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Golden opportunity

I am doing a study on transfer from key stage 2 to 3. I've heard about something called the "golden curriculum" being piloted in secondary schools to ease the transition. Can you provide further information?

Langleywood school in Slough has its "gold" curriculum; Ashford high school in Luton has a "golden" curriculum. They are so named for entirely different reasons, but both are unofficial terms used to describe the provision made for the teaching of pupils identified at key stage 2 as being likely to have difficulty in accessing the secondary curriculum, or to have problems in transferring from the relative security of the primary school to the more turbulent environment of the key stage 3 classroom. It's applied across the age range in secondary schools, but is most commonly found in Year 7.

The distinguishing features are:

* pupils work in small groups, typically of 12 to 15;

* they are taught by far fewer staff than mainstream pupils, sometimes by only one teacher;

* they spend most of their time in their own dedicated room, which is also a safe haven for them outside lesson time;

* their movement to different classrooms is kept to a minimum;

* they may join mainstream classes for subjects such as design and technology and PE;

* there is generous classroom support from learning support assistants;

* there's often a focus on delivering literacy skills in a variety of subject contexts;

* many of the teaching approaches are based on primary school methods;

* it's inclusive, and aimed at pupils who, for whatever reason, are vulnerable to disaffection or underachievement;

* once pupils have mastered the skills they need to cope with the mainstream, they will increasingly transfer to regular classes. Programmes are flexible.

Many special educational needs departments will be making similar provision, though under their own different label.

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