with Peter Imray
Attempts to answer the problems facing learners and the teachers of those learners who are working consistently and over time below age related expectations in the primary phase. There is a special (but time bound) emphasis on teaching Mathematics and English to those who struggle enormously with both, as well as an in-depth analysis of why this is so.
Taken together, the seven in-depth and detailed schemes of work consisting of Maths, English, Independence, The World About Us, Outdoor Schooling, Physical Well-Being and Play & Leisure, form a broad and balanced holistic curriculum that fully meets the needs of pupils struggling within a conventional National Curriculum model.
The schemes of work are non-key stage specific, so that pupils work at levels appropriate to their developmental stage.
As both engagement and motivation are at the heart of each scheme of work, issues relating to challenging behaviour and pupils’ mental well-being are intrinsically woven into the fabric of the whole curriculum from the word go.
The Equals Formal Curriculum has been designed for that very small percentage of the school population, perhaps as low as two per cent (Einfeld and Emerson, 2001) who have learning difficulties to such a degree that they are consistently working at levels considerably below their age-related peers for all of their academic lives across all or most academic areas. In England, such pupils will probably be regarded as having moderate learning difficulties (MLD) or more likely, severe learning difficulties (SLD).
Some, perhaps many, of this population may also have a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum condition (ASC), but it is the level of the individual’s learning difficulties that is of concern here. That is, the existence of autism may affect how the pupil is taught, but the existence of this severity of learning difficulty will affect what the pupil is taught.
Irrespective of the existence of an additional ASC, Imray and Colley (2017) regard the term SLD as encompassing, to a greater or lesser degree:
- Communication difficulties
- Difficulties with abstract concepts
- Difficulties in concentration and attention
- Difficulties with both short term and long term memory
- Difficulties with sequential memory
- Difficulties with working memory
- Inefficient and slow information processing speed
- Insecure general knowledge
- Poorly developed strategies for thinking and learning
- Difficulties with generalisation and problem solving. (Imray and Colley, 2017, p38)
They further assume that children and young people experiencing such difficulties will be working, consistently and over time, at academic levels below or at the earliest levels of the UK National Curriculum.
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