New curriculum at Royal Docks ‘removing barriers’ for pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties

Rowing is among the activities pupils are taking part through Royal Docks Academy's new PMLD curricu

Rowing is among the activities pupils are taking part through Royal Docks Academy's new PMLD curriculum. Picture: Royal Docks Academy - Credit: Archant

Weekly PE and creative arts lessons are “taking away barriers” for Royal Docks school children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

Twenty-five pupils at Royal Docks Academy are taught a personalised curriculum which gives them an opportunity to learn life skills, acquire knowledge and experience the world beyond a classroom.

Now, they're taking part in PE lessons one day a week, including rowing, adapted football and basketball, and yoga.

Head of the PMLD unit, Zama Shozi, said: "We have changed our curriculum to give more exciting opportunities for our children to take part in activities in a more meaningful and structured way.

"We are able to use the school's sports hall which means our students, without limitations, can be a part of physical education.

"PE sessions including the whole unit are something we have never done before."

The school has invested in adapted equipment to enable the weekly sport sessions.

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Mrs Shozi added there are now more boys in the unit who are very energetic, so ball games particularly benefit them.

She said: "Their whole faces light up when they realise they are capable of playing football.

"We are showing our young people that nothing is impossible.

"This is a massive change for us and our students are responding so well to it.

"Parents are even coming to us to ask how they can adapt the lessons for home, as the behaviour and capabilities of our students is even greater when they are doing this work at school."

The pupils have also started taking part in regular performing arts lessons.

This included putting on shows throughout the term, in addition to annual performances in the summer and at Christmas.

Mrs Shozi said: "The whole unit is taking part in creative arts and having their own input as to what music they want to work with.

"Every Friday, we play their favourite music in the unit.

"It gives them choices and shows them they are being listened to; pupil voice is very important to us.

"I want students coming to the unit every day knowing they have a good quality of life, not just educationally, but socially and functionally with a sense of belonging."