Willowbridge School

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Our Curriculum

Art and Design

At Willowbridge School, we aim to deliver a balanced and broadly based programme to all pupils in Key Stages 1 – 4.


  • To provide enjoyment.
  • To give pupils the opportunity to express themselves creatively using a variety of materials.
  • To encourage pupils to be observant and curious about the visual world.
  • To develop social and personal skills (interaction; hand/eye co-ordination; gross and fine motor skills)
  • To encourage pupils to appreciate and value their own work and the work of others.
  • To make pupils aware of the work of famous artists, designers and craft workers.


  1. The pupils will have opportunities to develop as individuals:
    1. Express themselves through Art and Design
    2. Work with others to produce a creative response
    3. Investigate and respond to works of art
  2. They will have opportunities to develop as contributors to society
    1. Explore the diversity of various cultures
    2. Investigate the use of visual language eg. advertising
  3. They will have opportunities to develop as contributors to the Economy and Environment
    1. Develop awareness of employment opportunities within the creative industries
    2. Explore the work of artists
    3. Explore ways of reusing waste materials in a creative context

If the need arises, pupils can complete GCSE ART & Design in another local mainstream school, through the Fermanagh Learning Community.

Art & Design is infused in all areas of the curriculum and a great importance is placed on display of the pupils’ work.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Here at Willowbridge School, pupils under the ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders) umbrella have access to a relevant curriculum focusing on functional numeracy, functional literacy and life skills. Both communication and independence are promoted at all times. We aim to build upon the pupil’s strengths and to learn about and address the areas in which the pupil is facing difficulty, through providing appropriate programmes tailored to suit individual needs.

Individual programmes may include elements of approaches such as TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children), PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), Intensive Interaction and Sensory Integration, all of which are delivered by highly trained staff.

Our goal is to work with parents and other relevant professionals to provide the highest possible standard of education for all our pupils.

Child Protection

We in Willowbridge School have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, where each child is valued for his or her unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. All staff, teaching and non-teaching should be alert to the signs of possible abuse and should know the procedures to be followed. The Child Protection Policy sets out guidance on the action, which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected and outlines referral procedures within our school.

The general principles, which underpin our work, are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are enshrined in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance “Pastoral Care in Schools- Child Protection”(DENI Circular 99/10) and the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures(2005).

The following principles form the basis of our Child Protection Policy.

It is a child’s right to feel safe at all times, to be heard, listened to and taken seriously.

We have a pastoral responsibility towards the children in our care and should take all reasonable steps to ensure their welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved.

In any incident the child’s welfare must be paramount, this overrides all other considerations.

A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families; but where there is conflict the child’s interest must always come first.

Environment and Society

History and Geography are the subjects taught under the heading of Environment and Society within Key Stage 3 (years 8, 9 and 10).

Through providing the pupils with the experience, skills and knowledge necessary for daily living, our aim is to develop an awareness and understanding of the society, culture and environment in which we live; in both a local and wider context.

Resources used in the delivery of the Environment and Society Curriculum are carefully selected to match the needs of each individual. Pupils are encouraged to work at their own pace through a variety of topics which are both interesting and relevant.

Active and participating learning methods are encouraged at all times. Where appropriate, themes covered will link with other subjects being taught in order to create a more holistic approach to learning.

Extended Schools

At Willowbridge School, our Extended Schools Programme provides a range of activities, services and support, beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of our children, their families, carers and their local community. We engage with other schools in the area and work in close partnership with the Enniskillen branch of 'Action for Children.'

The activities and services we currently provide include:

  • Youth Club
  • Friendship Group
  • Art Club
  • Breakfast Club
  • Sensory Library
  • Climbing at Gortatole
  • Willowbridge School Band
  • Activity Based Learning Club
  • Parent training and social group
  • Action For Children support workers
  • Drama
  • Dance

Information & Communication Technology

In Willowbridge School we aim to offer a broad and balanced programme to all pupils in Key Stages 1-4.

ICT aims to:

  • Provide enjoyment
  • Find and access materials using a digital source.
  • Express ideas by creating pictures or composing text.
  • Know that digital methods can be used to communicate.

ICT is delivered as a discreet subject but it is integrated into every subject area. For all our pupils the use of ICT is designed around their needs using the Sensory room, IPads and computers.

In Key Stage 4 pupils have the opportunity to gain recognition for their ICT skills through completing accredited Asdan or Occupational Studies courses.

Learning For Life & Work

Learning for Life and Work (LLW) comprises the 4 subjects of Citizenship, Employability, Personal Development and Home Economics. LLW helps develop the skills and capabilities necessary for life and work. LLW contributes directly to developing the young person as:

  • An individual
  • A contributor to society and
  • A contributor to the economy

The LLW curriculum aims to:

  • Help pupils develop as individuals and members of society
  • Deliver the skills and capabilities needed for adult working life
  • Help pupils cope with the changing global economy
  • Help pupils learn how to make informed choices

LLW will be delivered as a discreet subject and also integrated into all Areas of Learning.  (Every Thursday morning 9.15am - 10.40am).

For some of our pupils, they will only dip into and touch on various issues that are relevant and meaningful to them. Wherever possible, a topic based approach will be used in delivering LLW. Opportunities will be provided for pupils to explore issues actively and take part in critical discussions that are relevant to their lives. Links will be maintained with external agencies and other schools.


In Willowbridge School we recognise the diversity in pupils’ experiences, skills and understanding of language. We, therefore aim to support and develop the language and literacy skills of all our pupils in a manner which is both appropriate and relevant to the needs of the individual child in a variety of meaningful contexts in all curricular areas.

We adopt a multi disciplinary approach to the promotion of language and literacy skills of our pupils by collaborating with Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists to meet the specific and specialised needs of some of our pupils.

Children in the Foundation Stage learn through a curriculum which is play based, interactive and fun. Children are provided with many opportunities to develop their language skills through listening to and responding to a wide range of stories, songs and poems.

In Key Stages 1 and 2 we build upon these experiences and provide further opportunities to develop reading, writing and talking and listening skills. We strive to motivate pupils’ language development through providing interesting and enjoyable reading and writing tasks with opportunities for oral work, role play activities and drama.

In Key Stage 3 pupils’ literacy work is based on topics of interest. Pupils enjoy a range of fiction, non fiction, ICT and media texts to encourage language development across the curriculum.

In Key Stage 4 pupils have the opportunity to gain recognition for their literacy skills through completing accredited Asdan and Occupational Studies courses or gaining an Entry Level English qualification.

Post 16 pupils are encouraged to use their acquired literacy skills to prepare for life after school.


Mathematics & Numeracy

In Willowbridge School, Mathematics and Numeracy are taught using thematic approaches from Foundation Stage to Post 16.  All work is planned in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Curriculum and teachers receive regular training in the teaching of Mathematics and Numeracy if needed. It reflects real life situations, and mathematical strands reach across all curriculum areas.


The subject is taught to cater for all individual abilities, through specific lessons and, also, through theme bases areas of learning.  Progression is of vital importance from class to class, and all areas of learning are covered. This is usually linked to the children’s Individual Education Plan


Effective Mathematics and Numeracy development should promote a positive attitude to mathematical learning, with experiences which are creative, enriching, enjoyable and challenging.  We focus on developing skills, knowledge and mathematical concept to promote learning.


Depending on the needs of the child, a vast amount of learning takes place through play-based learning and, in more practical settings, where language will play an important part.  Upper key stage, Mathematics AND Numeracy are largely taught by subject area and strong links are used throughout the school of our community and local environment.


In Willowbridge there is a strong focus on teaching functional mathematics such as number, time and money, and mathematics through life skill skills, for example, sorting cutlery, setting the table, pairing socks, sorting laundry and sorting waste.


 At Willowbridge we offer Essential Skills Numeracy and Application of Number at Post-16. Essential Skills are the most important and useful skills we all need to succeed in education, work and everyday life. Essential Skills Numeracy Entry Levels 1-3 and Application of Number Levels 1-2 courses offer a nationally recognised qualification in Mathematics. The courses are designed to help all students, whatever their ability, to consolidate and brush-up on the essential skills required for progress in Mathematics.

Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulties Classes

At Willowbridge school we have three dedicated rooms for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. These rooms are called Multi-Sensory Nursery, Multi-Sensory Junior and Multi-Sensory Senior. We provide individualised teaching and learning programmes in a fun, happy and stimulating environment. Pupils have opportunities for both age and developmentally appropriate activities through a sensory based curriculum.  

The Multi-Sensory classrooms adopt a topic approach. Throughout these topics we focus on developing pupils’ communication skills, cognitive abilities and social skills.  

Therapies form an important part of the curriculum for most pupils with P.M.L.D and therefore are included during the school day. We are experienced in supporting pupils with complex medical needs.  

Religious Education

In the Primary Department Religious Education is taught through a thematic approach e.g. Creation, Harvest, Christmas and Easter. Pupils are prepared in school for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Primary and Secondary assemblies on Thursday and Friday mornings have a religious theme and local clergy are invited to lead assemblies on various dates throughout the school year.

In the Secondary Department the Religious Education programme is based on the Core Syllabus, the different strands of the programme are:

  • The Revelation of God
  • The Christian Church
  • Morality

Pupils have an opportunity to visit the local churches to gain first hand experience of different religious beliefs and in Willowbridge School itself we strive to promote an ethos of tolerance and respect for all.

Science & Technology

Science and Technology programmes within the school follow the National Curriculum as appropriate to the individual needs of our students. Some pupils are taught the subjects though elements of topic based teaching and this is a useful tool to put the learning into a relevant and stimulating context.

As pupil’s progress into the secondary school Science and Technology may be taught as individual subjects, with the pupils having access to science labs, 2 greenhouses and a fully equipped Technology workshop with the latest computer controlled lazer machines. Students have the opportunity to work towards qualifications in “City and Guilds Horticulture” and “Occupational Studies Joinery” in the post 14 courses.

We put a particular emphasis on students learning how to access modern technologies that will enhance their lives and help them integrate into society, communicate with others, access information, entertain themselves and be better equipped for the technological age we live in. We always encourage students to find new ways to make a contribution to their families and one area of focus is through growing plants and food. Pupils are taught the importance of this and how to look after themselves and the environment so that they grow to become more independent and healthy.

All students are made aware of the importance of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) skills in improving their chances of gaining employment and this is highlighted throughout the school.



Therapy in Willowbridge comes in three forms – occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. We are very lucky to have these therapies on site along with therapy assistants. We also have our own hydrotherapy pool which is used by the physiotherapist and pupils. It is very important to us that the therapists collaborate with the education team to address student needs, and, any programmes being used in therapy are also implemented in the classroom by the class team.

Occupational therapy is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of pupils. Occupational therapy is a pupil-centered practice in which the pupil has an integral part in the therapeutic process. The occupational therapy process includes an individualised evaluation during which the pupil, parents, staff team and occupational therapist determine goals; a customised intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach his/her goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the pupil in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities. In Willowbridge the occupational therapist support academic and non-academic outcomes, including social skills, math, reading and writing, behaviour management, participation in various activities, self-help skills, prevocational/vocational participation, and more.

The role of a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) is to assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability.

SLTs and assistants in Willowbridge assist the pupils who have the following types of problems:

  • difficulty producing and using speech
  • difficulty understanding language
  • difficulty using language
  • difficulty with feeding, chewing or swallowing
  • a stammer
  • a voice problem

The physiotherapist is concerned with the gross motor skills and mobility of a child.  In cases where there has been an obvious physical difficulty the child will have been receiving support well before starting school.

She may also be involved post-operatively where a child has a temporary physical difficulty, e.g. after an accident.

In Willowbridge the physiotherapist will advise the teacher and classroom assistant on the kinds of activities which will be helpful, e.g. exercise routines and games which could be done during P.E. lessons.

Post 16

There are four classes at Post 16

 Post 16 pupils take part in the Enrichment Programme and Sport and Leisure options as detailed for KS4. A Post 16 residential is held in May or June every year and recent trips have included visits to London, Paris, Carlingford and Chester.





Curriculum Subjects


16S, 16M


Functional Literacy, Functional Numeracy, ICT.

OCN Independent Living Units, Lifeskills

PE, Learning for Life and Work, Careers.


16G, 16C


Essential Skills: Literacy and Numeracy, ICT (extended Occupational Studies)

OCN Independent Living Units

CCEA Entry Level PE, Learning for Life and Work and Careers.


Post 16 Rotation Group provides:

·        Home Economics

·        ICT

·        Music

·        Young Enterprise

·        Art

·        Horticulture

The Work Experience Programme takes place on a Tuesday for the majority of pupils at Post 16.  Parents work with school to organise work experience and a number of students have secured permanent employment in their work experience placements.

The Wooden Spoon Café is open on Friday mornings and is run by 16M. This provides excellent in school work experience opportunities in customer service, food preparation, cash handling and health and safety in the workplace


Pupils are supported to transition into the school through a range of strategies adapted to suit their specific individual needs. This could consist of:

  • a programme of visits
  • a phased introduction
  • introduction through a single subject or courses
  • an introduction through the mother and toddler group
  • accessing therapy within the school
  • Our aim is to help the school building and staff to become a more familiar part of everyday life and provide the pupil and parents with a seamless and happy transition into Willowbridge.

Transition out of the school is a very gradual process, starting in the academic year in which the child is 14 year olds. This is achieved with support from agencies such as Mencap and Cedar as well as working closely with working closely with:

  • medical professionals
  • the "Transition Officers" from the "Western Education Library Board"
  • the "Western Health and Social Care Trust"
  • the "Careers Service"
  • school staff

We have a phased introduction to the college and employment through some of our school programmes which progressively increase the time pupils spend at the college and work experience every year so that they are helped to progress to college or employment with the minimum of stress if they are able. Some pupils will undergo a phased transition to Day Opportunities/ Day Care programmes if these are more appropriate.

As part of “The Fermanagh Learning Community” and we have a steady flow of pupils into the school from other mainstream schools to access our courses. Pupils at Willowbridge also have the opportunity access other suitable courses in mainstream schools and colleges. We pride ourselves on our individual programmes and will always encourage pupils to extend and enhance their learning and progression in any areas they have special skill or interest in, through suitable opportunities in the Area Learning Community.

Transition out of the school must be completed by the academic year in which the pupil is 19 although this can happen at the end of Year 12 for pupils who which to progress on to training or employment at this point.

There are a range of meetings arranged with the pupil, parents and all relevant professionals involved. These are usually followed by visits from parents and pupils to evaluate possible placements. Support is provided both within school and at home by Mencap or Cedar and the Transition Officers during this phase. There will be a “Final Leavers Meeting” to confirm the placements at the end of the school year. The monitoring arrangements will then be put in place, to ensure that the placement is working out during the initial phases of the next year and support will continue to be provided if required.