Skip to content ↓

Valence School

Our Learners Are:
Respectful - Resilient - Independent - Positive - Passionate

Simmonds Pathway

Semiformal approach

Students following our semi-formal curriculum learn best when learning is contextualised and related to their own experiences. In Key Stages 2 and 3, the curriculum is developmental in nature, and individual learners progress through learning intentions that are appropriate to them and derived from their EHCP outcomes. The curriculum content broadly corresponds to the ground covered within the National Curriculum, but the teaching approach will reflect the age and learning needs of the students. In Key Stages 4 and 5, students are taught core subjects and a variety of foundation subjects, which progress towards certificates or Entry Level qualifications.  

Communication is an important aspect of the semi-formal curriculum from Key Stages 2 to 5, as students are continually developing this skill, which supports their social interactions with peers, and allows them to access learning. In Key Stages 4 and 5, students develop and build upon independent living skills, which are reinforced by the residential team and help students to prepare for adult life, beyond Valence. In short, our intention is to enable students to become active citizens in the wider world.


In the Simmonds pathway, students learn a range of subjects: English, Maths, Communication, PSHE, PE, Swim, Art and Design, Computing and Cooking. Primary Simmonds students learn to talk about their world, and they have the opportunity to take part in Forest School and Music. In secondary, Music develops into Expressive Arts, and some students also learn a Modern Foreign Language, Science, Humanities, Drama, Independence, and Design and Technology. Students in Simmonds 1 (primary) and Simmonds 2 (lower secondary) have lessons in Phonics.