Secondary Curriculum


"What makes the curriculum outstanding is the way in which it is individualised in response to the specific learning and behavioural needs of every student." 

Ofsted Nov 2013

"I get much more support here than I ever did in Mainstream. I like it here."

Student, June 2016

Secondary Curriculum

At Cressey College the curriculum is underpinned by four key principles.

National Curriculum. We believe all students of all ages are entitled to access the National Curriculum, at a level appropriate to their abilities and needs.

Literacy and numeracy. Improving literacy and numeracy levels is a key focus in all subjects, at all Key Stages. Whilst some students require additional support, others are guided to the highest academic achievements.

Learning to communicate, and to learn. We develop communication, speaking and listening skills, and personal and social skills. This is supported by Speech and Language Therapists, and Occupational Therapists. We also encourage students to become independent learners and help them learn how to manage their behaviour. We build structure and security into their school lives, to help them communicate and learn more easily.

Improving attendance and interest. The curriculum is designed to be stimulating, interesting and fun, to encourage attendance and interest in learning. This is enhanced by interactive therapy and counseling. Educational visits are used to stimulate interest and develop literacy skills, through follow up work.

Curriculum Resources

The rich variety of resources we use to support Cressey's curriculum are illustrated in the attached Resources Map.

The Cressey College Curriculum

* These Subjects are mandatory for all students, at the appropriate stage.

Academic curriculum

Creative curriculum

Emotional curriculum

Physical education*

Vocational / work-based



Social Skills*


Vocational courses


Performing arts

Communication Skills*


Independence Skills



Confidence building


Employability Skills* 


Creative projects

Sex & Relationships*

Outdoor adventure activities

Work experience



Drug Awareness*


Life Skills


Film making

Equal Opportunities*


Career Preparation



Alcohol Awareness*





Interactive therapy


Personal Budgeting*

OCN Adult Literacy

Food Technology



Link courses

OCN Adult Numeracy


Speech & language therapy



Other languages


Occupational therapy

Using local gym




Restorative Approaches

Martial arts





Horse riding


"Cressey's so different to any other school. It's amazing. (My son) just loves it. 

And he does much more work than at all his other schools."

Parent, July 2015

Curriculum subjects

Cressey’s Secondary Curriculum has five modules, as described below. The subjects covered are listed in the table beneath.

Academic curriculum. We focus on Maths, English, Science, ICT and PSHEE, and all students follow the National Curriculum. An individualised programme of study is prepared for each student according to their needs, taking into account their Statement. There are also many other subject options, as illustrated by the table below.

Creative curriculum. Creative activities such as dance or woodwork can greatly increase some students' interest in learning. We therefore provide multiple options.

Emotional curriculum. Helping students to cope with emotional difficulties is a core element of Cressey’s approach. The emotional curriculum is therefore substantial, as illustrated in the table below.

Physical education. Our PE curriculum has many options, from swimming and trampolining, to football and boxing. We very strongly encourage regular sport and exercise, and there are outdoor adventurous activities throughout the year including climbing, abseiling and water sports.

Vocational and work-based curriculum. At Key Stages 4 and 5 there is also an emphasis on employability skills, and work experience placements. Students may attend a range of vocational courses, or link courses, at a local college. They may also undertake a work experience placement.