College curriculum

This page outlines St Piers’ approach to the College curriculum for all the students we support.

To find out in more detail about Curriculum structure and learner journeys, you can download our College Curriculum Policy

Our aim and objectives

Our aim is to ensure each young person at St Piers College believes in themselves and is empowered to succeed. Our objective is to encourage self-belief, empowering young people to:

  • Achieve their aspirations in work, life and relationships.
  • Be successful and valued members of the community.
  • Recognise their rights and responsibilities and how to practice these in the community.
  • Be confident to make informed, realistic choices and decisions throughout all areas of their lives.
  • Be courageous and confident to take risks and explore new opportunities.
  • Respect and show an appreciation for the enrichment of different cultures, religions, gender and disabilities, recognising the importance of equal opportunities for everyone.
  • Understand the importance of, and following, their own beliefs and values, while respecting others.
  • Take part in activities that will contribute to, and maintain, a healthy and positive lifestyle.
  • Take responsibility for their physical and emotional wellbeing by participating positively in their local communities.

Student voice

Students of all abilities can make their voice heard through the Learner Voice group.

The group is a place to share ideas, contribute towards College operational decisions, work on student equity and comment on new developments.

Students have worked with the branding team to create the College logo, and worked closely with the architect to plan College developments.

They’ve also provided valuable feedback to awarding bodies, including the Inclusion Quality Mark and Challenge Partners review.


At St Piers College, the education and therapy teams work together to produce accessible learning environments for everyone.

Through Team Around the Learner (TAL) and Wellbeing meetings, we also develop strategies and intervene when needed so that students can access learning to their full potential.

An autism-focused service promotes accessible learning, improved learning experiences and enhanced outcomes for students with autism and other learning difficulties.

The College also incorporates the Autism Education Trust progression framework,  which is widely recognised.

The framework includes a range of practical resources supported by current research into good autism practice, as established and endorsed by the Department for Education.

The four areas of our curriculum

We provide a broad and balanced curriculum that identifies and meets the needs of all by personalising our curriculum for each young person. The four areas of the College curriculum are:

  1. Employment
  2. Independent living
  3. Community inclusion
  4. Healthy living

Curriculum structure and learner journeys

Following a review, our curriculum structure is organised into three learner journeys:

Learning for Life

Learning for Life is a non-subject-specific curriculum for students with complex physical, medical and sensory needs.

It focuses on communication, independence, functional skills and social skills.

Skills for Life

Skills for life is a semi-formal curriculum for students with significant intellectual or cognitive impairments and communication and perception difficulties.

It focuses on learning essential skills for life while following a broad and varied learning curriculum.

Specialist Skills

Specialist Skills is subject-specific curriculum mainly for students who have difficulties with literacy and numeracy, and need to develop social skills.

It focuses on personalisation and students’ aspirations as they progress through the College.

Our three learner journeys are the foundation for teaching, learning and assessment. Learning for Life and Skills for Life are delivered in small groups with high levels of support; Specialist Skills follows a timetable, and is delivered in appropriately sized groups with the right amount of support.  The subject areas for all three learner journeys are:

  • Communication and language
  • Cognition and learning
  • World and creativity
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Physical and sensory
  • Independence and community involvement (Skill for Life and Specialist Skills journey journeys only)

This section is an overview of Learner Journeys. To find out in more detail about all the areas covered on this page, you can download our College Curriculum Policy

A personalised approach

St Piers College prides itself on the personalised approach embraced throughout the College and the curriculum.

We create an inclusive environment where students can identify their strengths, potential and goals.

We craft personalised programmes using information from students’ initial and baseline assessments, attendance at taster sessions and a thorough understanding of the young person’s aspirations and interests.

Students are responsible for their learning. They set their own targets and use choice sheets to plan the subjects they would like to work on.

Relationships and sex education

The relationships and sex education curriculum is under constant review to plan programmes relevant to current events, modern media and technology, and developing  trends.

We tailor relationships and sex education programmes to individual needs, and align them with principles of safeguarding.

This allows students to develop an awareness of themselves and others, and to learn how to form and maintain positive, healthy and safe relationships.

As trusted adults, students are empowered to report any worries or concerns.

Teaching at the College

Personal tutors and subject tutors work with their Support Team to plan for teaching, learning and assessment.

Personal tutors

Personal tutors liaise with students, parents, therapy and medical teams, and external parties, factoring in pastoral care, wellbeing and transitions for each young person.

Personal tutors build a personal and social development programme for each student, with daily sessions. Personal tutors also introduce each College day with Communication, Organisation, Registration and Engagement (CORE) time.

Subject tutors

Subject tutors provide captivating and exhilarating learning experiences.

They specialise in an array of topics to engage and inspire young people.

These include, art, pottery, expressive arts, drama, textiles, fleece to fibre project, multi-skills, horticulture, the farm, cooking, sport, personal care and wellbeing.

Learning support assistants and student support workers

The learning support assistants and student support workers make up our Support Team and bring a multitude of skills and knowledge that enrich the learning experience.

They understand and fulfil their role to support students to access learning and to achieve as independently as possible in preparation for the next stage of their life.

'Waking day’ curriculum

College and residential staff work together to make sure residential students enjoy effective teaching, learning and progress through a ‘Waking day’ curriculum.

Staff share and work on key objectives related to students’ education, health and care plan (EHCPs) targets, personal and social development, life skills and independence.

External college programmes

Mainstream colleges provide external credited and non-accredited programmes for learning valuable, transferrable work skills and functional skills, including numeracy, literacy, IT and communication.

Accredited programmes

Laser Learning Awards is a credit-based, national awarding organisation, recognised by Ofqual.

It has a growing range of Ofqual-regulated qualifications relevant to all levels of students’ abilities.

Pearson is the UK’s largest awarding organisation.

Awarding body       Qualification

Laser                       Entry Level Award in Independent Living (Entry 1, 2, 3)

Laser                       Entry Level Certificate in Independent Living (Entry 1, 2, 3)

Laser                       Entry Level Award in Personal Progress (Entry 1)

Laser                       Entry Level Award in Participating in Learning (Entry 2)

Laser                       Entry Level Award in Preparing to Get a Job (Entry 2)

Laser                       Entry Level Award/Certificate for Learning Employability and Progression (Entry 3)

Pearson Edexcel    Functional skills qualification (Entry Level)


The ‘My Learning Journey’ record includes reports from previous placements and the College’s clerking in process, initial assessment and baseline assessments.

Together with information about each student’s choices, interests and aspirations, this informs the planning for teaching, learning and assessment.

Students are tracked along their learning journey using the target recording system Earwig Academic, which supports individualised assessments, measurement of engagement and progress, and setting targets for education, health and care plan (EHCP) outcomes

Careers advice and work experience

Students receive Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG)

This specialist service supports and empowers them to make decisions about work-related learning beneficial to their future.

Campus-based and offsite work experience placements are available.

These opportunities are carefully matched to students’ aspirations and abilities, enabling them, through real-world experience, to make informed decisions and choices about the next stage of their life.   

Supported Internship Programme

In their final year, some students may progress towards the Supported Internship Programme.

Through the programme, students take up volunteering roles in their local community.

The programme’s aim is to give students the necessary skills and knowledge they need to secure sustainable paid employment.

College Enterprise Project

The College Enterprise Project adds another dimension to work-related learning, giving students free range to explore and research their own business ideas.

Through the creation, marketing, advertising and selling of a product or service, they gain valuable transferable skills for the workplace.

Students are keen to rise to the challenges, their enthusiasm turning the College Enterprise Project into a fun and competitive event.

Life-enhancing activities

Students also take part in activities and events that deepen their appreciation of all aspects of fairness and respect for others. These include Anti-Bullying Week and Safer Internet Day

Enrichment events, alongside relationships and sex education lessons, instil an appreciation of different abilities, religions, cultures and LGBTQ+, enlightening students and empowering them to form their own beliefs and values. Events include Black History month, Christmas, Ramadan, International day – a celebration of the countries from around the world.

To find out in more detail about Curriculum structure and learner journeys, you can download our College Curriculum Policy

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