The Ropemakers' Academy Curriculum


Our curriculum at The Ropemakers’ Academy is designed to deliver our four key values:

  • Love – to deliver a sense of love, care and kindness to our pupils

  • Flourish – to provide a learning experience that enables them to flourish, and fulfil their potential in spite of their complex needs

  • Social Justice – providing them with an education based on equality of opportunity and fairness

  • Community – to enable our pupils to have a strong sense of self and community identity, and be prepared for life in the wider world

The Ropemakers’ Academy delivers a therapeutic approach to its education, for children who have been identified as having social, emotional and mental health needs. A therapeutic approach means that we provide continuous compassion and understanding towards our students, even when they are finding the school day challenging or inaccessible. We are relentless in this approach, as we firmly believe that this is the cornerstone to making our children feel safe enough to risk failure and feel confident to access their learning. We offer our students the opportunity to enjoy a full educational experience in an environment that allows them to feel emotionally and physically safe, and therefore be able to make progress.

In line with all the other schools in The Beckmead Trust we offer a broad and balanced curriculum leading to the acquisition of key skills and qualifications which will reflect the needs of our pupils. However, we also recognise that for all our students their complex social and emotional needs are a continuous barrier to accessing their core academic learning, and we must adapt and implement our curriculum to take account of that as well. We do this by continuously striving to make our curriculum:

  • Caring – Our therapeutic approach is the foundation from which our school and its curriculum is built. We ensure our curriculum can support our caring and kind approach, as we are uncompromising in our belief that this gives our learners the best opportunity to thrive.

  • Meaningful – our learning pathways must end in meaningful outcomes so that our pupils leave with an education which can support their transition into their next steps, and provides them with life choices and chances.

  • Adaptable – whilst we understand all curricula follow core principles, some are easier to adapt to the needs of our cohorts than others. We consistently review our curriculum to see that it is best suited for the types of differentiation which facilitate academic progress for our learners. During lessons we are not afraid to change course or redirect the time to attend to our student’s needs if that is what is required.

  • Engaging– we want our curriculum to foster a love of learning; many of our cohort have become lost on their journey to us. We want our pupils to experience success in a learning environment and the best way to achieve this is that our lessons and curriculum are relevant and engaging for our cohort.

  • Provide Opportunities – we understand that our curriculum needs to prepare our cohort for the real world. As such we look to ensure that as many opportunities as possible are built in for real world experiences linked to our curriculum, including personal enrichment experiences, career and work experience opportunities and community interaction.

  • Facilitates Social Progress – at our core, pupils at the Ropemakers Academy have extremely complex social and emotional needs, and we therefore feel it is mandatory that our curriculum has embedded opportunities and strategies to develop the social and regulatory skills of our pupils which are so important to facilitate their successful

 Our curriculum focuses on:

  • Learning that connects with children who have social and emotional needs, but that engages them meaningfully at the same time. Our curriculum is delivered with high expectations and appropriate challenge, but also with a continuous focus on pupil safety and well-being. Their emotional wellbeing needs must be met to ensure that they can access the learning curriculum first and foremost.

  • Learning that enables children with complex needs to develop personally and make at least good progress and achieve the best possible outcomes.

  • Personalised learning experiences that are built around each child’s individual needs and meets them effectively.

  • Community learning where children experience, learn and internalise the positive values of a healthy learning community so that they can participate with confidence in community activities, future learning and training in employment


Our curriculum is made of two key elements – a knowledge based academic curriculum and an intervention led personal development curriculum. Subsequently most of our students will have timetabled lessons around the following elements:

  • Core academic subjects: maths, English, and science

  • Foundation subjects:  history, geography, RE, PE, art & design & ICT/computing

  • Personal Development lessons: PSHE, enrichment, cookery, social skills and interventions

We introduce our students to our curriculum with a series of baseline assessments so that we have a good understanding of their emotional levels and academic abilities.

Our teaching staff work tirelessly to ensure that any aspect of our education offer is delivered in a therapeutic way, with all lessons and sessions carefully designed to develop the social and emotional skills, knowledge and strategies that so many of our pupils can lack. This will be either taught explicitly as part of the explicit intervention sessions on the timetable or through a continuous delivery of care and kindness. Practically speaking this might mean for example:

  • Support for developing their self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience

  • Support to develop their social skills

  • Support in making healthy lifestyle choices

  • Support to help them develop friendship groups (e.g. Circle of Friends)

  • Activities that might contain cognitive behavioural approaches

  • Positive behavioural support focused on understanding

  • Support to develop effective metacognition and study skills

  • Support around reducing exam stress and developing exam techniques

  • Support with managing any bereavement, loss, or other personal crises

  • Support for young people who have experienced trauma or bullying

We also aim to ensure that within our class lesson structures the learning is bespoke to the needs of our learners and demonstrates a strong understanding about their specific issues. We provide schemes of work and additional planning materials to enable our staff to effectively plan and provide for the individualised learning needs of all children in their class.

In order to successfully implement our curriculum, we initiate the following graduated response:

  • Assess: we use the child’s Education, Health and Care plans to understand their specific needs and learning barriers; we have a suite of baseline assessments to accompany this understanding and support with their starting points

  • Plan: Using this information, our staff team will follow programmes of study, supporting schemes of work, pupil information passports and a structured timetable to set out the teaching and learning that delivers the knowledge and intervention needs curricula.

  • Do: Teachers and their support staff provide children with lessons to enable their progression, using supportive feedback and appropriate resources to support this through a series of sequenced sessions that build up their knowledge and understanding, appropriately challenging them whilst taking account of their emotional barriers.

  • Review: We use a range of approaches to ensure that we are delivering our curriculum and enabling progression, including teacher led assessment strategies, the Beckmead Trust Continuum of Skill Development, annual reviews of their EHCPs and where appropriate national tests. This process is supported with effective monitoring activities such as learning walks and work scrutinies so that there is coherent understanding of the effectiveness of our curriculum, and our curriculum is amended as required.



To ensure that we understand the impact that our curriculum is having, and to enable us to review and amend it as required, we use a series of measures. We use baseline assessments in reading levels, phonics (where appropriate), speech and language and emotional development alongside early teacher judgements in order to understand where to pitch our students’ work in class. We also use the Beckmead Trust ‘Continuum of Skills Development’ tracker as our termly progression assessment. For many of our pupils, their complex needs can be a significant barrier to their attainment, and so it is essential that we measure the progress they are making. We measure their progress against four key measures in maths, English and their EHCP outcomes. The judgements made within the Continuum are underpinned by teacher’s own professional judgements within explicit lessons and units of work. In addition, the EHCP annual reviews, Pupil Information Passports, our own monitoring systems and our pupil and parent voice surveys provide additional understanding of the impact of our curriculum on the learning experience of our children.