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Rotherham Aspire is the Local Authority (LA) maintained Pupil Referral Unit for Rotherham. It serves all secondary and primary schools within the borough and supports both permanent exclusion and dual registered partnership placements. We have a small number of pupils with EHC Plans who are awaiting specialist placements, or under assessment. As a consequence, we have designed an appropriate and sequenced curriculum to meet the needs of pupils in this unique context.


Rotherham Aspire provides short and medium term placements from Key Stage 1 through to Key Stage 4, for pupils who have come out of mainstream education, for a variety of reasons. Most of our pupils will have experienced disrupted periods of their education and have underdeveloped learning behaviours. The aim is to provide intervention placements centred on Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) strategies as well trauma informed practice, to help identify students’ needs, re engage them in learning and identify the next and most appropriate setting for them. Pupils who start Key Stage 4 or join us during this phase, usually stay until the end of Year 11 and then transition to their next stage.


The SEMH needs of our pupils’ present significant barriers to learning. Therefore, at the heart of our curriculum, is the intent to provide a safe and inspiring space, where pupils are offered personalised opportunities and experiences to help them re engage in education, feel positive about themselves and make progress in every aspect of their life.


Through small group work and personalised adaptive teaching within the classroom, we aim to quickly assess the child’s strengths and development, as well as any potential learning needs they may have. We aim to equip pupils with effective strategies to help them self-regulate and develop an appropriate mind-set to cope with life’s challenges, through a nurturing approach.


We provide an environment in which pupils are aided to fill the gaps in their skills, knowledge and understanding by nurturing engagement in the curriculum, so as to help build their confidence, resilience and prepare them for the next step.


We put a high focus on numeracy and literacy development as the cornerstones to the curriculum, and aim for all our pupils to able to be read to at least age appropriate levels.


There is a high focus on pupils’ social, emotional and mental health needs as these are the greatest barriers to learning. By understanding pupils’ emotional health and well-being, we promote self-esteem and self-worth and build a sense of trust and belonging which supports re engagement. 


We achieve this through robust baseline assessments and information gathering on entry along with engaging teaching based upon endless positive regard and the building of positive relationships. All secondary phase pupils have access to a learning mentor to support them in identifying and removing any additional barriers to engagement.

We aim for our pupils to become independent and able to function in society by providing them with positive role models, equipping them with broad and transferable knowledge and skills from an appropriate curriculum and enabling them to experience success in both academic and social development outcomes. 

Most pupils follow a core curriculum pathway of English. Mathematics, Science (including ICT) and Personal, Social and Health Education, including Careers. At Key Stage 4 Pupils have the opportunity to achieve appropriate accreditation and qualifications in both vocational and GCSE options.


Our curriculum is designed to prepare pupils for and support transition to the next stage in their learning and later life.

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