Organisation of the School

Here you will find information about how Pioneer School is organised.

The school provides for boys and girls aged 3 to 19, with severe and complex learning difficulties. Class sizes at the school are small with a maximum of 10 pupils per class.

In addition to teaching staff, a team of learning support assistants is available to support pupils' throughout the school and every class has at least three support assistants but some have more than this, depending on the needs of the children in the class.

Support is also provided by the therapy, nursing and multi-sensory teams.


It is our belief that pupils who experience severe and complex learning difficulties, including those with the most profound learning difficulties (PMLD), should not be taught in fixed, mixed-age ‘special care’ classes or in permanently separate groupings. Therefore, in order to ensure effective learning and positive attitudes among staff, parents and classmates, all pupils are registered as members of a tutor group with their age peers and benefit from wide-ranging learning encounters shared with these peers. These shared learning experiences take place in environments which are suitably equipped and adapted and that have appropriate levels of support from staff with relevant expertise.

Although we believe in including all pupils in shared activities, pupils with more or less complex learning difficulties, may require some experience of specialist learning environments and interest-specific groupings in areas which are adapted, equipped or staffed in order to facilitate certain procedures or approaches. Consequently, at different times pupils may be taught in areas resourced, for example, with:

staff with specialist expertise;

specialist equipment – e.g. facilities for multi-sensory work or a range of communication technology;

facilities to allow pupils to be moved safely;

private areas for therapeutic interventions;

Pupils may use these specialist environments for substantial parts of the timetable or visit such environments briefly on an occasional basis as required. The plan is for pupils to move flexibly between various specialist environments and contexts for learning.

In addition many periods of the week are timetabled for pupils to be fully integrated with their age peers in shared activities, both on and off site.