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Curriculum Objective

To offer a broad range of learning experiences and opportunities that allow every pupil to become a life long, resilient learner.

Curriculum Aims

  • Provide a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of our incredibly varied learners across the school
  • Build up children’s confidence and motivation to learn through the use of a range of learning and teaching styles
  • Embed key skills in order to prepare children for real-life and everyday situations
  • Provide opportunities to apply knowledge and learning in practical ways
  • Provide a creative approach to planning and delivery that will incorporate and embed the most relevant aspects of the National Curriculum
  • Provide enrichment opportunities where learning and teaching can take place in a variety of ways both within and beyond the classroom

  • Develop social skills and encourage children to become more active citizens 
within the school community and beyond 

Curriculum Overview

Our thematic curriculum is flexible in accommodating the learning needs of our pupils and is specifically developed to maximise its relevance to everyday life.  It provides rich enhancement for theme-led learning, as well as promoting team-building, decision making and independent learning.  Different pathways allow for appropriate and differentiated levels of accreditation for students of all abilities. The curriculum is enhanced by an excellent range of learning outside the classroom opportunities. 

We aim to cultivate a “Love of Learning” in all of our young people and it is firmly believed that a our thematic curriculum, encompassing the most relevant aspects of the National Curriculum, engages pupils in the ‘wonder of learning’ and supports them in being the best that they can be. 

The curriculum is fluid and flexible in its efforts to embrace and meet learners' current and future needs. The emphasis is on Learning Pathways, supported by an ability-tiered framework, which have been developed with all of our young people in mind.

In respose to the needs of our current and future learners, the Cavendish Curriculum has undergone recent development and is being introduced at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 from Autumn 2016.

Curriculum Structure

 Across both key stages, the thematic curriculum is divided into three tiers based on ability:

P1 – P4: a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning, prioritizing opportunities to develop skills in early communication and cognition

P5 – P8: a variety of approaches to teaching and learning which match the learning preferences of the pupils, consolidating and building on skills across the five key strands as detailed below

Entry Level: a variety of approaches to teaching and learning which match the learning preferences of the pupils, challenging them to apply their skills and understanding across a much broader range of situations and experiences


Classes are all mixed ability, and so within one teaching group it is possible to see how the curriculum is delivered across all three ability tiers.  Differentiation within teaching and learning is monitored on a termly basis through monitoring of teacher planning.

To ensure curriculum balance is maintained and in order to accommodate a creative approach to teaching and learning, five colour-coded key strands are woven through the curriculum:

  • My Communication (yellow): To develop the process of the interchange of thoughts, opinions or information by speech, writing or signs
  • My Cognition (orange): To acquire and process knowledge and understanding through: thought, experiences and the senses
  • My Life Skills (green): To develop adaptive and positive behavior that enables pupils to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life
  • My Creativity (yellow): To experiment with creative thoughts, ideas and possibilities to innovate
  • Active Me (purple): To establish a balance of physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and occupational well-being

Key Stage 3

At the Academy, we find that our Key Stage 3 learners require time to adjust to their secondary school setting and to each other before applying their skills outside of what is familiar.  For this reason, the basis behind our Key Stage 3 curriculum is that of ‘My World’ and focuses very much on allowing these pupils to learn about the world around them and their place within it. 

The curriculum in this key stage is a 2-year rolling programme, with one theme underpinning each term (6 themes in total over 2 years).

The themes are outlined as follows:

Year 1: Me & My World, Enchanted Woodland, Super Heroes & Super Powers

Year 2: Me & My World, All Creatures Great & Small, Mixed-Up Fairytales


Key Stage 4

In order to provide progression between the key stages and to reflect the evolving needs of our Key Stage 4 cohort, the basis behind the curriculum at this stage of the school is that of ‘My Wider World’.  This allows our Key Stage 4 pupils to consider the world beyond what is already known and familiar to them, and to keep themselves safe within it.

The curriculum in this key stage is a 3-year rolling programme, with one theme underpinning each term (9 themes in total over 3 years).

The themes are outlined as follows:

Year 1: Explore Invent Create, Life on Earth, Where my Travels Take Me

Year 2: Melting Pots, Food 4 Thought, We Can Be Heroes

Year 3: Great Expectations, Around the World in 80 Days, Great Expectations

Curriculum Content

Breadths of study within each Key Stage (as listed above) are attached to this page and may be downloaded as PDF files.  

Supporting Information

Within the thematic curriculum, specific reference is made to PSHE & Citizenship as individual subject areas.  When planning for the new curriculum, guidance from the DfE was considered, as was statutory guidance on Sex & Relationship Education (SRE).

Religious Education (RE) continues to be a key focus area across the curriculum.  Christianity is the main religion studied at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, although much focus is also attributed to religions and religious beliefs from around the world, as detailed in guidance from the DfE.

Social, Moral, Spiritual & Cultural Education (SMSC) has gained real momentum across the school now and is assigned an individual section within the thematic curriculum across the key stages.  SMSC Education is visible across the school in so many different ways, including our assemblies, our special project days and weeks, as well as our daily focus on tutor-based activities and reflection.  SMSC Education is also evident through a variety of other subject areas in the school, particularly PSHE, the Humanities and the Arts, including opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and into the wider community.  The Academy has now appointed a coordinator for SMSC Education who ensures that this subject focus continues to be embedded and celebrated across the school, both within the curriculum and through other experiences such as those listed above.

The teaching of British Values has become a key area of focus for the Academy, also being assigned an individual section within the thematic curriculum across the key stages.  This is also supported by an individual focus on Cultural Studies.  The 9 characteristics underpinning these are promoted by all staff and are embedded within and beyond the curriculum, much like our provision for SMSC.  The teaching of British Values is also evident through a variety of other subject areas in the school, particularly PSHE and the Humanities, including opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and into the wider community.  Opportunities such as our assemblies, class trips and contact with external organisations allow our pupils to challenge their beliefs and consider their own place within the wider world.  We acknowledge that promoting and embedding a true awareness and knowledge of British Values requires a persistent review of our pupils, their needs and the world around them.  Our curriculum is flexible in allowing us to do this in order to achieve the best outcomes for our pupils.


Keystage 5

Our thriving Post-16 Department emphasises the development of life and work related skills that enable students to continue their learning in a safe, familiar and secure environment.

Students will spend two years in lower Keystage 5 before progressing to upper Keystage 5, based in our independence bungalow. Students can expect to be learning in an environment that takes account of their levels of understanding and which offers them the opportunity to work within small teams of teachers and teaching assistants to focus on the development of independence and learning skills.

The curriculum meets the 16 to 19 study programme requirements through its focus on learning independent living skills whilst extending literacy, numeracy and communication to help prepare for life in further education and beyond. The department offers opportunities for independent and supported work-experience or work based visits.

Students can expect to study for nationally accredited English, mathematics and PSD qualifications at Entry Level or higher dependent on their level of progress and understanding.

Upper Keystage 5 focus on transition planning for post school provision.


Keystage 5 Qualifications


Awarding Body

English Skills

Entry 1 – Level 2


Mathematical Skills

Entry 1 – Level 2


Personal and Social Development

Entry 1 – Entry 3


Personal Progress

Entry 1


Curriculum Policy

Any further information may be found in the curriculum policy, which is available to download.

Files to Download

What's Being Said?

“Cavendish High Academy is the place where dreams come true. I love my school! Libby”
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"Everyone knows everyone at Cavendish – it’s just like being part of one big, happy family.”