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


Termly Curriculum Overviews

Summer Term

Form GN – Part 2

Form GN – Part 1

Form EM

Form HW/JB – Part 2

Form HW/JB – Part 1

Form RE

Form RB

Spring Term

Form GN

Form EM

Form HW/JB

Form RE

Form RB

Music is an incredibly important part of the Pre-Formal curriculum. Here are some ideas for using music to encourage learning and engagement at home:

  • 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!

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

Pre-Formal Targets:

Pre-Formal Targets

Please also look at the progression of topic-based learning from Early Years through to Key Stage 3:

LTP Pre-formal Semi-formal – 2020-2024


From Key Stage 4 and in Sixth Form all Pre-Formal pupils take part in appropriate examination and accreditation work.