they equip students with the cultural capital to take their place in modern society. 

Work Related Learning (WRL) lessons are a significant strength of the school and offer opportunities to undertake a wide range of modules throughout KS 4. The modules on offer are reviewed regularly and the Department Leads (DLs) are revising the modules offered in order to ensure that learning opportunities are parallel across all Departments, appropriate and adaptable for all regardless of needs.

Students make good progress through the curriculum and can discuss their work with others evidenced in department visits and pupil voice opportunities.  The sequencing of the curriculum allows them to make sense of topics and to relate their learning to real and every- day situations.  Some students can discuss their next steps in learning.  Student work shows progress over time and the remembering of those facts and skills is evidenced by check-ups at intervals in their learning, both short and longer term.  

Students are currently assessed to determine their progress through the curriculum and the acquisition of knowledge and skills to inform planning.  Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) objectives are used alongside at the core assessment points for each student alongside measures of academic progress.  

‘Progress means a student knowing more and remembering more’  and evidence from monitoring shows an increase of knowledge over time in students involved in discussion/focus groups.

Students talk about their learning to peers, staff and visitors.  During learning walks and lesson observations students have been able to talk about prior and current learning and draw links between them to show they have some understanding of how their learning is being sequenced.  In some cases students are also able to talk about the next steps in their learning.  

Our pupils have shown they are able to apply their classroom learning to real-life situations including off-site visits.  For example; students on a visit to London were able to relate what they had learned in the classroom to what they were seeing on the visit including recognising and naming landmarks.  

During focus group sessions, students in KS 4 talked confidently about their learning in the WRL curriculum area.  Students liked the range of courses available and some comments have been used within some upper school classes to develop subject curriculums further. They see that activities such as mock interviews will benefit them in adult life.  They are also able to identify the practical applications of their learning such as being able to decorate their own home.  One student commented that the First Aid module had equipped them to call 111 when their parent was unwell and needed support.


Phonics and reading are paramount in order for pupils to access the rest of their curriculum. A 35 minute period in every day, for every student is focussed on these skills.

All classroom based staff have received training in phonics delivery both from an external provider and also from the Head of Literacy (whole school).  This element of the curriculum is delivered at the start of each day as a focus across the whole school.  Ensuring that every opportunity is taken to apply their phonics knowledge across the curriculum is a key development for all learners. 

Our Numeracy curriculum has been developed with the support of Herts for Learning (HfL) and is designed to ensure that all students access the curriculum at appropriate starting points for them and work through the learning pathway in a systematic way. We continue to be supported by Herts for Learning in the embedding of the Numeracy curriculum across the whole school.  The current development in this area is to introduce some of the Asdan modules in Key Stage 3 to enable the students to learn more practical mathematics skills (that will be of used in adult life) during their time at the school.

The Maestro Cornerstones curriculum on which the KS 3 Curriculum is founded allows staff to develop their own resources which are adapted and used to meet the needs of the different cohorts of students.  Staff work collaboratively within departments to plan and deliver topics and activities within the topics, for example, off site visits to enhance and embed learning opportunities.

This thematic approach ensures that all students receive a broad and balanced curriculum. Practical learning is emphasised for our pupils, hands on experiences, bringing the knowledge and skills they know and are learning to “real life”. Learning outside the classroom, external visits and trips are highly encouraged. 

In KS 4 the school makes use of a range of accredited courses. Our work related learning (WRL) modules draw most of their accreditation from different ASDAN pathways, to meet the needs of our different cohorts of pupils; such as ASDAN PSD, ASDAN TI and ASDAN Life Challenges. We also offer our own bespoke in-house certification called the Pinewood School Certificate (PWSC).

The accreditations supplement our curriculum offers and provide opportunities to celebrate our pupils’ successes across different subjects and learning areas.

Our Departments


Department Intent:

Read, write, express today; enjoy independence and new experiences tomorrow.


Department Intent:

To develop fluency in functional maths and problem-solving skills and confidently apply these in everyday life.


Department Intent:

To support students in developing as independent learners with the ability for self regulation to prepare them for the next step on their learning journey.


Department Intent:

To establish a nurturing learning environment which enables students to make progress both emotionally, socially and cognitively.


Department Intent:

To support students in developing as independent learners with the ability for self regulation to prepare them for the next step on their learning journey.


Department Intent:

To provide an ambitious curriculum and a positive learning environment which enables learners to engage with practical, hand-on, play based learning and to engage with a structured routine which creates a space for repetition, over-learning and mastery of skills ready to prepare them for the next stage in their Pinewood journey.


Department Intent:

To support pupils to be able to successfully access a purposeful and differentiated curriculum, provide opportunities for them to apply their learning in everyday contexts and promote independence and well-being by enabling pupils to remain in a self-regulated state.

Sports Stars

Department Intent:

To be economically able to live independently and to benefit from the opportunities available in the wider community to support emotional wellbeing.

Call Us

01920 41 22 11


Hoe Lane
SG12 9PB

Email Us


Contact Form

Message us now...

Translate »