The Pre-Formal Curriculum

Pupils at The Clare 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 pupils 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 pupils communicate by gesture, eye-pointing, and at times very simple language. Their attainment is likely to stay within the early P-Levels.

All our Pre-Formal pupils follow highly individualised timetables including the following five areas:

  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Physical Skills
  • Independence
  • Sensory Skills


Music is an incredibly important part of the Pre-Formal curriculum from Reggae Wednesdays to Rock and Roll Fridays. Here are some ideas for using music to encourage learning and engagement at home from our music lead, David Bloomfield:

  • Use recorded music, or singing, as a cue for different activities, for example when washing, giving medication, playing, going out etc.
  • Listen to a wide variety of music and if possible associate particular styles or moods with different activities, people or events.
  • Look for any physical or vocal actions from your child and take turns with them by copying and / or encouraging them to copy your actions or vocalisations. Try to incorporate changes of pitch (high / low), dynamics (loud / soft) and tempo (fast / slow).
  • Use your and your child’s bodies as instruments: tapping, clapping and vocalising along to either recorded or sung music.
  • Listen to and engage with repetitive sounds and music, encouraging copying and anticipation.
    When engaging with music that your child is familiar with, pause or stop to look for any attempt to perform the next part, or to show you that they want ‘more’.
  • Encourage choice making by offering 2 or more songs / musical styles for your child to listen to or take part in.
  • Make rhythmical sounds with any everyday objects, for example splashing water or tapping different surfaces, and engage in turn-taking or ‘playing’ together.
  • Sing! Your perception of the quality of your voice is not important: your child will engage with your voice, and it might make you feel good too!


Click on the link below for an update from the Lead:

Pre-formal Report Summer 2019

Pre-formal update Spring 2019

Pre-formal update Autumn 2018

Pre-formal update Summer 2018

Please click on the link below to see some great ideas for Art you can do at home  from our Art teacher, Hayley Strivens:

Art Home Learning

For a more in-depth look at the intent of the Pre-Formal Curriculum, how we implement it and it’s impact for our pupils please click on the link below:

Pre-Formal Curriculum Overview  August 2019