Whole School Curriculum


At The Bridge Short Stay School, the whole school curriculum is designed to align with our mission ‘Offering a bridge from a challenging past to a brighter future’. With this in mind, the curriculum is planned with the intention of enabling students to transition successfully to their next destination – whether that is a return to mainstream schooling, placement elsewhere with an EHCP or moving into further education, employment or training at Post 16.

The curriculum is planned, both at whole school and subject levels, to recognise the individual journeys that our students have been on and continue to face. Students arrive at The Bridge at different stages in their education, from a variety of schools and throughout the academic year – each will therefore have had very different experiences of education so far. The one common factor is that most of our students will have experienced disruption to their education, through lack of attendance, suspensions and disengagement leading to gaps in their knowledge and skills. As each student faces different barriers to learning, our curriculum must be responsive to meet those individual needs. Within individual subjects, adaptive teaching allows teachers to work with students in order to address identified gaps in knowledge.

We look to offer all students a broad curriculum that will facilitate a transition back into mainstream school, if and when that is appropriate. At The Bridge we believe that permanent exclusion shouldn’t be a barrier to ambition and so we maintain an ambitious curriculum that enables academic challenge at a level appropriate to each individual student. We also recognise however that if a student is able to access a full, mainstream curriculum, they are ready to leave us and move on. Elements of our curriculum are therefore focussed on developing pro-social skills and learning behaviours that enable young people to access the academic curriculum.

A high proportion of our students are eligible for Pupil Premium funding, typically over 50% of families are part of a multi-agency plan of support at TAF, Child in Need or Child Protection and a significant number have experiences of early childhood trauma. Given these characteristics we know our students may have had less opportunities over time than some of their peers within mainstream schools. We have therefore embedded opportunities for all students to develop cultural capital as part of their curriculum offer, both within subjects and through structured learning outside the classroom time.


Following referral of a new student the curriculum planning process starts through an induction meeting with the student and family, giving an indication of individual interests, abilities and barriers to learning. Following this, students engage in an intensive period of induction on either a 1:1 or very small group basis to give an in depth understanding of the student. During induction students complete a variety of psychometric and academic assessments to give a baseline view of ability and identify gaps in learning. This process is also an important step for relationship building and gaining a holistic view of the student as a person, identifying strategies that will be effective to work with them. This information is captured within students one page profiles, which are shared with all staff to inform approaches to working with individuals.

Following induction, students are allocated to a group within distinct pathways:


KS3 SEN pathway, students who are likely to need Education, Health  and Care Needs assessment, particularly where Cognition & Learning or Communication & Interaction needs are a feature.


KS3 pathway for students with SEMH needs and experiences of childhood trauma.


KS3 pathway for students who are on a planned trajectory of returning to mainstream school.


KS4 academic pathway with significant focus on achieving a range of GCSEs (may incorporate return to mainstream planning in Y10).


KS4 pathway for students with SEMH needs and/or an intention to follow more vocational routes at Post 16.

Across all pathways students experience a broad curriculum, with delivery suited to the intended outcomes of that particular group. Depending on the intent of each pathway the timetable reflects a different balance of academic learning and social/behavioural support & development.

The curriculum is delivered by subject specialists, with extensive experience of working with students who have been excluded or have SEMH needs. Baseline and ongoing formative assessment across the curriculum allows for personalised and adaptive teaching that fills gaps in knowledge which have developed over time and pushes students to the next stage in their learning.

Beyond the standard curriculum for each pathway, students are supported to address individual needs through bespoke interventions to address academic concerns (e.g. literacy and numeracy interventions) or wider social and emotional issues (e.g. ELSA, drug counselling).

At Key Stage 4, students have access to a range of GCSEs including:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics on a carousel or dual award)
  • PE
  • Citizenship
  • Art and Design

Where students have a particular interest, ability or have completed an extended period of another subject at GCSE we seek to continue to support that wherever possible, in recent years this has enabled students to access GCSEs in a wider range of subjects including History and Food & Nutrition.


The impact of our curriculum is enabling students to transition successfully to their next destination – whether that is a return to mainstream schooling, placement elsewhere with an EHCP or moving into further education, employment or training at Post 16.  One impact measure of our curriculum is to give students a breadth of qualifications including GCSE's, Functional Skills and Unit Awards in order to demonstrate the knowledge students have developed in the subjects they have studied.

An impact of our curriculum is that we look to improve the following within our students: 

• Self- Confidence.
• Resilience.
• Aspiration.
• Community Mindfulness.
• Positivity

We want all Bridge citizens to aspire to be happy, healthy, imaginative and resilient members of society who:
• Embrace diversity and difference.
• Face challenges and aspire to work hard and succeed.
• Have self-confidence which allows them to show compassion for others.
• Have a sense of justice, pride and respect towards themselves and their community.
• Leave school with the skills and qualities to be valuable members of the adult community.

The Bridge Short Stay School. Appleton Drive, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 7EP

Tel: 0151 245 3877 | Email: