Special schools: curriculum requirements

Learn about the curriculum requirements for different types of special schools. Find out whether special schools must follow age-related expectations and if there is a set amount of time they should allocate to curriculum subjects.

Last reviewed on 24 February 2022
School types: Special · School phases: All
Ref: 10379
  1. Requirements for maintained schools
  2. Requirements for non-maintained schools
  3. Allocating time to curriculum subjects
  4. Examples from schools

Requirements for maintained schools

Community and foundation special schools must teach all National Curriculum subjects to pupils.

However, you can deviate from the age-related expectations of each Key Stage where you believe they are inappropriate for individual pupils. A representative from the DfE told us this. 

Disapplying the National Curriculum

If a pupil can’t access knowledge, skills and understanding from their current or previous Key Stages, they can be disapplied from the National Curriculum.

Set out any modifications to the curriculum in the pupil’s statement of special educational need.

The statement must include details of: 

  • The aspects of the National Curriculum that will be disapplied
  • The provision that will replace the disapplied aspects
  • How a balanced and broadly-based curriculum will be maintained for the pupil

This is set out on page 11 of the DfE’s guidance on disapplying the National Curriculum. To find out more disapplying the curriculum check out this article from The Key.