PMLD/Sensory Base and Engagement Pathway Curriculum


PMLD Primary Sensory & Engagement Pathway Curriculum Overview September 2018 

The PMLD/sensory curriculum is designed for students who are functioning between P1 – P3ii. Typically these students will be classed as PMLD and will have sensory and medical needs in addition to physical ones. They will often be wheelchair users and will most likely have been highly identified from birth.

These children have a classroom offer that is quite different to the greater part of the school; their care and sensory needs will be carefully balanced within their education and time with be given to therapies and interventions that help them to be well.

We consider the following factors when deciding which children require the offer of the PMLD/sensory curriculum:

  • Are they vulnerable to the movement and noise of others?
  • Do they require learning at a slower pace than others?
  • Do they require additional equipment to meet their physical and sensory needs?
  • Do they require an individualised timetable of support and interventions?
  • Do they require a varied and balanced approach to their education, incorporating breadth of experience and repetition as needed?
  • Are they vulnerable to infection?
  • Do they require therapeutic interventions from specialist staff members?

Teachers in the PMLD/sensory department have great links with the other agencies involved in each child’s care and health provision and work in a multi-disciplinary manner to ensure cohesion and consistency between these agencies.  They take advice and guidance from other professionals including medics, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and SALT teams to provide for each of the child’s individual needs and to ensure a balance is met between these and the child’s education.

The curriculum is written to accommodate experiences in the following key areas across all ages and stages:

  • My Communication
  • My Movement
  • Me and You
  • Me and the World
  • Me and the Arts
  • Technology and Computing

It is then differentiated to meet the individual needs of each class group, taking into account their interests, age, individual needs and group cohesion.

In the PMLD/sensory department, progress in cognitive development will remain significantly impacted throughout a child’s life and children can be at Mayfield for up to 17 years, some moving through only 3 or 4 classrooms in that time.  We place high importance on changing the offer in each classroom as they move up the school; making primary and secondary classrooms feel very different whilst offering the same holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to each child’s individual needs.


KS1 and 2 PMLD

The key stage 1/ 2 PMLD group follow a topic based multi-sensory curriculum which is based round their ILP (Individual Learning Plans) targets but also allows for exploration of a wide variety of topics. Topics follow the PMLD themes & support movement, fine motor skills & communication as well as experiencing drama, music, English, maths & the arts. Group assessments is through Extended P Levels & for some pupils MOVE assessment – all targets come from their ILP which is informed by their EHCP (Educational, Health, Care Plan) The class has a Total Communication Environment.

Social skills are given high importance within the class environment & through Intensive Interaction sessions, small group work & encouraging being together, interactions are supported & encouraged between our pupils. All sounds, movement, facial expressions & smiles are responded to as communication & pupils are encouraged to make themselves heard. Pupils access mobility walks to experience the local environment & when appropriate we go out on local trips (normally in the spring & summer term when it is warmer).


KS2 – Primary Sensory Base

The key stage 2 sensory curriculum is based wholly on the children’s individual learning plans (ILPs), children are allocated a space in the sensory base when it is clear that they would benefit from a tailored and individualised approach to learning.  Children in this group work on a one to one basis with their keyworker accessing a range of short, focussed tasks in a variety of environments around the school.  Their programs of study are designed taking into account that often these children manage best when stimuli are limited and presented in a controlled and predictable manner.

There is an intensive focus in the key stage 2 sensory group on communication development and intensive interaction.  The children are taught on a one to one basis to create functional and supportive relationships between children and staff while challenging the children to communicate to their full potential as much as possible.  It is widely understood that without communication, progress for these children is minimal and the emphasis on relationship building and trust are paramount.


KS3 and 4 PMLD Secondary Pathway Secondary

The key stage 3 PMLD Pathway  group follow a topic based multi-sensory curriculum which is wholly individualised to children’s ILP targets.  Topics loosely follow the PMLD/sensory themes but will be tailored according to group interests and current affairs.  We will take into account local and national events, seasonal changes and local theatre programs; creating topics using these.  Group assessment is through a mix of extended P levels and P levels depending on the level of the individual and every element of their offer will be tailored towards their own ILP targets.

The group focus is on social experience and building friendships, we work hard to support interactions between children and with adults that are responsive to the children’s communication attempts and emphasise children’s personality traits and individuality.  Activities happen in a mixture of group experiences and one to one tasks and we place high importance on real world experiences – valuing that the real world is the best multi-sensory environment available to our young people.


KS3 and KS4 Engagement Secondary Pathway

KS3 and KS4 pupils are grouped in a sensory based class working on giving the pupils the sensory experiences they need to access their learning through the engagement pathway. We follow a topic based multi-sensory curriculum which is built round their ILP (Individual Learning Plans) targets but also allows for exploration of a variety of activities as well. Group assessment is through the use of extended P levels for those who are in KS3 and those in KS4 are working within PPQ’s. Topics follow sensory themes and include supporting movement, fine motor skills, communication, building attention and levels of engagement as well as experiencing activities in a wide variety of environments.

The group focus is on social experience and building friendships, we work hard to support interactions between children and with adults to develop their confidence to communicate and express themselves. Activities happen in a mixture of group experiences and one to one tasks to give them the opportunities to develop independence in leading their own learning.


Accreditation at KS4 and 5

The key stage 4 and 5 youngsters work towards personal progress qualifications – these will be chosen to compliment the ILP targets of the individuals and will be balanced with classroom teaching which allows for breadth of experience and developmentally appropriate challenges.  Some youngsters with PMLD/sensory needs will move to the Mayfield College site for this stage of their education whilst others will stay on the main site.