Curriculum Rationale and Model of Learning


Curriculum Intent and Rationale

ACE Schools provides a high-quality inclusive education for all. Our ambitious curriculum offers pupils not only the National Curriculum but the life skills and experiences beyond this to flourish in their future lives. Our ethos is grounded in the principles of Ready, Respectful, Safe. These are the core values that influence every aspect of our educational community.

At ACE Schools we meet pupil’s individual needs with specialist support. All staff have high ambitions for pupils’ academic achievement and value the essential role that they play in preparing them for adulthood. Our curriculum enables every individual to shine and contribute positively to the school. We see every behaviour as a form of communication and treat every interaction as an intervention. Positive working relationships lie at the heart of everything that we do.

The key knowledge, skills, and aspirations that we want pupils to experience and develop during their time with us have been identified at Trust level and make up The Three Strand Curriculum.

The Three Strands Curriculum

The Three Strand Curriculum enables all teachers at EYFS and KS1-KS4 to adapt the school curriculum according to the pupils' individual needs and goals. The model is designed to equip teachers and learning mentors to meet pupils’ needs with a relentless and ambitious learning programme based upon catch up, recovery and challenge.

For optimal learning, staff are encouraged and supported to use their knowledge, expertise and understanding of each pupil, to embrace the concepts of The Three Strand Curriculum. Teachers and learning mentors make intelligent adaptations and informed pedagogical choices to ensure that pupils can thrive.

ACE Schools provide an ambitious and personalised curriculum which allows pupils to develop socially, morally, and academically, ensuring that they are prepared for post 16 education and adulthood. We aim to provide personalised pathways of development to ensure that pupils have the skills and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their next steps.

Pupils are with us for varying amounts of time. Some will have a very short time with us (days) while others may remain for more than 1 year. Therefore, our curriculum is flexible, personalised, and designed to enable pupils to progress to the next stage of their educational journey.

We have high expectations of our pupils and are committed to improving life chances. The curriculum offers opportunities to develop socially, morally, and academically, whilst also developing employability and life skills.


Rosenshine’s principles of instruction are a comprehensive guide to evidence-informed teaching strategies that enhance pupils learning. At ACE Schools the structure above is adopted during all learning episodes.


  • Our children deserve an ambitious educational journey.
  • Curriculum adaptation and enhancement is core to school improvement.
  • Purposeful, structured staff/pupil interactions improve pupil attainment and outcomes.
  • Cognitive science research, which focuses on how the brain takes in and uses new information, identified the limitations of working memory when attempting to learn new things.
  • Direct observation of ‘master teachers’ whose students made the most academic leaps as measured by standardised tests. These observations focused on how these teachers presented new information to learners, how they monitored learners’ understanding, the opportunities they provided for rehearsal of information or skills and how they scaffolded the development of understanding and knowledge.


  • Use CPD sessions to add depth to knowledge and understanding of Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.
  • Consider how pupils learn and how they can be supported to build on prior knowledge as well as lay firm foundations for future learning.
  • Use teaching approaches that ensure long term retention of knowledge and fluency in key skills.
  • Provide high quality and inclusive teaching for every child.
  • Adopt the ACE Model of Learning in all bases with consistency as well as flexibility (consider different starting points).


How does this fit in with the ACE Schools and Transforming Futures Trust ethos and vision?

We continue to build a culture of Trauma Informed Practice in all our schools which supports the wellbeing and development of all children and young people in ensuring ‘positive futures for all’.

Our schools use a Trauma Informed approach to provide a full curriculum experience personalised to the needs of each individual, with a particular focus on core academic study alongside personal development. 

We support and challenge pupils to be aspirant and aim high for their future after ACE, whether in other schools, further or higher education or the workplace.



ACE Schools

Lesson structure

Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction

What we do…

Why we do it…

1. Activate


Daily review

Weekly review

Monthly review


  • Retrieval based starter (verbal, question, scenario, worksheet, screen, whiteboard) ready for pupils when they arrive.
  • The starter retrieves core vocabulary and/or knowledge from a previous lesson or for the current lesson.
  • The starter activates prior knowledge and makes clear links with previous learning/interleaves topics.
  • Address errors/misconceptions from the previous lesson.
  • Pupils can strengthen connections among material previously learned.
  • Pupils embed learning into their long-term memory.
  • Common misconceptions can be addressed.
  • Pupils can correctly use appropriate subject vocabulary and apply relevant subject knowledge.
  • Pupils develop schema.

2. Instruct



Present new material using small steps.

Provide models.

Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.

Ask questions.

Check for pupil understanding.


  • Present material using small steps.
  • Limit the amount of material students receive at one time.
  • Give clear and detailed instructions and explanations.
  • Think aloud.
  • Review concepts and skills.
  • Provide examples.
  • Ask focused questions to check for understanding.
  • Pupils grasp key concepts.
  • To prevent errors becoming embedded as learned misconceptions.
  • Help pupils form a clear schema and understand connections.
  • Pupils have clarity about what they are learning and what success looks like.
  • To check understanding and reframe/reteach when required.

3. Model



Provide cognitive support to problem solve.

Reduce cognitive load.

Steer practice.


  • Demonstrate new concepts.
  • Provide prompts.
  • Address the ‘why’?
  • Guide pupils as they develop independence.
  • Ask questions and encourage questions.
  • Share partially worked out examples.
  • Think aloud.
  • Show an example (use a visualizer/live on board).
  • Pupils gain confidence and are more likely to take risks.
  • Worked out examples allow pupils to focus on the steps and reduce cognitive load on working memory.
  • To reduce errors.
  • Feeling comfortable can increase engagement.
  • It can increase attainment.
  • Pupils get better at managing their own learning.

4. Practise


Guide pupil practise. Obtain high success rate. Develop independent practice.

  • Provide time to practise.
  • Guide pupils as they begin to practice.
  • Enable pupils to rehearse, process and elaborate.
  • Subject-specific reading opportunities are woven into lessons.
  • Vocabulary is visible and explicit.
  • Monitor students when they begin independent practice.
  • Form strong schema (material forgotten if not rehearsed).
  • To minimise the chance of misconceptions forming.
  • It embeds knowledge in the long-term memory.
  • It can sustain motivation and engagement.
  • Obtaining a high success rate (builds confidence/motivation).
  • It determines how well material has been learned.




Review the learning episode.

Frequent checks to monitor the reinforcement of prior knowledge and learning of new material.

  • Plan opportunities for pupils to consider changes they should make next time.
  • Evaluate how effectively they completed the task.
  • Timely feedback, which is specific, accurate and clear.
  • Knowledge will move to long-term memory.
  • Gives opportunity to reflect and acknowledge the learning journey.
  • Teachers/Learning Mentors know which topics to re-visit as they were not grasped first time.