Informal Curriculum – CLD

Complex Learning Difficulties (CLD)

The Equals Informal Curriculum is set in the context of Equals multi-tiered curriculum approach, recognising that differentiation from England’s (or indeed any) National Curriculum is NOT sufficient to meet the needs of pupils and students with profound, complex, severe or global learning difficulties.

For these populations, who are all working consistently and over time below or very near the start of their national curriculum, curricula NEED TO be different rather than differentiated, because the way such pupils learn is different, and often very, very different from neuro-typical, conventional developing learners for whom the national curriculum was designed.

For pupils and students with complex learning difficulties (CLD) who are working consistently and over time
to the early reaches of the severe learning difficulties spectrum.

Those with Complex Learning Difficulties (CLD) have all of the defining difficulties we might regard the term SLD as encompassing, noted by Imray and Colley (2017) as;

  • 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

Breadth and Balance. Whilst we accept the desirability of providing a broad and balanced curriculum, it must be wholly appropriate to the needs of each learner. Ongoing assessment may point to a need for concentration and intensity in one or two particular areas for some learners for a part, and sometimes a considerable part of their time in education.

Education SHOULD NOT and must not be tokenistic just for the sake of ticking a box. For those with CLD, time in education is LIMITED and PRECIOUS, and we are duty bound not to waste it.

Classroom Organisation. An essential part of ENGAGEMENT is to recognise that the complexity of their learning difficulties will mean that such learners do not, and cannot learn effectively when taught in a compartmentalised and piecemeal manner (Ware, 2003; Welsh Assembly Government, 2006; Lacey, 2010; Imray and Hinchcliffe, 2014; Imray and Colley, 2017).

In practice this means that we have to aim for as much consistency and continuity as possible, not just in what we teach, but how we teach and who is doing the teaching. With this in mind, we strongly recommend that the school organises its days around specific Class Groups taught by the same core staff of Teacher and TAs, and seeks to hold these Class Groups together over time.

Below is a recording of an Equals Online CPD session by Peter Imray; our Director of Developments.

Peter Imray talks about our brand new Informal (CLD) Curriculum. Equals members can attend the live online CPD sessions for 100% FREE. Please visit the
 » Equals Events Page to view the full selection of online CPD sessions available. For further information about the Equals Informal (SLD) Curriculum, please contact the Equals Strategic Development Manager using or you can ring Paul using 0191 272 1222.

Informal (CLD) Cost: Only £395 for Members
and £790 for Non-members. 

For further information or to place and order please contact 

To view details for the Equals Online Training and Conferences please visit our » Events Section

For further information please contact the Equals Strategic Development Manager, using

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Pedagogy, Curriculum and Assessment of Pupil Progress for Children and Young People with SLD and PMLD

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“Information about different kinds of assessment models”
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