The best possible outcomes for every learner, whatever their starting point 

Welcome to Highfield Ely. The whole-school vision above is the touchstone for every decision we make, and our curriculum is carefully designed to lead towards it.

Our Values

Our core values as a school community are:

Equity - fairness in all actions, decisions and interactions

Respect - to each other, ourselves and the wider world

Perseverance - in learning and in life

Kindness and Compassion - to everyone we encounter

These values can be seen consistently across the school and are demonstrated by staff and students alike. 

We operate a single curriculum with three linked Pathways; Green, Yellow and Blue. Students access learning in whichever Pathway is most appropriate for them and they may move between Pathways during their time at Highfield. See our curriculum page to learn more about how each subject looks within each Pathway. Our system is a result of our experience that we can ensure accelerated progress, better learning outcomes and excellent peer relationships when we group learners with others who are working at a similar level and learning in a similar way. At the same time, all students spend time with their peers from different Pathways several times every day. 

Mark Lowery, author of many popular childrens' books had this to say about Highfield Ely after he visited us for a literacy event.

"I just wanted to say how blown away I was by everything I saw when I came to visit you last week. I've worked in education for a long time and visited hundreds of schools, but there was something unique about Highfield. The students were fantastic and the staff were clearly dedicated and talented. On top of this, there was a buzz and a warmth about the place that made it feel very welcoming and special. If my experiences have taught me two things, it's that these things don't happen by accident, and that people are a lot more keen to tell you what you're doing wrong than what you're doing right. So I just wanted to say thank you for welcoming me to your school, and well done to everyone for creating such a wonderful learning environment."

We deliver challenging yet engaging lessons and schemes of work which foster a genuine love of learning. Some of our students may have previously  had negative experiences with learning and this is a barrier we work hard to remove. 

Independence is a major focus for all of our students – what this means and looks like will vary greatly from class to class and even from individual to individual. Below are some of the areas we consider as essential for independence: 

  • Communication – we develop communication skills from the very earliest stages in our Blue Pathway to using email at work for our older Yellow Pathway students 

  • Cognitive development - phonics, reading, English, maths (and more) will all look very different from Pathway to Pathway but learning a broad range of topics is key to greater independence

  • Behaviour - learning to demonstrate consistently safe behaviour is a challenge for some of our pupils and a potentially harmful barrier during later life. This is a high-priority issue and we have a high level of expertise within our staff team 

  • Physical needs - from development of fine and gross motor skills to providing specific physical interventions that improve the outcomes of life-limiting conditions 

  • Preparedness for the next steps – whatever they may be. For some learners this will be further education or work and for others it may be a social enterprise placement. We aim to bridge any gaps and smoothen transition

In addition to independence, we also focus on opportunities that deliver cultural capital. We recognise that many of our students miss out on aspects of life and education that many of their peers without SEND experience and enjoy. We work to provide experiences and learning to close these gaps. 

An additional and important consideration in curriculum planning is EHCP Outcomes. Our curriculum has to allow for these to be achieved as they play a significant part in the journey towards independence for every one of our learners. 

Student/Parent/Carer Voice 

Parents’/Carers’ and students’ feedback is taken into account throughout the year in annual reviews, parents’ and carers’ evenings, by email, during lessons – in a very wide range of ways. We listen, take note and reflect on suggestions and comments. Where we believe a student or family member has highlighted a way we can improve our curriculum, we listen and make changes. 

Knowledge/Skills and Non-negotiables 

Our curriculum targets contain a mixture of knowledge and skills, arrived at through professional judgement and a constant review of the needs of the cohort in front of us. Over-learning and repetition are a necessity for many of our young people because of their additional needs. This applies to all Pathways although it will look different in each. We recognise that too much repetition could stifle the love of learning we aspire to build, so we make professional judgements as to when it is time to move on from a topic. We also use this judgement to decide what areas of learning are “non-negotiables"; those which will be revisited again and again because they are key to learners getting the best possible outcomes, and which are pieces of content that we are happy for learners to work through without an expectation of memorisation or generalisation. 

We hope that you find our website to be useful, informative and interesting. If you would like a paper copy of any of the information contained on our school’s website or would like to arrange a visit, please don't hesitate to contact us.

If you have any questions about the school that you cannot find the answer to here, please contact Adam Daw, Head of School, on




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