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Oxclose Road, Washington, Tyne And Wear, NE38 7NY

0191 691 3940

Columbia Grange School

Little Steps, Big Aspirations For All

Red Pathway

Sensory Curriculum


As Pupils accessing the Pre- Formal Curriculum are working within the P Level range 1-3, which means they are working below Year 1 expectations, we follow the Equals Pre-Formal Curriculum and CG Footsteps 1-3 Curriculum. 

 All the parts of the curriculum are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. Everything we teach works through everything else and it is not possible to think of the core strands as being separate from each other. For example, there is not a time when we are teaching just Communication because we are always thinking about all the strands working together in our teaching and our planning, to ensure the best outcomes for pupils.  

Every moment of every day is a learning opportunity and there is no time when learning is not taking place. This does not and indeed must not mean that we fill every moment with activity, but we are always aware of how and what our learners are learning at all times. 

The nature of learning in this specialist environment necessitates a lot of repetition and will be seen perhaps in only very small steps of learning but each student is challenged to achieve their very best while giving the optimum level of care and consideration to their every need

The Curriculum encompasses 5 key areas 

  • English (Reading, Writing) 
  • Maths/My thinking and Problem Solving, 
  • Science/The World about me, 
  • PHSE/Physical Well being
  • Sensory

The 6th key area is Communication which links them all together. Communication will be an important part to the child’s day and they will experience and explore ways in which to communicate effectively.

These core strands, and the corresponding documents are shown below




CG Communication               

Communication Pre Formal Equals (PFE)




CG Reading

Drama, Poetry and Literature PFE

CG Writing

Drama, Poetry and Literature PFE

Maths / My thinking and problem solving

CG maths                                

Sensory Cookery  PFE

Science/The world about me


Inclusive Community PFE

PHSE/Physical well being

Movement, Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy PFE Sensory Stories PFE

Routines PFE

Energy, vitality, tiredness PFE


Sensory Stories PFE

Sensory Exploration PFE




Music PFE

Each curriculum lead has devised a bespoke yearly coverage outline




Maths / My thinking and problem solving

Science/The world about me

PHSE/Physical well being



The curriculum delivery is carefully planned to ensure that pupils individual needs are meet

Personal Learning Plans (PLP)

Every child in Columbia Grange has a PLP, the PLP is an individual set of targets that are taken from the child’s 


Professionals reports

Communication Tracker

 Sensory Profiles

Engagement Profiles,


The targets are

  • specific so it is clear what pupils are working towards
  • measurable so that it is clear when the target has been achieved
  • achievable
  • realistic so that they are relevant to your child's needs and circumstances
  • time-bound (to be achieved by a specified time)

These targets are used as a starting point when teachers are creating Medium Term plans, to ensure that activities planned will foster the achievement of individual targets

Medium Term Plan

All classes have a half term plan that shows..

What we are teaching,

Why we are teaching it, 

When we are teaching it 

Who we are teaching it for

Weekly plan

All classes have a weekly plan that shows how to effectively run the class during the week,  taking into account  the resources needed for T&L, the space available to accommodate that learning, the time allocated to the fulfilling of the task and the deployment of any additional adults.


Personal passports that are continually updated to ensure we know the pupils inside out and are able to respond to their individual needs.

Engagement Profile

There are specific areas & interventions within school, which support the implementation of the curriculum, the majority of pupils accessing the Pre Formal Curriculum will access the Specialised offer

Columbia Grange Offer



Discovery Park

Outside classrooms


Personalised Learning Pathway

Meaningful and functional activities

Focus on engagement and communication

Personal Learning Plans 

B Squared assessment

External Visits


Visual Strategies, Timetables



Sensology workout, massage stories, sensory stories, Intensive Interaction, Attention Autism, TacPac, Charanga, Music and movement, rebound therapy, sensory dance, sensory yoga (body awareness), swimming, educational visits, sensory cookery, object exploration and object permanence (sensory exploration).


CG Assessment


PLP Assessment


Staff experienced in ASD, SLD, PECS Team Teach, Behaviour issues

SaLT assessment on entry to school

High staff pupils ratio



Sound and Light room

Soft Play


Forest School 

Nurturing Prog 


As above


Sensory OT programmes carried out by school staff

SaLT programmes carried out by school staff





PECS supported by class staff, trained by SaLT



 Attention Autism



Small group support



  • The Therapy Room – A quiet place for relaxation, massage, foot spas, story time and time out
  • Rebound - A trampoline to allow trained staff to offer this therapy to children. 
  • The Sound and Light Room– A sensory room full of cause and effect switches and lighting
  • The Hobbit House and Garden - A garden for all to enjoy with the sounds of the outdoor instruments, smells of nature and lights from the rainbow canopy


Intensive interaction 


As above


  • Rebound
  • Sensory Intervention 
  • Yoga –
  • Massage –
  • Sensory room-To access relevant sensory activities as identified by our Sensory Occupational Therapist



Tac pac


As above


Regular 1-1 SaLT, OT


For those pupils at this developmental level, whilst we accept the desirability of providing a broad and balanced curriculum, it must be wholly appropriate to the needs of each learner. Ongoing assessment may point to a need for concentration and intensity in one or two particular areas for some learners for a part, and sometimes a considerable part of their time in education. A learner might, for example, like people and enjoy spending time with them, but have not yet learned how to take the initiative in engaging with another person.  When left to her own devices, the learner might have a tendency towards stimulatory, repetitive self-injurious behaviour such as biting her own hand, and staff might therefore consider it essential for the learner's well-being to teach her to positively and clearly indicate that she wants to spend some time with another person(s). In this instance, we argue, it is absolutely essential that we narrow the curriculum offered to this particular learner in order to give her the maximum amount of time for learning, recognising that someone with PMLD may need hundreds and perhaps even thousands of opportunities to learn what for others might be a simple skill. Peter Imery (EQUALS)


For our students to develop and progress it is important that their actions need to be their own, and staff are there to enable this. We need to ensure that all students do not develop learnt helplessness. This moment of discovery needs to be enabled and allowed. While striving to achieve this we need to allow our students to make mistakes in order to develop problem-solving and persistence. 

By the time pupils leave Columbia Grange, we aim that the children and young people following the Sensory pathway will be able to: ​

  • express their wants, needs, likes and dislikes and make simple choices linked to their preferences, ​through their chosen communication system (AAC/PECS/Makaton/Speech)
  • tolerate environments and changes within it and experiences beyond the most familiar ones ​
  • develop skills that will allow pupils to be as independent as possible in terms of making their emotional and physical needs known    feeding/eating/dressing/toileting
  • make choices and exert some control over their lives ​
  • interact confidently with familiar adults and tolerate close proximity of their peers
  • explore the world around them​
  • be confident when spending time on their own

Each pupil’s progress is discussed as part of the teacher’s appraisal performance management. Pupil progress meetings take place with the Assessment Lead each term and include triangulation of available data and assessments, work scrutiny and observation of pupil. 

School uses a range of indicators to capture the full picture of pupil progress. The range of measures and assessments used are different across the key stages in school. These measures include: three times a year PLP-based meetings with parents, behaviour data analysis, attendance data analysis, therapy targets and logs - including the use of the Leuven Scale and evidence of learning data through Columbia Grange Assessment.

 In order to validate our assessments, teachers take part in cross school moderation and work scrutiny. Samples of work are also moderated across schools as part of our Special School Network.

Our assessment system monitors pupil progress and ensures the curriculum continues to be relevant to the individual need.

Next Steps/Post Columbia Grange

Pupils following the preformal pathway will be continuously assessessed and some will progress onto our informal pathway others may make linear progress and remain within the sensory pathway throughout. 

All pupils have preparing for Adulthood (PFA) outcomes included in their yearly Annual review/EHCP report which feed into their Personalised Learning Plans(PLP’s)

Our pupils remain at Columbia Grange until the age of 11. They are then able to transition into Secondary Provision following a tailored 'moving out plan' which is shared with children and parents/carers. Some children may require an adapted 'moving out' plan depending on their needs and circumstances i.e cared for children. The process of 'moving out' will begin in the Year 4 annual review where a discussion about preparing children for one of their big transitions/changes in their life. This will then be further explored in the Year 5 and Year 6 review. Parents/carers and children will be involved in the whole 'moving out' process.