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Curriculum Overview


Curriculum at Venturers’ Academy


The Academy Improvement Plan for Venturers’ Academy sets out the vision for the Academy which is that every student will achieve more than they ever thought possible through high quality provision, teaching and learning.  This will not only raise attainment but also aspirations for our students with ASC and their parents/carers and ensure that all students leave us as:

  • Successful learners with good qualifications and motivated to enhance their knowledge and skills to reach their full potential.
  • Self-confident individuals who can make informed decisions and communicate them based on their values and beliefs.
  • Responsible citizens who respect others and take part responsibly in political, economic, social and cultural life.
  • Effective contributors with a positive attitude who can lead or work in a team, meeting the challenges of the 21st Century.


VA is totally committed to ensuring every student makes progress regardless of their context or starting point.  We will set high expectations which inspire, motivate, support and challenge students. We believe students should enjoy and be enthusiastic about the curriculum and their learning and should be engaged motivated and involved in all lessons. This can be driven through a personalised curriculum and range of teaching strategies and will result in a purposeful atmosphere where children are on task and learning.

In addition, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) aspects of the curriculum are key for each of our students’ development, and the SMSC Policy outlines the provision and cross curricular elements that will impact on students’ learning and development.  The Sex and relationship Policy and E safety policy should also be read conjunction with this policy. 


At the heart of the curriculum is the view that any child with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) has the right and ability to develop into adults capable of taking an integral part in a wider society. The resulting ambitious curriculum will see Venturers’ Academy (VA) being a centre of excellence always striving for outstanding student achievement, attainment and progress. This high level strategy is one to be achieved over the whole age range of provision and be rooted in an on-going assessment process. This process will effectively identify and support each child’s abilities and learning needs, setting appropriate goals that allow them to fulfil their social and educational potential, and personalising the curriculum to support them in achieving this. Each student at primary and secondary will have the option to access opportunities and learning provision in our partner Academy, Merchants’ Academy (MA) if this is appropriate for their needs.


We have chosen to base the curriculum on an adapted National Curriculum in order to allow students the full range of opportunities available through it. This ensures the students have access to, and can attain, formal qualifications and career pathways in line with the majority of their peers. The National Curriculum is also being used in MA and, therefore, inclusion opportunities will be maximised. For many students the curriculum will need to concentrate on:

§   Communication

§   English

§   Maths

§   Science

§   Computing

§   Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE)


All compulsory National Curriculum subjects will be taught, alongside Spanish as a Foreign Language (FL) or experience of the culture of another country.

We wish our students to leave us with the appropriate skills and qualifications that enable their successful transition to adulthood. We have, therefore, prioritised methodologies and a curriculum that provide a clear, flexible, developmental and linear pathway to those core principles in adulthood. Our aim is that, where appropriate,  our students will access part of the curriculum at MA.



What is the Venturers’ Curiosity Curriculum ?

Curious-City explained

The focus at Venturers’ is to enable learners to become Scientists, Engineers and Authors for instance, not to regurgitate Science, Design and English content.

Using the Curious-city curriculum as a starting point, a Bristol version of the National Curriculum, we have created a bespoke, locally focused curriculum experiences for our students.

This curriculum is a skeleton of curious and creative learning opportunities that provides guidance for our teachers to inspire learners with local people, places and stories, yet lots of room for additional contextualisation.

To ensure our learners get a broad and balanced experience, there are seven themes to help teachers locate the learning in different ways such as outdoor learning, global goals or rights respecting. Our favourite is Giving City that looks at charity, kindness and altruism. It is imperative that this language is used with the children at home and at school and appears on displays, in classrooms and around the outdoor areas.



The seven themes...


Enable learners to become...





Geographers  •  Scientists  •  Musicians  •  Authors  •  Philosophers  •  Mathematicians   Artists  •  Engineers  •  Historians




States of Being?

The emphasis is on children learning, not being taught subjects. For instance, teaching Science is a different thought process than planning for learners to become Scientists. Active, practical and experiential, the States of Being are essential to becoming curiosity driven settings and all staff are expected to use the States in visual timetables, termly planning, displays and newsletters.  Each State of Being is characterised to help the children understand what is means and to also challenge stereotypes around them.


What is enquiry-led learning?

In a nutshell, enquiry-led learning provides learners with key questions that are too big to answer in one go, but not so conceptually large that they do not understand. The purpose is to guide learners through a scaffolded process, answering a big question by producing something, such as a piece of writing, performance or animation.



What are the Curious-city™ core principles?

Cognitive development, emotional literacy and language levels underpin the approach of Curious-city. With strong links to mastery-led learning principles (Bloom’s Taxonomy) we recognise children's’ awareness of the world develops as they mature and that this has a significant impact on their ability to learn. Initially, we believe in anchoring all aspects of learning to reinforce personal identity and the present day, essential in creating self-aware individuals. As they develop we will strive to help them connect to the immediate environment, community, country until they are able conceptualise abstract themes such as tolerance or culture on a global scale: from ‘Me’ to ‘Everyone’. This process cannot be rushed, nor can it be executed in a haphazard approach, as every layer builds on the last. This approach affects the content as well as a way in which enquiry questions are structured, for instance.

These principles are also aligned to the Thrive approach - a specific way of working with all children that supports emotional and social wellbeing. The Thrive Approach is also informed by developments in neuroscientific research, and underpinned by a theoretical base in child development theory, attachment theory, Transactional Analysis, creativity, play and the Arts. The Thrive approach equips staff with the training to recognise their underlying needs and know how to respond appropriately.                                           

Venturers’ Academy has thirteen staff members trained as Thrive Practitioners.