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Last reviewed on 2 January 2018
Ref: 10379
School types: Special · School phases: All

As a special school, can we offer a reduced curriculum? We look at which types of special schools must teach all National Curriculum subjects. We look at whether special schools must follow age-related expectations and if there is a set amount of time they should allocate to curriculum subjects.

Curriculum requirements

Community and foundation special schools

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

However, a representative from the Department for Education (DfE) explained that a pupil with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health, and care (EHC) plan can be disapplied from the National Curriculum.

Before considering this option, the school should explore whether or not it is possible for the pupil to access knowledge, skills and understanding from earlier Key Stages (KS). If this is possible, disapplication is not necessary.

Contact DfE, GOV.UK – DfE

Academy special schools

Academies, including academy special schools, have different curriculum requirements from maintained schools.

Another article from The Key explains the curriculum freedoms in academies. Academies must teach a "broad and balanced" curriculum, which must include English, maths, science and religious education (RE).

Non-maintained special schools have to follow the National Curriculum programmes of

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