Inspiring, nurturing and empowering young people with a vision impairment.

Intervention & Foundation Learning

Male student with Braille Lego

Alternative Learning Pathway

At NCW, we have developed an alternative curriculum pathway for those students requiring extra support in the classrooms, intervention teaching or simply a quieter environment for learning to thrive. We offer a flexible alternative learning pathway and facility that enables individuals to receive the support they need in a particular area.

As in any school, some students attending NCW have an educational special need in addition to their visual impairment and need to learn some subjects at a different pace or via a different approach. Whilst vision impairment remains all NCW students’ main barrier to learning, some of our students need additional support in order to be able to flourish.

Based in our specially designed Malvern Rooms, students with mild to moderate learning difficulties are able to access supported learning as identified in their personalised programme, which enables them to make progress in every single area, including those that they find more difficult to master.


Priorities for all students at NCW remain the same – regardless of their learning pathway. These are:

  • Academic achievement for all students
  • Excellence in the field of education for the visually impaired
  • Inclusion for all
  • Independence
  • Safeguarding – keeping students safe
  • Celebration of success
  • Transition planning – preparation for life beyond NCW
  • Promoting diversity
  • Health and wellbeing
Lego in Maths

Personalised Programme

Every single student at NCW has a personalised learning programme that is tailored to his or her own individual levels and capabilities in each area of learning. Where, on that personalised programme, it is identified that a student will not make progress in a group setting following a subject at national curriculum level, they are able to access specialist teaching in the Malvern Rooms. This could be for one subject or more – their timetable will incorporate bespoke lessons in the Malvern Rooms to work in a one-to-one or group learning environment to enable them to make progress in each area of learning – at a pace and level that is appropriate to the individual.
The personalised nature of learning means that students who access lessons in the Malvern Rooms for some subjects are also able to access GCSE or A Level classes where appropriate – as well as accessing other curriculum subjects such as Art, Drama, Music and PE.

Intervention Foundation Learning

NCW teachers working with students in the Malvern Rooms are qualified and experienced in teaching students who have a vision impairment and in teaching subjects at primary level.

Some students will also have additional support from a Learning Support Assistant. As such, students are able to access learning in a medium appropriate to their vision impairment and at an appropriate level and pace to suit their needs. The Malvern Rooms offer a calm and focused atmosphere for learning, set slightly apart from the bustle of the main school, which aids concentration for some students.

The Malvern Rooms’ teachers are able to monitor and record progress for each student on the specially designed NCW educational tracking system, meaning that every student at NCW can be shown to make progress, whatever their level of learning.

Learning - Malvern Room

Skills For Independence

All students will receive, as part of their individual timetable, lessons to develop essential skills for independence. Braille, Independent Living Skills, Assistive Technology and Mobility skills are taught alongside academic and alternative curriculum routes both inside and outside the school day. Skills taught in the classroom by day are embedded in the residential setting after school and at weekends to ensure that students leaving NCW are well equipped for transition onto the next part of their journey and with skills to enable them to be independent and fulfilled adults.


It is essential that all students at NCW are, and feel, included. Any student accessing lessons in the Malvern Rooms will be part of a form group of mixed ability students, will still access other lessons with their Year Group such as Art, Drama, Music and PE plus other curriculum lessons where appropriate. All students socialise together at break times and eat together for lunch in the NCW dining room.

Residentially, all NCW students live together in Junior Houses or in the Sixth Form Hostel, and socialise and mix according to their friendship groups, not based on their educational levels. Every
student is part of the wider NCW community and is able to access all the facilities and activities on offer.

Miss Rule with her form group

Emotional and Social Development

Wellbeing is an absolute priority for every member of the NCW community and NCW’s SEN provision has been developed to ensure that those accessing lessons through an alternative curriculum are doing so in a way that will offer them the best chance of a happy school life. Every child needs to feel that they can succeed. Following inappropriate courses can be very damaging to emotional development and feelings of wellbeing of young people and this alternative provision ensures that all students receive the education that they deserve and are able to flourish. 

Extra Curricular Activities

All students at NCW have access to a diverse programme of extra-curricular activities, which will challenge, excite and entertain including Music, Sport, Action and Adventure, Travel, Clubs and Societies. Involvement in such activities is fundamental to social
development, building self-confidence, feelings of wellbeing, inclusion and self-value.

Learning - Student out on the farm

NCW Entry Criteria

Entry criteria to NCW is always assessed at an individual level, across teaching and residential areas. Every student is assessed over a number of days and nights to ensure that if NCW offers a place, we are able to meet that student’s needs; academically, socially and physically.

The following table offers a very basic guide to assessment criteria – each young person is different and will be assessed individually and it should be treated as a guide only.


Whole School

Access to Alternative SEN Curriculum

Visual Impairment

Vision Impairment is a critical component of their needs


Likely to be able to study at GCSE level at KS4

Likely to be able to study at Entry Level at KS4

May have mild to moderate learning difficulties - The general level of academic attainment of these learners will be lower than that of their peers. Cognitive ability and/or attainment levels may be at or below the second percentile. May have difficulty acquiring literacy and numeracy skills

Learning difficulties might include, but is not limited to; speech and language, cognition and learning, retention

Intellectual functioning is age appropriate. Student can reason, problem solve, plan, learn and learn from experiential learning

Intellectual functioning is impaired.
The student may have an IQ of 70 or less.

There may be deficits in reasoning, problem solving, abstract thinking, experiential learning


The student has no major deficits in adaptive functioning. This means that they are able to take care of themselves and look after their personal care. They can dress, feed and bathe themselves and keep themselves safe

They can learn to cook, clean and do their own laundry

They have the capacity to learn to cook, clean and do their own laundry, although may need some extra 1-1 support to complete these tasks

Social Skills

The student has developing social skills and is able to interact effectively with others. They have the ability to understand and comply with social rules, customs and standards of public behaviour

The student has developing social skills and is able to interact effectively with others. They have the ability to understand and comply with social rules, customs and standards of public behavior. They are interested in social interaction

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