Select Page

Foundations for Life (F4L)


The Foundations for Life curriculum focuses on the acquisition of core communication and the independence skills needed for life. This pathway delivers cross-curricular learning alongside personal development, wellbeing and creativity. This F4L curriculum has 16 subjects which are grouped into 4 key areas of learning; Core Subject Areas; Skills Based Areas; Personal Development and Wellbeing Areas and My Creativity Areas. There is a detailed curriculum map for each of these four areas, with each map showing the clear progression of skills, knowledge and understanding.

The Foundations for Life Curriculum Pathway aims to develop our children’s knowledge and skills for life through the following:

Core Subject Areas

Personal Functional Communication Functional Mathematics Early Reading Early Writing Early Science
Ensures the development of functional communication to express own needs and wants, and be able to communicate socially with others. Promotes the development of receptive communication to understand information from others, to access learning, leisure and keep themselves safe.
Develops functional mathematics skills to manage daily living skills, such as spatial organisation, use of measure in every day tasks (weight, size, capacity) and to understand money and exchange when shopping.
Develops early reading skills to access functional literacy for life, leisure, and, wherever appropriate, work opportunities.
This uses a balanced and engaging approach to developing early reading, teaching both decoding, (by implementing a systematic phonics programme) and developing comprehension skills.
Develops early writing skills as key to functional literacy for life, leisure, and, wherever appropriate, work opportunities.
Pre-writing skills are developed through individual fine-motor programmes, as well as developing the fluency of pupils’ transcription e.g. handwriting or typing, and spelling.
Pupils will be given opportunities to experience a wide range of Science activities, with access to the resources, ideas and questions that Science brings to our lives. Develops all science skills at pupils’ own levels, including Scientific Enquiry, understanding of life processes (Humans), life processes (Plants), and life processes (Animals), physical processes (forces), materials, and light.



Skills Based Areas

Transitions, Accepting Removals and Waiting Independence & Living Skills Computing inc. E-Safety (Link to RHE)
Transitions: pupils will begin with transitioning between preferred activities before taking to the carousel. They will learn to transition between more areas with less adult support and prompts, relying more on visual and auditory cues to develop their independence. 
Accepting Removals: pupils will learn to accept removals through repeated exposure to situations where they have to give up a preferred item or put an item away when directed to. It is important to remember that when teaching to accept removals, the adults carry out the learning in a low-arousal manner with emphasis on the verbal direction. Give the verbal direction once and wait for the pupil to make the appropriate response. If the pupil hasn’t completed the response, follow the teaching protocol listed in the advice. 
Waiting: pupils will learn to wait for increasingly longer periods of time, in conjunction with acquiring self-occupying play skills, communication skills and social skills. They will be able to transfer their knowledge and abilities to wait to situations involving their peers. Vary the length of time so that children do not tire of waiting for long periods consistently.  
Opportunities will increase according to pupils’ unique strengths and needs, and their rate of progress.
Develop independence in skills of self-care, daily living skills in the home and community, personal organization, accessing community and leisure opportunities. 
Independence skills are part of the incidental teaching during the day, as well as focused protocols to build specific skills. Independence skills also link closely with developing pupils’ emotional regulation, transitions and tolerance.
Develop pupills’ knowledge and skills to be able to access online materials safely, knowing what to click and what not to click, to have a basic understanding of safe/unsafe sites, and to accept mediation of online access from a responsible other. 
Develop pupils’ knowledge of how to control technology for a purpose e.g. using a washing machine, a microwave, a printer. 
Enable pupils to recognise, select and understand how technology is used for daily tasks including eating and cleaning. 
Be able to manipulate tools to use for specific purposes.



Personal Development and Wellbeing Areas

Religious Education Emotional Development (RSE) Personal Safety Social development and relationships (RSE) Physical Development

Celebrate the diversity and meaning of RE through different sensory experiences, and develop pupils’ understanding of  British values.

Practise Mindfulness & create peaceful spaces for pupils to sit and reflect e.g. in a tent, on cushions, in our sensory garden.

Search for signs of religion and spirituality all around school and in the community.

Listen to different music from different faiths and cultural traditions. Explore religious or cultural artefacts using their senses.

Develop strategies to self-regulate own emotions with as much independence as possible, to ensure optimum mental health and well -being through life.

Develop personal safety skills through incidental teaching during the day, as well as teaching focused protocols to build specific skills in:

-Road safety

-Handling objects & equipment safely

-Responding to Danger

-Privacy for personal safety

It also links to developing pupils’ emotional development, transitions and tolerance. 

Develop social interaction and social communication skills to engage with others effectively through play. 

Engage in physical activity for well-being, through PE, exercise, co-ordination, control, and movement. Develop pupils’ confidence and promote their well-being through moving freely for pleasure. Develop pupils’ understanding and ability to make healthy choices. Develop pupils’ fine-motor control skills to support Early writing 



My Creativity Areas

Art & Design Design Technology Music & Drama

Encourage pupils’ imaginative and creative responses through the use of a wide range of media and materials and tools for different purposes.

 Encourage pupils to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, as well as developing their vital fine motor skills.

Develop pupils’ understanding of how to control technology for a purpose e.g. using a washing machine, a microwave, a printer, a can opener

Enable pupils to recognise, select and understand how technology is used for daily tasks, including eating and cleaning.

Develop pupils’ skills to be able to manipulate tools to use for a purpose.


Encourage pupils to express themselves through physical action and the making of sound.




For each F4L subject area, there is a detailed curriculum plan, identifying how skills and knowledge (concepts) are sequenced to build towards specific endpoints in each subject at the end of year 6. These ‘endpoints’ reflect the skills pupils will need in adulthood (and, as such, are qualitatively different to EYFS goals, reflecting adult life skills as well as the interests of older pupils)

Each subject curriculum plan has been devised and developed by experienced F4L teachers alongside senior leaders. This has ensured that curriculum development is rooted in classroom practice.

Each subject curriculum plan provides a clear sequence (progression) of skills and concepts, with the most important skills and concepts emboldened. There is a single document for each subject area. This supports teachers’ understanding of which skills need to be embedded before a new skill is taught. The curriculum plan for each subject is used for formative assessment to support our ‘assess, plan, do, review’ approach to planning and teaching lessons in the F4L pathway.

Adaptation of learning environments is required to provide natural learning opportunities, so pupils can more easily transfer skills developed at school to home and community use. For this reason, we have invested in kitchen areas, created leisure and work focused areas, enabling pupils to practise daily living skills frequently, and move towards competence and independence.



Highly trained staff are dedicated to the modelling of and continued rehearsal of these skills to ensure our pupils learn and embed the essential knowledge and skills they need for adult life.


Many of our children find the sensory pressures of being out in the community difficult to cope with. Parents often feedback about how difficult they find to take their children out. We aim to support parents through community experiences by building their children’s tolerance and allowing them to experience the wider world with the support of our highly trained staff.

All staff have dedicated training to implement low-arousal approaches when managing challenges for all F4L pupils. This follows the principles of positive behaviour management which is at the core of Hedgewood’s ethos of positive experiences for all children. Our Positive Behaviour Support Team offer specialised support for identified pupils with behaviours that challenge.

Our Family Services Team provide a range of tailored and targeted support for families across the F4L pathway.



Progress in securing the skills and knowledge set out in the Foundations for Life curriculum, will enable pupils to lead lives with maximum independence and wellbeing. Skills in communication and social interaction are key to their accessing opportunities in both personal relationships with others, and wider community opportunities. Young people will be able to apply the skills and knowledge learned to confidently access shopping, eating out, leisure activities, health care needs (doctors, dentist, opticians) and, where relevant, work opportunities with as much independence as possible.


See below for our Foundations for Life Curriculum Maps and Content


To learn more about how we implement the F4L curriculum at Hedgewood School then please contact Bryony Smith at

Contact Us

Thank you for visiting our website. If you cannot find everything you need on our website, require specific information or would just like to speak to us please do not hesitate in contacting the school office.

Hedgewood School
Weymouth Road, Hayes
Middlesex, UB4 8NF

Phone: 0208 8456756