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Our curriculum aims to create:

  • Young Leaders; who lead themselves, lead others and lead in their communities.
  • Successful Learners, who enjoy, make progress, achieve and ‘love to go to school’ 
  • Confident Individuals, who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives 
  • Responsible Citizens, who make positive contributions to society 
  • Independent Adults, who can work with others and be healthily independent when required 

Our curriculum will: 

  • Address disadvantages and disruptions  
  • Be engaging and enjoyable 
  • Be broad and balanced and promote community and environmental values  
  • Be supported by a therapeutic milieu  
  • Address each pupils’ own level of need and ensure best safeguarding practice 
  • Enable pupils to negotiate independent pathways from social isolation to independence 

Our Five Part Curriculum

Our Five Part Curriculum is designed to meet the educational, therapeutic, social, emotional, and behavioural needs of our pupils. It assesses and recognises learning needs and offers opportunities and experiences that will enable pupils to meet the challenges of adult life. 


five-part curriculum: in more detail

We have high expectations of all pupils’ success in every aspect of learning and achievement and firmly believe that expectations shape performance.

We believe that all our pupils have hidden talents that need to be found, nurtured and supported. 

We do this by ensuring that our pupils have a meaningful voice and fully participate in all aspects of the running of our schools. 

We pride ourselves on the positive relationships that exist in the schools and services and on the creative environment in which we work. 

Academic and Vocational Curriculum 

With the support of a teacher, each pupil creates an Individualised Curriculum Pathway.  All pupils then follow courses matched to their ability in English, Maths, Science, Humanities, PSHE, RSE and ICT as well as choosing at least two options from the two Group specialisms: ‘Arts’ and LIFE (Leadership, Independence, Future Options, Employability and Empowerment). 

At KS2 non-core subjects are delivered through the thematic styled ‘International Primary Curriculum’ (IPC). The focus then shifts at key stage 3 to working towards nationally recognised qualifications and accreditations.   

Enrichment Curriculum 

Our pupils benefit from participating in a variety of activities designed to enrich and enhance the school and Create Service experience. Our enrichment curriculum is intrinsically linked to elements of spiritual, moral, social, and cultural (SMSC) education as well as our own Community Values, Community Cohesion, British Values including Britishness, Public Institutions and Every Child Matters. 

The added element of our enrichment curriculum is the schools’ and Create Service’s aims to find and nurture these often-hidden talents of each pupil. The enrichment curriculum responds to the interests and aspirations expressed by our pupils including charitable endeavours and community- based service and opportunities for genuine leadership roles within and beyond school. This last element is supported by regular and frequent training of a high standard, often leading to accreditation, such as our Level 2 qualifications for Mentoring, traineeships, and apprenticeships. There enrichment opportunities can lead to career pathways for our pupils to move from entrant to employment within TCES. 

Engagement Curriculum 

Although a significant percentage of our referred pupils are able to join our schools after a short internal induction, some of our pupils may require individualised support to enable them to flourish in small group full time education. This engagement may present itself in many different fashions all of which are valid in the journey to complete engagement.  We recognise that passive, active and stop-start engagement are all methods to facilitate learning. With a whole school approach, a pupil’s learning engagement is understood and utilised to bring them safely and appropriately into group learning. Engagement support is delivered through our school teams internally and may include graduated entry as well as additional one to one support. 

In line with our Community Value that we never give up; we never permanently exclude our pupils. Neither do we fixed-term exclude. For those pupils who either need a brief respite from the stresses of group education or who need a re-engagement/refocus programme back into our school services, we provide community or home-based refocus programmes, parallel to our schools, called TCES Create and TCES National Online School (more detail about these two services in the Implementation section). These services are also used for those in-school pupils who present as either more vulnerable or at higher risk.   

Create and National Online School services are brilliantly versed at supporting pupils with anxiety and other needs. Pupils attending these services are engaged through a very structured Education and Clinical service with an eventual aim that most pupils will be integrated with high levels of support into the Create Therapeutic Education Centres and eventually into or back into our schools. We call this our Step-Down approach leading to integration – from home to community to Therapeutic Education Centre to our schools. 

Therapeutic Curriculum 

Our academic offer is underpinned by our Relational Pedagogical approach which pervades all that we do in school and is embodied by all staff at every level. We offer a wide range of Therapeutic, Clinical and Inclusion interventions including: Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Nurture Groups, Relationship Mentoring, Leadership and Life Skills Coaching, and Group Process. (Additional therapies including Counselling, Music, Equine therapy etc. are available specifically in our Create services).  

Our specialist teams work together to deliver our therapeutic curriculum. This focuses on providing strategies and approaches including a therapeutic milieu — a safe and structured environment, where pupils learn about their needs, feelings, ways of thinking and interacting.  

This is achieved through the combined elements of:  

  • quality therapeutic environments 
  • forensic understanding of an individual’s needs 
  • community shared values 
  • mutual respect and acceptance 
  • positive peer support 
  • full pupil and parent voice and participation 
  • emotionally healthy communities through group work and specialist targeted assemblies on British and Community values.   

The therapeutic milieu provides an idealised setting for our pupils as group members to work through their social and emotional needs, supporting them to address their barriers to learning in a healthy and safe manner.  

Our Therapeutic Curriculum and provision is available onsite and via online Distance Therapy and is  managed, supported, and quality assured by our internal social work, therapists and mental health senior managers. 

ASC/SEMH Specific 

By supporting and understanding an individual’s ASC or SEMH needs, we create learning environments and take informed approaches to ensure the development of each pupil’s capacity to learn. Although we offer core subjects within each of our schools, Create and Home Learning services, we are also able to adapt our curriculum to cater to the needs and interests of our pupils to ensure they are engaged and excited to learn.  Language adapted environments as well as sensory appropriate environments are pre-requisites to an ASC and SEMH specific curriculum.   

The TCES Transition Curriculum 

After much research throughout the summer term in 2020, the whole company devised a Transition Curriculum to successfully reintegrate school-based pupils back to full time, onsite education.  


In their Guidance for Full Opening published online in July 2020, the DfE agreed that ‘substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time will be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021.’ 

Our specialised Transition Curriculum runs for six weeks (term 1/6) and will support pupils to engage with the process of ‘learning to learn again’ (Prof. Barry Carpenter) whilst guiding pupils into the new normality of school life after an extended absence. It echoes Amanda Spielman’s view of a ‘rebuilding’ autumn term and will be ‘Catch Up’ focused to ensure no pupil is disadvantaged.  

A Cross Curricular Transition Curriculum Approach 

The Transition Curriculum is not just intended to deliver learning to those pupils who have returned from being educated through our Distance Learning model or those who have been on site with a reduced peer group – it is specifically designed to support each pupil’s re-engagement with group-based learning and assess the impact of the last few months both on their academic progress and on their well-being.

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The intention is that the transition curriculum is sufficiently distracting from the shock and change that we have all witnessed recently, to support pupils to re-focus on their interests, their potential and their future. 

In order to achieve this, we have adopted a cross-curricular approach to the first 6 weeks of school in September.  The timetables will itemise daily sessions for Well-Being, English and Maths, but the remainder of each day will be a fusion of subject content delivered through key projects and enrichment activities. For example, from week one, all pupils will be supported to prepare for their school’s Leadership Week in October.  This will require them to work on: speaking & listening; presentations using Office applications on their laptops; writing for specific audiences and for persuasion; budget management; British Values; PSHE; graphic art for posters/fliers etc.; goal-setting; reflection; motivation techniques and identifying strengths in themselves and others, to name just a few. 

Throughout this cross-curricular approach, schools will seize the opportunities for pupils to gain externally-validated accreditation, such as in ICT for their presentation work, and through the English Speaking Board accreditation programme, for which we have specifically sought guidance and training when developing this Transition Curriculum. 

Catch-up programmes will be in place alongside these projects and we have reviewed many so that we are only using those catch-up programmes that will have the biggest impact for our cohorts of pupils. However, we recognise that a diet of traditional lessons and catch-up sessions will never provide for the deep-rooted needs that must be met for the successful long-term re-engagement of our pupils.  We believe a transition curriculum based on relationship-building and project-based learning is more likely to provide the conditions for success. 

catch up programme

All of our schools and services will work to understand and address the gaps in pupil’s learning during the Transition Curriculum period and will provide support to pupils requiring additional intervention.

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Our schools and services will identify individuals and the required interventions needed and will put a programme of support in place with clear targets and goals. These additional interventions sessions will be devised, based on need, from a range of onsite and online resources including, but not limited to: 

  • 1-1 support onsite or online 
  • Access, onsite or online, to educational platforms such as: 
    • Literacy – Zaprendo (Phonics), Lexia (Reading) and Bedrock Learning (Vocabulary) 
    • Mathematics – My Maths 

Each pupil’s programme of support will be monitored throughout the process and reviewed at the end of Term 1. 

Our Curriculum: The Big Picture 

The Big Picture is the result of an effort by TCES to capture in one diagram: what we are trying to achieve with our curriculum offer (intent), how we will set out to achieve that (implementation) and what measures we will use to judge its success (impact).  

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After the 6-week Transition Curriculum we will return to our normal Big Picture Curriculum. As Independent Schools, we are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum. However, at TCES, we are trying to keep our TCES Curriculum as close to the National Curriculum as possible, all the while considering our pupils’ difficulties in accessing education and making progress.  

The School Support Partnership has selected 8 key subjects that all schools must include on their timetables from October 2020 to ensure that our pupils are accessing, not only the off-site enrichment activities, but the core curriculum subjects also.  

We recommend as a guide, how many lessons each Key Stage will have of education in each of these 8 subjects, based on recommended guided learning hours for the qualifications we deliver. This is shown below: 






English & DEAR


LIFE specialism 




Computing (ICT)








(To include assemblies, Wellbeing sessions, Group Process, Enrichment etc.) 

Sessions per week 





The remaining hours left after the Core Curriculum subjects have been taught, are to be used for off-site activities, enrichment, relationship mentoring, therapy sessions or other standing subjects a school may be teaching. 

TCES Specialisms 

Each of the TCES schools and services has two specialisms: LIFE and ‘Arts’.  

Every pupil has the unique opportunity at TCES to select curriculum pathways that will lead to Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent) qualifications in two specialist areas. 


TCES has an extremely strong history of delivering Level 2 and Level 3 outcomes in the ‘Arts’ for our pupils. Recent successes include A levels (including one A*); AS and many GCSEs, ranging from Graphics to Photography and Art & Design. This year all pupils will have pathways that will include the Arts, but their options will be extended to include Music and other Performance Art. 

Outside of TCES, Leadership as a taught subject is absent from almost all mainstream and special schools to our knowledge.  We recognise that all our pupils have enormous potential for Leadership and each has a curriculum pathway to Level 2 qualifications in this area.  They will not achieve this just through taught lessons, so training and opportunities for leadership are a right for all pupils throughout their time at TCES.  We are currently developing our capacity for potential traineeships and apprenticeships as part of this leadership specialism, so that our current pupils might have the option to form a significant proportion of our future workforce. 

life programme

An element of our curriculum that is followed by all our pupils, the TCES LIFE Programme comprises four key elements:

  • Leadership
  • Independence Skills
  • Future Options & Employability
  • Empowerment

Through this, our pupils are provided with a ‘real voice’, which helps them to: learn, succeed and flourish in school; become suitably prepared to thrive as adults; develop skills that underpin future resilience; and be inspired to become values-based active citizens, now and in the future.

The LIFE Programme has been designed to specifically enhance our pupils’ chances of employability and success at work through a belief in self (learning to ‘lead’ yourself). They will learn how to:

  • Set goals
  • Plan tasks and activities to meet these goals
  • Communicate with teams and individuals
  • Recognise the strengths and potential of others
  • Inspire others to meet goals
  • Organise work and delegate
  • Review performance
  • Resolve problems
  • Maintain a ‘can do’ attitude
  • See the bigger picture

Courses, Qualifications and Accreditations on offer at TCES

At TCES group we provide qualification and accreditation opportunities for our pupils that are as close as possible to the opportunities they would experience in a mainstream school, all the while recognising the difficulties our pupils experience accessing education.

The qualifications and accreditations we offer link with our Big Picture curriculum.

This comprises of the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, and a range of subjects that come under our two specialisms of LIFE and ‘The Arts’, PE, Humanities and Technology.  

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Pupils are entered for qualifications and accreditation as appropriate to their individualised pathways throughout the school years to improve their opportunities in life outside TCES.  All our pupils are working on pathways that will lead to level 2 qualifications or above. Teachers and therapists work with them to ensure their success, always taking into account the difficulties they face and their wellbeing needs.

The qualifications and accreditations on offer at TCES at KS4 currently include:

  • GCSE English
  • Functional Skills
  • Entry Levels
  • English Speaking Board qualifications
  • GCSE Mathematics
  • Functional Skills
  • Entry Level
  • GCSE Science – double award
  • GCSE Biology
  • Functional Skills
  • Entry level
  • English Speaking Board Qualifications
  • BTEC Peer Mentor Awards (Level 1 & 2)
  • Sports Leaders UK Awards  (ADD IN NAMES)
  • Barclays Life Skills Awards
  • BTEC Workskills (Entry Level, level 1,2,3)
  • SSAT Pupil Leader Award
  • SSAT Student Leadership
  • Virtual College Awards/Educare Certificates including First Aid Online, Food Safety & Hygiene
  • National Citizenship Challenge
  • BTEC Safe Road Skills and Attitude: Award and Certificate Level 1
  • BTEC Sustainability Award and Certificate (Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2)
  • BTEC Award in Money and Finance Skills (Level 1 & 2)
  • The Mentoring School Peer Mentor level 2 (check title with Corinne)
  • A level Art
  • A level Animation
  • A level Graphics
  • A level Photography
  • GCSE Art
  • GCSE Photography
  • GCSE Graphics
  • GCSE Animation
  • What Music qual at East London??  Music Technology BTEC?
  • Arts Awards
  • BTEC Home Cooking Awards (Level 1 &2)
  • GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • GCSE Engineering
  • Information Technology Qualifications ITQ (Entry level, Level 1 & 2)
  • Functional Skills ICT (Entry level, Level 1 & 2)
  • Digital Skills Awards
  • GCSE Geography
  • GCSE History
  • BTEC Sports
  • Sports Leaders UK Awards

Base Membership

We are a member of the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) who uses a partnership strategy to enable people with various learning needs to achieve sustainable long-term employment and businesses to employ valuable workers.

We support and develop young people in our schools and services to step into the world of work after they have completed their education – including working at TCES.  


Spiritual moral social and cultural development


TCES promotes the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of all our pupils through a wide range of rich learning experiences, our big picture curriculum, our community values and our therapeutic and clinical approach.

Our schools and services aim to play an influential part in the personal development and emotional growth of our pupils. We encourage an ethos where all pupils can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected. Through our SMSC and wider curriculum, TCES helps our pupils develop into:

  • Young Leaders, who lead themselves, lead others and lead in the community
  • Successful Learners, who enjoy, make progress achieve and ‘love to go to school’
  • Confident Individuals, who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • Responsible Citizens, who make positive contributions to society
  • Independent Adults, who can work with others and be healthily independent.

Independent schools are required to meet the Spiritual, Moral, Social, and Cultural (SMSC) regulations as set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003. There are five parts to the SMSC regulations, which are shown below:

2a) Enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence

2b) Enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law

2c) Encourage pupils to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative and understand how they can contribute to community life

2d) Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of public institutions and services in England

2e) Assist pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions

These aspects are embedded across the curriculum and feature particularly in our LIFE programme, our PSHE including RSE curriculum and our SMSC assemblies. All lessons and activities provide opportunities for personal development and to increase cultural capital. We celebrate cross company cultural celebrations including Black History Month, Anti Bullying Week, Arts Week, LGBTQ+ History Month and International Women's Day. Our weekly group process meetings offer time for individual pupil reflection and personal development.