Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)

Wilson Stuart PMLD department prides itself on delivering a developmental curriculum which is flexible and adaptive to suit the individual needs of the children. The curriculum is an informal approach to learning which is driven by the pupils IEPS throughout all subjects, ensuring that the pupils have focused learning opportunities in all areas of school life.

Driving the curriculum is communication and cognition (all pupils learning to think and learn). Curriculum areas support the context of the learning while being driven by basic skills and IEP’s. Currently, the curriculum is structured under four headings which are:


Offering our students an opportunity to be able to express themselves in their own unique way. Ensuring students’ needs are met to develop positive relationships with peers alike. Many techniques and strategies are used which are appropriate to the stage of communication the student is working at.


The physical curriculum ensures that we provide opportunities for our students to explore their world around them and gain different perspectives. To increase independence to whatever level that is. Working closely with the physiotherapy department to ensure individualised programmes are delivered which includes postural management, stretches and increased range of movement. Within the curriculum both fine and gross motor skills are focused on. Also enjoying therapy sessions such as Rebound Therapy, hydrotherapy and Sherborne body movement.


Throughout the curriculum we offer opportunities to develop and enhance early problem solving skills. Maximising the developments of students to recall, retain and build on prior learning. We encourage students to consolidate existing skills and develop new skills, broadening their use of technology.

Self help and Independence skills

Self Help and Independence allows pupils to develop the everyday skills that can be transferred between the home and school environment. Students are given a range of opportunities to practice routines which are individual to them.

Assessment within PMLD

Assessment of student’s progress is measured using Routes 4 Learning and the seven indicators of Engagement.

For pupils working at the very earliest levels of development including learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), the focus is on skills and capabilities rather than ‘working towards’ subject related targets which may not be priorities for the individuals concerned.

The pupils focus on early communication, social interaction and the cognitive and self-help skills that are crucial for all future learning.

This flexibility ensures for pupil-centred planning and assessment which puts the needs of the pupil first. Planning, teaching, learning and assessment is built around these needs. It also ensures a

holistic view of the pupil, focusing on how they learn and by acknowledging their different abilities and achievements.

We assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following 7 indicators of engagement:

Responsiveness: change in a pupil’s behaviour that demonstrates he or she is being attentive to a new stimulus or reacting in a meaningful way.

Curiosity: demonstrates how a pupil is building on an initial reaction to a new stimulus.

Discovery: the changing ways in which a pupil interacts with, or responds to, a new stimulus, sometimes accompanied by expressions such as enjoyment and excitement.

Anticipation: demonstrates whether a pupil can predict, expect or associate a particular stimulus with an event.

Persistence: the extent to which a pupil is sustaining attention towards a particular item or action and is therefore beginning to develop conceptual understanding.

Initiation: demonstrates the different ways, and extent to which, a pupil investigates an activity or stimulus in order to bring about a desired outcome.

Investigation: measures the extent to which a pupil is actively trying to find out more about an object or activity via prolonged, independent experimentation.

Routes For Learning show a range of learning “routes” that can be used to assess the learning of pupils with complex needs and provides an appropriate context for the development of these early skills

Click here to view our routes for learning routemap