Our Approach

At St Dominic’s, we teach the National Curriculum alongside a Needs Led Curriculum which equips pupils and students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their lives:

  • Skills for communication
  • Skills for independence
  • Skills for learning
  • Skills for self-development
  • Skills for enrichment

The Needs Led Curriculum forms a secure foundation for all other learning. The skills taught enable pupils and students to access the breadth of the National Curriculum, adapted to suit their individual needs and to help meet the outcomes of their Education, Health and Care Plan.

The school is divided into three learning phases:

  • The Lower School (Years 3 – 8)
  • The Upper School (Years 9-11)
  • Sixth Form (Years 12-14)

In each phase, pupils and students are able to follow pathways that ensures they receive a tailored curriculum that meets their individual needs and aspirations. These are:

  • Explore (years 3-5)
  • Endeavour (years 6 – 11)
  • Discover (years 6 – 11)
  • Innovate (additional pathway for years 10-11)

All pathways build towards a broad range of qualifications which may include GCSEs, BTEC, Laser, Functional Skills and A Levels.

Pupils at St Dominic’s begin their learning journey on our Explore pathway which supports younger pupils to explore learning flexibly in all areas. This includes core subjects such as English, maths, science, computing, PSHE and PE and a range of foundation subjects such as art, cooking and humanities. Pupils also receive therapy-led needs led lessons for independence and communication skills setting a broad and balanced basis for all other learning.

From year 6, pupils will follow one of two curriculum pathways: Endeavour and Discover. Pupils continue to receive both the National Curriculum and our Needs Led Curriculum in each pathway but with a tailored weighting to best meet individual needs.

Our Endeavour pathway places a greater emphasis on the National Curriculum to support academic outcomes in preparation for further education. When they reach year 10, pupils work towards and typically achieve a broad range of GCSE and some BTEC qualifications by Year 11.

Our Discover pathway places a greater emphasis on the Needs Led Curriculum to support independence outcomes for pupils in years 6-11 alongside the National Curriculum, supporting them to achieve greater skills for independence, communication, learning, self-development and enrichment. When they reach year 9, Pupils typically work towards and achieve a range of portfolio-based qualifications and, in some cases, GCSE and BTEC qualifications.

From year 10, pupils are able to access a third pathway, Innovate, which places greater emphasis on creative and vocational qualifications to support training and employment outcomes. From year 10, pupils typically achieve a broad range of qualifications including functional skills, BTEC, Laser and some GCSEs.

Placement on a particular pathway is not fixed meaning pupils and students may change pathway as they move through the school based on their progress in discussion with families.

Click here to view our Curriculum Policy.

Further Information:

Further details for each phase of the school are provided on the relevant page.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the school’s curriculum further with families.  Families should contact the School Office (01428 684693) in the first instance if they require further information.



My Son has made incredible progress emotionally and applies himself much better academically. The mentoring aspect is key to his progress.



Latest News

St Dominic’s marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Today, being the last day before we break for the half term holidays, we celebrated the Queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee.  During tutor time and assemblies, pupils learned about the Queen’s reign and about how much the country has changed over …

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