Pupil on work experience at Elms Bank

Explore Pathway


  • The Explore Pathway is tailored to the needs of students whose main barrier to learning is Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD).
  • Students within this pathway mainly have Speech, Language and Communication as an additional barrier to learning, but barriers could also include Hearing Impairment (HI), Visual Impairment (VI) , specific conditions impacting on cognitive development and/or Physical Disabilities (PD).


  • To embed and promote positive student well-being, confidence, independence, communication skills throughout the curriculum.
  • A broad & balanced curriculum at KS3 & KS4 following the National Curriculum.
  • At KS5 the curriculum will focus on gaining life skills through meaningful employability experience, skills and qualifications.
  • Independence and communication underpins all the curriculum and all students are supported by SALT programmes that run throughout the curriculum.
  • A specific Blended Learning offer is in place to engage and support students & their families, who need to self-isolate. (See Blended Learning Policy).
  • The pace and content of the curriculum has been modified in line with our Recovery Curriculum. (See Recovery Curriculum Policy).


  • The students within this pathway are supported by a pastoral form tutor and Teaching Assistants.

  • Explore classes within this pathway receive the majority of their curriculum delivered by a class-based teacher.

  • Explore Plus classes have some of their curriculum delivered on a secondary school model involving moving to subject specialist teachers based in specialist rooms. The decision is  made according to student need. These students will be working within the higher P Scales in Year 7.

  • College students access a curriculum that is delivered through meaningful work related activities in real placements, such as the gym, hospitality , hair and beauty salon and Library Hub and vocational courses, such as Animal Care. This differentiated curriculum develops functional skills through practical learning opportunities. Some students may find the Internships a more appropriate route for Key Stage 5. At this point they will follow our Inspire Pathway, from which they can access a Library Internship and / or a Hospital Internship.

  • All students have access to 5 PSHE drop down days in which they study British Values, Bullying, Relationships, Diversity, Internet Safety, Emotional Well-Being/Self Image, and Drug and Alcohol awareness.

  • We offer nurturing, mixed ability form groups, which spend time reinforcing our PSHCE & well-being curriculum. This is called “Excellence for All: The 5 Steps to Wellbeing” (Connect, Give, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning). Wider curriculum opportunities are celebrated and captured within the students personalised “Excellence for All” folders. Within this document students record their involvement within extracurricular opportunities for example: clubs, arts week, the school play, sporting events, PSHE drop down days and residentials.

  • All students within this pathway experience wrap around care from a range of multi-agencies including school nursing, physiotherapy, occupational health, VI, HI, speech and language therapists, and social care.

  • Careers Education, Information Advice & Guidance (CEIAG) is threaded through the National Curriculum subjects, e.g.  writing CVs in English. Where appropriate, students have access to independent Careers advice in KS4 &5. In addition, students access World of Work events in KS3 & 4. In Key Stage 5 the students experience work based placements, e.g. running a community café.


We strive to develop happy, confident, independent, responsible, work ready young adults, with a range of  functional skills, including communication, numeracy and literacy skills.

  • Most Year 7 students join us ‘working at ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Expected’  or ‘Year 1 Expected’ academic levels’.
  • KS4 students work towards a range of qualifications, which may include BTECs, and Entry Level 1-2 qualification. Entry Levels give learners the key skills in maths and English, useful in everyday life. KS4 students follow the Arts Award accreditation.
  • KS5 students work towards achieving Open Awards (Award or Certificate). The majority of students move to further study at local colleges, for up to 3 more years.