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Closeburn School provides education and care for children with complex additional support needs: arising primarily from social, emotional and behavioural issues.  Their entitlement to a personalised education and care plan has been most recently reinforced by the Children and Young People’s Act 2014 which highlights the corporate responsibilities of their local authority and their agents: of which Closeburn School is one.

The curriculum at Closeburn aims to provide children with rich experiences which will meet their diverse needs and comply fully with the expectations of Curriculum for Excellence, aligned with the requirements of GIRFEC (now at the core of the Children and Young People’s Act).

Our curriculum model reflects the guidance in

Building the Curriculum 3 & Building the Curriculum 5.



.. The curriculum will reflect

partnership working to address inequalities in learning by ensuring a flexible and more personalised range of learning experiences and outcomes for all children – underpinned by a robust assessment process which anticipates challenge and high expectations of all pupils (BC3)

Models (will be) developed at local level to address local needs and circumstances (BC3)


Pupils will be supported and challenged to become;



To achieve the incremental progress defined in BC3, young people attending Closeburn are offered a range of experiences which provide them with personalised, group and whole class opportunities for new learning, consolidation and challenge. At the core is their wellbeing, literacy and numeracy and the collegiate commitment of all staff across the organisation to foster that learning. Young people have a clear voice in determining their learning journeys.

There is an emphasis on active learning, across a range of locations and differential approaches. While the teacher is the lead professional in terms of planning, in accordance with BC3:

“All involved should agree what the learning routes are for children and young people, recognising that not all…will follow the routes in the same way or in the same place.” BC3

In the context of Closeburn teaching support assistants play a critical role in agreeing and delivering the curriculum. Colleagues in Care are also vital to the delivery of the 24 curriculum, in relation to literacy, numeracy and wellbeing.

The experiences offered at Closeburn are tailored to the needs of the children and young people and reflect the principles of curriculum design in Curriculum for Excellence




Relevance is a key hallmark of the learning experiences offered at Closeburn.  Dis-engagement from learning – both formal and informal – is often a core issue for the young people who are placed with us by their residential authority. The initial objective of all staff is to explore with the child and young person the potential avenues to re-engage them both in the acquisition of knowledge and skills and in the development of their personal wellbeing.

CfE principles have a particular resonance in the world of residential education. Closeburn ensures it optimises the licence given to 


Collaborative working

The whole team work together to share their skills and experience to meet the complex additional support needs of the young people who attend Closeburn and ensure that they receive their entitlements under GIRFEC and CfE. All members of the Education Team contribute to the development and delivery of the curriculum as appropriate to their role and remit and have a shared responsibility for quality assurance and self-evaluation in support of the ongoing agenda for improvement.

All members of the team have access to professional learning as appropriate to their roles to optimise their contribution to the delivery of high quality education at Closeburn School. 



Teachers and the wider education team plan within the 4 contexts for learning: IDL, subject and curriculum areas, personal achievement and the ethos and life of the school.

An interdisciplinary learning approach (IDL) provides the overview to ensure that the relevant Es & Os are being addressed. The Head of Education monitors the scope carefully to ensure breadth, progression and coherence.

Teachers and the wider education team support the delivery of the curriculum through skilled differentiation: by expectation, by resources and by approaches.

The core elements of literacy, numeracy and wellbeing are integrated fully into every learning activity. They will also feature as discrete elements as appropriate in individual and group learning plans.

In the broader context of the 24 hour curriculum, all colleagues are alert to the learning opportunities and consequent pupil acquisition of skills and knowledge afforded in the residential setting and during recreational activities, particularly those reflected in the Learning in Care reference tool.



The curriculum reflects an integrated focus on literacy, numeracy and wellbeing which underpins all the learning activities. While they are essential to every child’s development, the specific detail of how they will be addressed is determined by the individual stage of development of each young person. This requires a flexible approach but one which is based on a clear rationale: assessment of need, clear baselines against which impact of teaching and learning is gauged, shared knowledge amongst all staff directly involved with the child and an agreed review schedule. 

A balance is sought constantly between devising a curriculum which allows pupils to interact regularly with their peers and setting highly specific targets where a child’s complex additional support needs require significant differentiated interventions.

The curriculum also recognises the worth of spontaneous learning opportunities prompted, for example, by an individual young person’s interests, their engagement with any particular activity, colleagues’ perspectives on the child’s progress. Not all learning experiences can be pre-programmed but they can be used as evidence of delivery of the curriculum.

An annual review of the impact of the curriculum against the stated objectives is led by the Head of Education, supported by the Principal Teacher, with contributions from teachers and the wider education team and colleagues in the care setting. The reviews focus on supporting not only children’s learning but on the professional development of all staff.



This reflects close liaison amongst all the relevant parties at Closeburn and visiting specialists.

The process covers:


In compliance with Building the Curriculum 5, Closeburn aims to ensure a comprehensive approach to assessment and moderation. All relevant staff are actively involved in contributing to a child’s assessment profile and in agreeing information to be shared at reporting stages. Teachers collate the information which informs not only the progress of individual children but the ongoing appropriateness of the curriculum. The input from Teaching Support Assistants, care staff and visiting specialists are essential to the process. This complies with the expectations identified in HGIOS4 as a feature of good practice.

A comprehensive assessment profile is determined through a range of means: formative assessment (observation, interaction), formal assessment activities, therapy reports, information from previous establishments and the residential authority. Pupil self-evaluation is also a key measure of progress and the suitability of the learning experiences which they have accessed.

The shared reflection on a young person’s progress against agreed baselines is recognised as core professional development activity for all staff in terms both of ensuring a consistency across the organisation and reinforcing the ethos of collaborative working.




The Closeburn learning campus encompasses the school building, the residences, the outdoor areas and the potential afforded by the location of the school to access a wide range of outdoor learning environments. Developing links with the local community and beyond also provide enhanced non-classroom based situations in which learning can be developed and evidenced.

In utilising these opportunities all colleagues ensure that they are relevant to the learning objectives being addressed.  Colleagues are aware of how during a particular activity with a stated anticipated outcome, children can exhibit other learning gains which can be valued as evidence of progress.


While the school operates to a timetable structure it also allows for flexibility in terms of providing learning experiences on a class and an individual pupil basis.

The nature of the complex additional support needs of the children and young people requires staff to be able to support learning through a variety of contexts and timeframes which are personalised to the individual.