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Ivy House School

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14-19 Department

The 14-19 curriculum named "The Branches Curriculum" at Ivy House School is constructed from a series of core life skills content that build into a coherent, personalised offer for each learner. Most importantly it is meaningful to each young person and their family in preparing them for life after school and into adulthood. It empowers our young people to have increased confidence to make realistic and critical decisions about their future. 

Our curriculum embeds skills to support future destinations and independence; supports our young people to develop core literacy and numeracy skills for adult life; has an explicit focus on communication skills, embeds engagement within the wider community, the development of friendships, confidence, health and wellbeing and supports healthy living. We start with the ‘end in sight’ (Destination).



Each programme has a focus on the skills, EHCP and Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) outcomes required by each learner to support them to prepare for a meaningful adulthood as contributing citizens. The ‘Core Life Skills’ frameworks are a context (or ‘vehicle’) for learning – actual learning content is guided by each learner’s EHCP, PfA, skills needed, Personal Learning Goals and planned destination/s.


Learners may ‘Bridge’ between ‘core life skills’ programmes or depending on the learner, may complete a broad set of skills within one ‘core life skills’ programme, covering or reinforcing different skills. Final “Core life skills” can also be assigned at the end of the programme depending on the Individual Learning Journey, progress and learning.


The 4 main core life skills grids are then broken down into specific key knowledge and skills as follows:

Health & Wellbeing 

  • Express and manage emotions
  • Share experiences and interact with others
  • Experience a range of positions and movements
  • Develop body and spatial awareness
  • Develop sensory awareness
  • Show awareness of healthy food
  • Engage in exercise to maintain and maximise range of movements
  • Take part in hygiene routines
  • Make choices using preferred method
  • Develop self-esteem and confidence
  • Enjoy and achieve new skills in holistic therapies
  • Listen and respond using my preferred communication method
  • Develop fine and gross motor skills
  • Communicate needs and wishes


Communication, community and friendships

  • Develop understanding of times and schedules 
  • Develop strategies to help cope with change 
  • Communicate needs and feelings and make choices.  
  • Listen and respond to others 
  • Work with others in turn taking sessions 
  • Develop physical skills and way of expressing yes and no in order to access communication systems 
  • Develop and use personalised AAC systems including the use of technology 
  • Explore a range of community facilities to develop life skills and confidence 
  • Interact positively with others in the 14-19 Department and / or community 
  • Communicate with others in the 14-19 Department and / or community using personalised systems 
  • Transfer skills to new and different environments and settings 
  • Contribute to different community focussed-organisations/charities.


Skills for Life

  • Communicate needs and wishes 
  • Respond to and give instructions  
  • Develop awareness of food, shopping, cooking and eating 
  • Learn more about the natural world 
  • Express preferences and make choices  
  • Develop fine and gross motor skills 
  • Work and interact with others  
  • Develop an understanding of time  
  • Use equipment, including technology to improve day to day life  
  • Develop literacy  
  • Develop numeracy


Creativity, contributions and choices

  • Use tools, equipment, materials and techniques 
  • Develop fine and gross motor skills  
  • Work collaboratively to achieve a group goal 
  • Have fun and build meaningful memories 
  • Discover places and activities which bring joy 
  • Be creative  
  • Engage with different surroundings and the wider world  
  • Show appreciation of the work of others 
  • Show awareness and pride in own creations  
  • Follow and give instructions  
  • Consider next steps and develop necessary skills  
  • Take part in enterprise projects 


In addition to the ‘Core Life Skills’ Grids above the Top Key Skills run throughout the all curriculum areas which are focussed on or required when planning outcomes and destination requirements in ‘Preparation for  Adulthood’ and future aspirations/impacts.


Top Key Skills:

  • Communicating my needs
  • Understanding time; next; then
  • Solving a problem
  • Working with others
  • Being aware of others
  • Using technology
  • Perseverance and motivation
  • Making choices


The 14-19 department mix class groupings for based on the lesson or session being delivered. This enables year 10 and 11 learners to have identified personalised outcomes towards the "develop literacy" and "develop numeracy" objectives, and also allows more transition opportunities for those students who are in their final year of school at Ivy House. 


Planning with the end in sight’ is core to Teaching & Learning Plans throughout the year and at every stage of the learner’s journey.

The young people following the Branch Curriculum are split into three groups for most sessions:-

  • Years 10 to 11 (14-16 year olds) each young person will have identified personalised outcomes towards the ‘develop literacy’ and ‘develop numeracy’ objectives in the area of Skills for Life.
  • Years 12 and 13 (16-18 year olds)
  • Year 14 (18-19 year olds) for the young people in their final year at Ivy House School, the focus throughout the year is on transition and the skills/knowledge/planning needed to ensure a successful transition. However, the final half-term will have an explicit focus on finalising individual next step preparation for all learners: whether planning for their next year in a College, further training, Personal Assistant care, or adult social care/ Residential or Day Care provision.



Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA) is the process Ivy House School uses to ensure the quality of non-accredited learning programmes and learning opportunities across our curriculum offer within the 14-19 department. It provides an educationally sound framework for planning and delivery of courses which are learner-centred and ensures personal learners’ goals are recognised and counted towards their success. It is not a qualification but a process (or structure) which has at its core ensuring each young person has the right ‘Core Life Skills’ programme to meet their needs and support progress.


RARPA is a five-stage process that we use to measure how well learners are making progress towards their identified chosen destinations. It is based on person-centred values, keeping the learner at the centre of the process so they can achieve their aspirations and long-term outcomes’.

Preparation for Adulthood (PfA)

Learners will have multiple learning opportunities to develop key skills and/or independence skills over the year. We focus on destinations, key skills and/or independence skills the ‘core life skills’ offer, these are what our young people will need as they progress into adulthood.


‘Life After School’ Event

The ‘Life After School Event’ each year (Spring Term 1) should be planned into all T&L Plans.


‘Core Life Skills’ Supported Living Pathway (SLP) 

The SLP programme provides complete flexibility to build on Key Life Skills focussed around the individual needs, levels and interests of each learner.


Workplace settings / trips and visits

The experience of the workplace can be supported through trips and visits. Where possible link with an employer, to plan a trip (e.g. to a supermarket or shop) so that learners get input and opportunities to practise skills as part of the visit.


Internal Work Experience

The School provides a range of internal work experience opportunities – helpful where a learner is not ready for Work Experience in the wider community. These include the kitchen, library, Tuck Shops, Cafes, Reception, Admin Support and supporting the Site team.


The Gatsby Benchmark standards  is taken into account and considered as appropriate to our individual learners.