Pre-formal Pathway

Learners at St Giles School follow one of three learning pathways – Pre-Formal, Semi-Formal or Formal. The Pre-Formal pathway is mainly for those who have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties who are unable to access the National Curriculum.

Pre-Formal learners require a higher level of adult support, both for their learning needs and their personal care, and are likely to need sensory stimulation with their curriculum broken down into very small steps. Some of our Pre-Formal learners communicate by gesture, eye-pointing, and at times very simple language.

Our Pre-Formal learners’ attainment is likely to stay within the early school assessment levels and their learning may not follow a straight, linear pathway because of their individual needs and strengths. The school ensures that there is fluidity between pathways, allowing for a personalised approach, that enables pupils to benefit from approaches from other pathways and to move between pathways if they develop.

Our Pre-Formal learners follow personalised timetables that include the following six areas:

  • Cognition and Challenge
  • Communication and Literacy
  • Physical and Sensory
  • Independence
  • Personal and Emotional Well-Being
  • Creative

Intent – What are we trying to achieve through our Pre-Formal Curriculum?

 The Pre-Formal Learning Pathway aims to provide a personalised curriculum that:

  • ensures learning is holistic with all parts of the curriculum interconnected;
  • builds in sufficient time for learners to repeat, practise and consolidate skills;
  • recognises learners’ need for consistency;
  • develops learners’ levels of engagement by finding out what interests and motivates them;
  • places learners’ targets at the centre of the curriculum with their interests as the teaching vehicle;
  • recognises learners’ need for different levels of sensory stimulation;
  • recognises learners will need to be taught to transfer or generalise skills;


Please visit the Curriculum Faculties section for more specific curriculum information.

Impact – What difference is our curriculum making?

Progress for learners following the Pre-Formal curriculum pathway from Middle School onwards is currently assessed using descriptors based on early school assessment levels and through formative assessment of progress towards individual EHCP outcomes. This progress is recorded on learner’s timelines.

In the Upper School, pupils following the pre-formal pathway have their achievements rewarded and recognised with accredited awards at pre-entry Level. These include AQA Unit Awards and ASDAN Transition Challenge.

The Engagement Model is being introduced into St Giles during 2020-21. It will be used alongside the existing planning, assessment and recording system.