English – Formal Curriculum for pupils with MLD and SLD
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
The Equals Formal Curriculum is not differentiated, it is different. It has to be different to enable pupils who consistently struggle under a national curriculum model, to succeed.