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Dorchester Learning Centre Curriculum 2020/21


Dorchester Learning Centre operates a curriculum, which is designed to re-engage and motivate the students in our care.


Curriculum Intent:


  • Our school motto is one pupil, one plan therefore we aim to know our students - their strengths, interests and needs – and use this knowledge to make the best possible personalised curriculum offer to
  • To provide a balanced, accessible and aspirational range of learning experiences that allow students to achieve their next
  • To prioritise and develop our student’s emotional wellbeing including mental health ensuring all students feel a sense of
  • To ensure that students receive support and challenge in improving their literacy and numeracy
  • To provide our students with the most up to date information, advice and guidance in all areas of school including safeguarding and


The aim of the Dorchester Learning Centre is for students to be entitled to a broad and relevant curriculum which meets their needs, enables them to make good progress, links to clear outcomes and puts them on track to gain the skills and qualifications which will support them in their future life. This could be re-integration into mainstream education, or more commonly, into further education, employment or apprenticeships. We aim to allow the students to achieve the best possible outcomes academically and we acknowledge the hugely important role we play in developing the whole student. In response to COVID-19 DLC has ensured that students’ individual needs are met through a recovery curriculum.


Within the primary unit, pupils’ learning is based on the Primary National Curriculum adapted for the individual needs and levels of the children. This includes Literacy, Maths, Science, the Humanities, PE, Art, Music and PSHE. All learning is deeply personalised to ensure children are fully immersed and engaged. All pupils receive teaching from specialist /ELSA practitioners and children also have access to a varied outdoor and adventurous activities programme. All children follow a systematic, synthetic phonics programme. Please see the primary curriculum plan for more details.

Our curriculum is divided into two distinct areas; personal development and traditional academic subjects in KS3/4.


    Personal Development     Academic
  • RSE & PSHE
  • Employability
  • Social Thinking
  • Promoting Equality and Diversity
  • Emotional Intelligence (Character)
  • Citizenship
  • Traditional British Values
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • ICT & Computing
  • Art
  • Citizenship
  • Humanities
  • RS
  • PE
  • Food/Catering

Personal Development


Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development is the over-arching umbrella that encompasses personal development across the whole curriculum.


DLC defines SMSC as follows:


    Spiritual development       Moral development
  • ability to be reflective about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise) and perspective on life
  • knowledge of, and respect for, different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  • sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  • willingness to reflect on their experiences
  • ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  • interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues


    Social development       Cultural development
  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  • willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain
  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others
  • understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures in the school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  • ability to recognise, and value, the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping ourhistory and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept and respect diversity. This is shown by their respect and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities


At DLC SMSC is delivered through the Personal Development curriculum.


Personal Development aims to allow pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepared for life and work. Delivery will have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We aim to help students gain the skills knowledge and understanding they need to lead, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens.


Teaching will be broken into distinct curriculum areas:


    RSE & PSHE


    Social Thinking

    Promoting Equality and Diversity

    Emotional Intelligence (Character)


    Traditional British Values


1.  RSE & PSHE


The intent of our RSE and PSHE curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more. As a result of this they will become healthy, independent and responsible members of a society who understand how they are developing personally and socially, and give them confidence to tackle many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up.

We provide our children with opportunities for them to learn about rights and responsibilities and appreciate what it means to be a member of a diverse society. We promote tolerance and respect for all faiths and will our students will have the opportunity to research all religions. Our children are encouraged to develop their sense of self-worth by playing a positive role in contributing to school life and the wider community.


2.  Employability


The Prince's Trust ‘Personal Development and Employability Skills Qualification’ at DLC seeks to Provide the skills to enable learners to seek out information that they require for the next steps in their employability development. This could be either their short term goals, their long term wishes or, ideally, both.

Many young people can be overwhelmed by choosing the correct path for themselves and often lack an end goal to focus upon. Learners at DLC are no different and it is our aim to provide them with the necessary skills and information to make informed choices about their futures. Whether they make a long term career choice or not, it is important that they are aware of the huge breadth of options that are open to them and given the assistance and skills needed to make this possible.

It is our responsibility to inspire our young people to aspire to be the best version of themselves that they can be and to aim high, especially when it comes to a career. It is our responsibility to ensure they are aware of where their chosen path can take them.

With the necessary guidance our young people will have a clearer idea of the career paths that they can choose and the options that are available for them to achieve them.


3.  Social Thinking


In Social Thinking we like to talk! Even more importantly, it is a safe space where you are listened to and we learn how to listen to other people. It is a place to help us recognise our emotions and social-emotional wellbeing. We explore and develop how to self-regulate our emotions and actions through support and guided discussion of events that are happening in our lives. It is a space where we are supported to consider different perspectives so that the actions of other people begin to feel less intimidating and help us to see why choices have been made. Our emotions can often feel overwhelming, that we don’t have a way to cope with them or a way to bring them to a manageable level; in Social Thinking we explore strategies to cope with emotions and ways to de-escalate ourselves so that we can think more clearly again. The skills we learn for ourselves then help us to be more confident in social problem solving, both while we are in school and out in the wider world.


4.  Promoting Equality and Diversity


At DLC we believe in equality. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. That’s why we strive to prevent discrimination and protect our staff and students from being discriminated against. We appreciate difference through inclusiveness. It gives us a deeper understanding of the

World and the needs of the people we’re working with. By including everyone our organisation is a better place and we can provide better education for our students. Equality and diversity are fundamental to our core beliefs and values. That’s why we welcome people from all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, socio-economic classes, religions, disabilities and ages in everything we do. How do we do this?


  • By continually working to combat the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness
  • By making sure our curriculum reaches out to everyone and include everyone
  • By encouraging activities across our curriculum that enhance equality and promote diversity
  • By making sure we are up to date and have the knowledge and skills to really understand what diversity means in our current society
  • By being open and thoughtful when we talk to others and encouraging everyone to deal with complex issues with courage, skill, and grace. Characteristics such as racial and cultural backgrounds, ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities and religious beliefs open up alternative ways of perceiving, thinking and Valuing difference empowers students to improve the quality of their own lives and to positively contribute towards addressing misconceptions in society. We encourage staff to look for opportunities in the curriculum to tackle these issues and provide a voice for our students.


5.  Emotional Intelligence (Character)


Thrive is a specific way of working with all children that helps to develop their social and emotional well-being, enabling them to engage with life and learning. It supports them in becoming more self- assured, capable and adaptable. It can also address any troubled, or troubling, behaviours providing a firm foundation for academic attainment.

Positive relationships are at the heart of Thrive. We use these relationships, together with play and creative activities, to give children key experiences at each different stage of their development. Repetition of these activities supports their development, helping them to:


  • Feel good about themselves and know that they matter
  • Increase their sense of security and trust
  • Increase their emotional well-being
  • Improve their capacity to be creative and curious
  • Increase their self-esteem and confidence to learn
  • Learn to recognise and regulate their feelings
  • Learn to think before behaving in a certain way


The main aim is to form a positive relationship with each student. This will enable them to feel relaxed and safe in a friendly environment. Activities vary depending on the individual student and their interests.


6.  Citizenship


A high-quality citizenship education will help pupils understand how they can play a full part as a citizen in British Society through:


  • Understanding yourself - To develop confidence and responsibility
  • Keeping healthy - To understand how to develop a healthy, safer lifestyle, to think about the alternatives when making decisions about personal health, and the consequence of those decisions
  • Developing relationships - To develop the ability to handle close relationships and to emphasize the importance of showing respect and acting responsibly in your dealings with other people.


7.  Traditional British Values


At DLC we believe in equality. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. That is why we strive to prevent discrimination and protect our staff and students from being discriminated against. We appreciate difference through inclusiveness. There is a keen focus on British Values throughout the curriculum and within PSHE lessons. Students are given numerous opportunities to develop their self-confidence, distinguish right from wrong, give and accept respect and the importance of democracy.


Academic Subjects


1.  English


We want students to develop a life long love of reading and an ability to use language to be successful in all they do. There is an ongoing focus on developing student’s spoken language skills through our Oracy and our relentless focus on enabling all our student to be effective and articulate speakers and listeners who know when to lead and when to participate. Literature provides a backbone for learning and we try elevate the expectations and knowledge of our students.


2.  Maths


We want students to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time. Mathematics is an essential skill in life and is at the heart of every day decision making. It is the aim of DLC to support every student to achieve their potential and develop a deep understanding of Mathematics. The department offers a supportive, nurturing environment focused on developing a culture of success. We strive to ensure that every student achieves their potential and develops a life-long love of learning.


3.  Science


"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Albert Einstein


  • We encourage our students to develop into individual and critical thinkers with good practical and theoretical skills, thrilled to face problems and enjoy finding appropriate solutions.
  • We inspire our students via a variety of learning activities, reassure to take risks and time to think, prompt them to use their own words and/or visual explanations and establish a trusting communication platform through critical but assertive and constructive marking.


4.  ICT & Computing


The aim of the ICT and computing curriculum is to provide children with an exciting and rigorous curriculum that addresses the challenges and opportunities offered by the technologically rich world in which we live. Pupils will gain secure knowledge and skills which will encourage them to use ICT and computing in everyday life to solve problems and allow them to flourish in the future.


5.  Art


Art enables young people to develop their confidence and creative imagination, allowing them to communicate what they see, feel and think through a range of methods, media and materials. We nurture each individual’s interests and strengths, whilst also giving therapeutic opportunities to be expressive. During lessons students are given regular opportunities to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Skills and techniques including vocabulary are taught progressively to ensure that all children are able to learn and reflect in order to develop.

Student’s interests are captured through themed learning, finding out about artists past and present. We make links in a cross curricular way, giving children motivation and meaning for their learning.


6.  Citizenship


A high-quality citizenship education will help pupils understand how they can play a full part as a citizen in British Society through:


  • Understanding yourself - To develop confidence and responsibility 
  • Keeping healthy - To understand how to develop a healthy, safer lifestyle, to think about the alternatives when making decisions about personal health, and the consequence of those decisions 
  • Developing relationships - To develop the ability to handle close relationships and to emphasize the importance of showing respect and acting responsibly in your dealings with other people.


7.  Humanities


Humanities helps us to understand our place in the world by looking at key events through history and introducing geography on a global, local and national scale. We learn about how our world has been shaped by the choices and actions of people in Britain through the ages and in recent history. This helps us to build opinions of our world as it now by understanding how things have changed. We can think about how the world may have been different if key events such as the World Wars had not happened and how our knowledge of the past can help us predict and prepare for the future. When we look at geography, we consider the physical (or natural) states of the world and the human influences that have formed the world around us. We research and reflect on topics such as climate and weather, natural disasters and climate change to build our understanding of our world.


8.  RS


The main objective of Religious Studies is to provide varied and enriching lessons that effectively prepare our students for life in a culturally diverse modern world. We aim to promote an awareness of the usefulness of Religious Studies to everyday living, to encourage enthusiasm for interest in the study of other people’s beliefs and to promote mutual respect, tolerance and understanding across different cultures and communities. 

Britain is now a truly diverse society; finding out about the beliefs and lifestyles of all people makes us think about what we believe and reflect on our own choices. This helps us to develop our own ideas and opinions, and ultimately shapes who we are. Learning to express our own beliefs and to listen to the views of others is an important life skill and this is something that Religious Studies staff have a passion for.


9.  PE


To provide opportunities for students to experience, enjoy and excel in high quality PE incorporating a diverse range of motivational activities which through support can develop life-long healthy citizens who have a love of exercise.


10.  Food/Catering


“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”


Food is a vital part of our daily lives and is essential for life. As our students become adults and have busy lives, it is easy to choose food which has been ready prepared. However, it is more nutritious and often cheaper to cook simple, delicious food. 

Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of nutrition, healthy eating, food preparation, hygiene, cooking techniques, and sensory characteristics.



To download the Recovery Curriculum please 



To download the Primary Curriculum please 



To download the Year 7 and 8 Curriculum 2020/21 please 



To download the Year 9 Curriculum 2020/21 please 



To download the Year 10 Curriculum 2020/21 please 



To download the Year 11 Curriculum 2020/21 please