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Our School

Our Curriculum Implementation

Driven by Termly Topics

Our curriculum is immersive in its approach. This allows pupils to experience a new exciting and engaging topic every term in exciting and vibrant themed classrooms. We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts, while frequent practice of key skills allows for sustained learning in line with Rosenshine’s principles. These four strands are sequencing concepts and modelling, questioning, reviewing material, and stages of practice.

Key Subjects and Our Big Ideas

The content and structure of curriculum is underpinned by the three Key Areas and our six Big Ideas.

Key Areas:

  • Communication and Literacy 
  • Cognition and Numeracy
  • Physical 

Fountaindale Big Ideas

  • Humankind
  • Nature
  • Place and Space
  • Exploration
  • Creativity
  • Rights

Our themed termly topics are interconnected and structure by these key subjects and big ideas. A description these can be found on the Key Subjects and Fountaindale Big Ideas curriculum page.

Promoting Vocabulary

All Themed Topics have a set of six vocab words that help to consolidate and develop the subject knowledge. These work alongside the Fountaindale Core Vocabulary to create a consistent verbal, symbol based and Makaton rich communication offer.

Key Subjects and Fountaindale Big Ideas

 Communication and Literacy 

As a learner with complex needs, communication is a common thread that runs through all our work. In the early stages of our Preformal Pathway it can be behaviours which learners may demonstrate when they encounter another person, through to simple choice making and symbol identification. In our Semi Formal Pathway this may be more complex use of low or high technological communication media to communicate information about themselves or their surrounding. This will lead to more conventional and formal learning in the later stages. Communication in our Formal Pathway begins to follow a subject specific format; the ability to read, write and speak and listen. All of these pathways are driven by the need for our learners to communicate effectively and make sense of the world.

Cognition and Numeracy 

Cognition can be seen as the precursor to Numeracy is that it is the way that we explore and make sense of our environment. As a learner on the Pre Formal Pathway, cognition can start by noticing stimuli and starting to engage with objects in increasingly varied and consistent ways. A Semi Formal Pathway learner will engage with their environment in complex ways using technology to activate objects for them. Also, the Semi Formal Pathways prepares learners for emerging Numeracy skills such as number and shape. On the Formal Pathway, learners’ development their Numeracy skills according to Number, Shape, Space and Measures, as well as Using and Applying these skills for real life situations. All of these skills will help prepare our learners for adulthood and promote independence as a meaningful part of their community.


The benefits of physical development are many:

  •  Improved cognitive health and readiness to learn.
  •  Better control of weight.
  •  Healthier bone density.
  •  Better emotional and psychological health.
  •  Improved social skills.
  •  More self-esteem

The Fountaindale curriculum offers a varied opportunity for physical Development integrated into our topic themes, while working closely in partnership with our NHS medical and Physiotherapy teams.

Fountaindale Big Ideas


This big idea invites children to find out what it means to be human, including the workings of human anatomy and how to keep safe. They explore ways That the human race is interconnected and explore the human experience and identities through a range of subject lenses. They discover the cause and effect of human behaviour and develop an understanding of the relationships between individuals, societies, faiths and communities. Through this big idea, children discover the ancient secrets of past civilisations and see the multitude of ways in which they influence modern-day life


This big idea invites children to find out about the diverse natural environments of the world and the plethora of species, both plant and animal, that live in them. They explore the characteristics and features of a range of habitats and study how living things interact within them. They examine the effects of economic and technological development on the natural world and consider the impact of human actions. Through this big idea, children discover the conditions needed for living things to thrive and survive.

Place and Space

This big idea invites children to explore the visual, cultural, social, and environmental aspects of places in their locality and the wider world. They examine how human activity and social interactions shape places and enable them to discover the unique identities and features of towns, cities, countries and continents. Through this big idea, children develop an appreciation of both the natural and urban landscape and begin to understand the bond between people and place or setting.


This big idea invites Fountaindale learners to be curious and ask and respond to original familiar and more complex questions. They explore ways to create hypotheses, gather evidence and begin to evaluate data. They experiment with different ways to present information and ideas and make informed choices to solve problems. Through this big idea, children start to think critically, make meaningful connections and reflect thoughtfully on evidence and ideas.


This big idea invites children to discover the place of every day and exceptional creativity, including the qualities of persistence, determination, originality and resilience that form the basis of the creative process. They explore different ways in which their ideas and imaginings can be realised and communicated, and pursue enquiry by asking questions and finding connections between seemingly separate ideas. Through this big idea, children develop an appreciation of the importance of experimentation, trial and error, original thought and self-expression.


This big idea invites children to discover that they have rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status. They will explore the different ways that rights are upheld, communicated and followed. They will explore how the UNICEF Convention links to their subjects, leisure and lifestyle. Students will realise that all the rights are linked and no right is more important than another.


Contact Us

Nottingham Road, Mansfield,
Nottinghamshire, NG18 5BA

01623 792671