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Dacorum Education Support Centre

Dacorum Education Support Centre


Key Stage 4 Curriculum Rationale

Our aim is to provide learners with the highest quality provision using a twin track approach that focuses equally on the holistic and academic aspects of learning.

Therefore, we provide a curriculum, enriched by a range of planned activities and experiences which enhances learning and personal development so that all young people become:

  • Independent learners, who enjoy an ambitious needs-led learning curriculum and are able to access a positive destination for their next steps in education and in life      
  • Confident individuals who are able to live a safe, healthy and fulfilling life
  • Active and responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of present and future generations


The curriculum, therefore, is flexible, inclusive, engaging and offers continuity, coherence and progression. It motivates and provides challenge for all young people whatever their ability and promotes achievement for all.



The timetable is broken into 3 clear segments of the day

  • POD
  • Core
  • Option

POD Time (Segment 1)

POD time was incorporated into our daily curriculum plan to provide the nurture-based approach that our learners need. Nurture, Personal Social Development (PSD) & Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) with Reading and Literacy interwoven

POD Structure

Time Focus
0930 - 0945 Breakfast
0945 - 1000 Focused Awareness
1000 – 1030 PSD (Personal, Social Development Sessions)
1030 – 1040 DEaR (Drop Everything and Read)
1040 – 1045 Target Setting and Review


Core Curriculum (Segment 2)

Our Core curriculum is based on a carousel of the following subjects per week:

  • English                                                                       x2 lessons
  • Maths                                                                         x2 lessons
  • ICT                                                                               x1 lesson
  • Science                                                                      x1 lesson
  • PE                                                                               x2 lessons
  • Prince's Trust                                                           Half day provision

The purpose of multiple pathways ensures success quickly.  It allows our learners to build confidence, re-engage with education (particularly in English and Maths) through providing a number of bespoke educational pathways for our learners that ensures success.  Our aim each year is to ensure that every learner leaves DESC (minimum) with an appropriate qualification in English and Maths.    

Please see below as to how possible pathways work within Maths (This is also mirrored in English).


In addition, our learners have targeted 1-2-1 and group interventions ensuring that specific support is in place for them to help close gaps in their learning and development.  


Options Curriculum (Segment 3)

Our Options curriculum is based on providing subjects based on learner need and interest.  Options for this academic year include: (Learners can choose up to two)


  • Art, Craft & Design
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Statistics

Vocational Qualifications

  • Business
  • Child Development
  • Health and Social Care
  • ICT
  • Sport 
  • Prince’s Trust (Achieve Programme)



All learners are screened on entry to ascertain their individual needs and requirements.  From this appropriate interventions are planned and actioned. Examples include maths, reading, social skills.



Our Enrichment curriculum (predominantly takes place on a Friday) provides the opportunity for learners to try new and varied activities that may not strictly fit into our usual curriculum model.  Our purpose is that it provides our learners with further opportunities to develop character, resilience and motivation, and encourages all learners to pursue wider goals and skills beyond the norm and allowing opportunity for cultural capital.  Our activities include:

  • Art Therapy
  • Beauty
  • Boxing
  • Dance/Yoga
  • Digital Art and Photography
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
  • Film Production/Creative Media
  • First Aid
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Furniture Up-cycling
  • Gaming
  • Gym/Personal Training
  • Music Production
  • RDA (Riding for the Disabled)
  • Self Defence
  • Sport
  • Woodwork


Alternative Provision

We also provide the opportunity for our learners to access several Alternative Provision providers if identified as a need.  This means that learners can gain purposeful qualifications enabling clear progression opportunities towards future college courses, apprenticeships and employment post-16.

Current Providers 2022-2023          

C&G Plastering Academy City & Guilds Level 1 Multi-skills Construction
Building 1 Zone NOCN Level 1 Award in skills for employment, training personal development and construction


Quality Assurance of all AP provisions are carried out weekly by Dustin King (Assistant Head).

Work Experience

We also provide the opportunity for our learners to access meaningful work experience opportunities.  This is to develop specialised skills to aid progression to employment, apprenticeship or a specific college course based on the needs of the individual.  


Current Employability Sectors Utilised 2022-2023

  • Barbering
  • Building and Construction
  • Child Care
  • Landscape Gardening
  • Scaffolding

Quality Assurance of all AP provisions are carried out weekly by Dustin King (Assistant Head), with all risk assessments and verifications carried out and sourced by Services for Young People (Herts)


Therapeutic Support and Intervention

All learners have access to our suite of therapeutic services as a matter of course.  This includes

  • Counselling
  • CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)
  • Drawing and Talking
  • Mentoring
  • Others on demand or presenting need


In Summary

  • Our curriculum is fundamentally based around the individual needs of our learners
  • It is segmented in to three parts that ensures accessibility, progression and engagement
  • It is supplemented by work experience, enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities
  • All learners are supported with appropriate interventions (academic, pastoral and holistic)
  • Our offer is reviewed each half term or more regularly as necessary. This is to ensure that our learners' needs are continually met in what are forever changing circumstances




Destinations (Please click link)