Intent: Why we do what we do.


Meeting diverse needs, while being ambitious, creative and pupil-focused.

The Northgate Curriculum aims to prepare pupils well for adulthood by delivering a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum. Every child has the right to access a coherently sequenced, knowledge and skills-rich curriculum that is pupil-focused and suited to their wide-ranging needs.

It is always our aim to ensure that whatever is taught, is presented with passion and ambition for our pupils; whose needs are diverse and ever-changing, but whose desire to be their best selves remains unchanged.

All children, regardless of need, deserve to access high quality teaching that supports and enables them to understand and engage with the world around them. The curriculum aims to build upon their schema- step by step, in order to develop  not only academic knowledge, but also to develop resilience, character, grit, communication and personal confidence, so they can meaningfully interact with their peers, families and the world around them.

Our curriculum also aims to actively equip pupils- where possible-to effectively understand and manage their specific needs.  In doing so, we aim to support them in developing key independence skills that are fundamental to their future personal and economic growth, health, safety and achievement.

The job of all at Northgate School Arts College Trust, is to provide a curriculum that identifies talents and skills, and builds on these factors in order to equip pupils for life as employed, socially-engaged, thriving adults in the 21st Century.

As a diverse and growing special school, we believe that Preparation for Adulthood is a fundamental part of what we need to do in order for our pupils to develop the skills to:

  • enable a good moral character
  • build on taught knowledge and skills
  • enjoy and achieve
  • keep themselves and others healthy and safe in school, and in the wider community
  • demonstrate a good understanding of the rule of law
  • understand British values and integrity
  • overcome their own barriers with positive attitudes and a ‘can do’ spirit
  •  know their rights, and who is in place to support them
  • know how they can make their mark.

Where appropriate, our curriculum seeks to inform our pupils about their needs in an empowering way, making them and their parents and carers aware of the services and professionals who are part of their journey to adulthood, and whose job it is to support them in achieving their full potential.

Our pastoral care and support is an integral part of our curriculum, and in many cases, is the thing that enables our pupils to access school, and therefore make the transition to learning and achievement.

Yes, our pupils have a wide range of complex to moderate special educational needs, and ‘success’ will come for our pupils in many different forms, but ambition, aspiration, knowledge and skills, expertise and personal success are traits we can all aspire to.

Our curriculum is regularly reviewed, as we want to get it right and do the very best we can for our amazing pupils.

The Northgate Curriculum:  Building Skills and Knowledge Year-on-Year

The Northgate Curriculum provides well-sequenced, high-quality learning opportunities to pupils across a range of abilities. In order to best support our pupils, and in order to meet individual needs, learning and curriculum approaches are divided into three discrete learning streams or ‘Pathways’. Pathways 1, 2 & 3 are taught in the same ambitious, coherently sequenced and creative way, but are explicitly focused on assuring that curriculum content, skills and knowledge are made accessible in order to support pupils in achieving their true potential.

At Northgate, pupils follow programmes of study via three discrete pathways:

Pathway 1 is the Enhanced Provision strand. Pupils with more severe learning difficulties (SLD) follow this Pathway.

Pathway 2 is a specific grouping strand for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Pathway 3 is a specific grouping strand for pupils who have MLD as a main category of need.

Pathway 1

Pupils in Pathway 1 curriculum follows a thematic approach:

Thinking Skills: maths, Numeracy, Science and Information Technology

Communication Skills: English, Literacy, Speech & Language, Humanities& Religious Education

Art:  Performing Arts, Art, Drama, Dance and Music

Health and Wellbeing: Food and Cooking, Physical Education

Preparation for Adulthood (with Equals*):

Combined Life and Living Skills, Citizenship, Relationships and Sex Education, wellbeing, Careers & Employability, Social Moral Spiritual Cultural, education, Fundamental British Values & Character education.

Explicit skills linked to the themes are taught, and pupils in Pathway 1 enjoy an ambitious curriculum that explicitly caters for pupils with more acute intellectual and social needs, and builds on pupils’ skills and abilities, with the aim of equipping them for life.

Pathways 2 & 3

Pupils in Pathways 2 & 3 study the following subjects:

  • English
  • Literacy (Reading)
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Information Technology
  • Food & Cooking Skills
  • Creative Arts (Fine Art & Design)
  • Careers & Employability education
  • Performing Arts (Music, Drama & Dance) including Performance Skills (showcasing pupils’ talents, which may (amongst other things) include: technical lighting, set design or, directing.)
  • Humanities (RE, History, Geography)
  • Physical Education: health: including Leisure, fitness & wellbeing in the community.
  • Preparation for Adulthood & Equals*

At the end of Year 9, pupils may choose options, which will support them towards fulfilling their chosen post-16 learning pathway.

Option choices (listed in table 1) are available for pupils for whom qualification study is deemed appropriate and in the best interests of the pupil.

As a special school, we ensure that the content, skills, knowledge and structure of any qualification affords progression, coverage, breadth and balance to our curriculum.  Gaining a qualification is not a prerequisite of study; however, staff should be skilled in ensuring that ALL pupils access relevant well-planned, coherently sequenced content that will build knowledge and schema, that will equip pupils for work, society, life and personal independence.



Post-14 Experiences in Years 10 and 11:

Most Northgate pupils will engage in a long-term placement or college experience.

Year 10:  In Year 10, pupils will access the post-14 schools’ liaison offer at Moulton College, where they will study Floristry, Carpentry, Animal Care or Agriculture.

Depending on pupils’ intended destinations at the end of Key Stage 4, pupils who express an interest in certain qualifications (as discussed at Year 8 and 11 annual reviews and Prospects Interviews), will be able to access taster experiences at Northampton College, or a City and Guilds Entry Level qualification at Moulton College.  Pupils who wish to access other colleges, work-based providers or other school-based providers (such as post-16 sixth forms) will also have access to bespoke programmes (in line with their EHCP outcomes).

Year 11: All pupils in Year 11 will access a vocational experience at The Bee Hive, where they will access one of four areas: Hospitality, Catering, Retail or Leisure. This experience supports pupils in their transition to The Bee Hive, or their chosen post-16 provision. Pupils in Pathway 1 access the vocational offer at The Bee Hive, weekly; this constitutes part of their curriculum timetable. Due to the need to fulfil guided learning hours in Pathways 2&3 will access The Bee Hive several times per year as planned opportunities/visits, but the focus with these pupils is ensuring access to a wide range of post-16 providers and enabling access to support potential transition.

“The mainstream school experience had made our child sad, unhappy and alone. Her school life was transformed almost overnight here at Northgate. She was able to enjoy attending school, to learn and achieve her potential.

Jenny Clark


Northgate and the Bee Hive is in association with