The Springfields Academy

Reach South Academy Trust

Our central mission is for Reach South pupils to aspire to achieve beyond the expectations that others place on them.

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5-13 - Autism + Cognition and Learning

Autism and Cognition & Learning - KS1, KS2, KS3 (5-13)

On this page you will find:

  Class Information:

    Phase 1

Squirrels Class    Acorn Class   Willow Class    Beech Class

Phase 2

   Spruce Class  Hazel Class   Pine Class   Rosewood Class


 Curriculum Design Information

Squirrel class

SEND Teacher  -Mrs Claire Ludlow


Acorn class

SEND Teacher  - Mrs Claire Fawcitt


Willow Class

SEND Teacher - Miss Laura Wells


Beech Class:

SEND Teacher - Mrs Coral Pagram 


Spruce Class:

SEND Teacher - Mr Pete Corbett 


Hazel Class

SEND Teacher  - Mrs Connie Knight


Pine Class

SEND Teacher - Mr Marc Thomas


Rosewood Class

SEND Teacher  - Miss Sarah Hennessey

Curriculum Design:


Throughout the Primary Phase in this cohort the curriculum focuses on seven areas of development through a pupil led thematic approach.

The areas are as follows:

  • Personal, Social & Emotional Development
  • Communication & Language
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts & Design

Learning is presented through multi- sensory formats with many opportunities for over learning new concepts that are explored in a variety of practical ways in a variety of contexts to ensure skills are transferable. Attention autism underpins learning within this cohort to provide the children with targeted, cumulative intervention to develop their attention and listening skills as a foundation for the development of communication skills, social skills and academic learning. Learning is also structured through autism friendly approaches such as TEACCH. Pupils are supported to develop social communication skills by Elklan accredited practitioners who use a variety of communication structures to support learning.

Communication, language and learning skills are developed cumulatively as a child moves through the cohort:

Phase 1/Key stage 1: The environment is communication friendly and introduces structured language teaching approaches (such as colourful semantics)  to promote language understanding and fluency and literacy skills. Reading for pleasure is promoted with daily reading activities. Synthetic phonics informs decoding skills and where this is unsuccessful for a learner with more complex cognition needs a whole word action based approach is employed. To encourage the development of writing skills ‘topics’ of interest as used as a medium. ‘Talk for writing’ approaches are used to bring text structures ‘to life’ to inform creative writing.

Numeracy in key stage 1 builds on the children's number foundation with children developing a sound understanding of place value and how to calculate addition and subtraction calculations. The concept of multiplication and division as sharing is introduced.

Scientific exploration remains practical through experience based ‘investigations’ where they are encouraged to ask questions, gather evidence and talk about what they have discovered.

Phase 2/Key stage 2: There are embedded opportunities for ‘over learning’ new and more abstract concepts. Learning is presented practically in a range of settings with clear links to real life settings. The aim for learning new skills is to make them functional for a safe independent life.

Specific scaffolds are in place to meet the complexity of a cognition need in all areas across the curriculum. Where required children access specific additional intervention and/or specific structured teaching to help overcome barriers to learning.

Attention autism approaches are adapted to the age of the pupils; the approach continues to form the foundation of the cohorts’ curriculum.

Developing functional reading skills continues to be a focus in key stage two, particularly developing comprehension skills with strategies that remove barriers to learning that are specific to the profile of a learner with autism who may find it harder to empathise with character and infer or deduce meaning from the text. ‘Talk for writing’ continues to inform the writing curriculum with appropriate scaffolding in place to support language development and structure and extend writing opportunities with high expectations at the child’s level.

There is more focus on using the four calculation operations to solve real life problems. Children may be able to work with numbers of increasing complexity. Functional numeracy skills remain a focus and there are opportunities to experience numeracy in the ‘real world’.

In Science children are introduced to the concept of a ‘fair test’ and are encouraged to work independently to measure and report results with increasing accuracy. 

Phase 2/ Key stage 3: Teaching continues to take place in a primary model to create a sense of security reducing anxiety provoking transitions which some of the pupils with this profile of need have difficulty organising and preparing for. The cohort principals continue to be built upon in Key Stage 3 – building attention and listening skills through attention autism approaches and TEACCH systems in place to structure both the environment and task. The emphasis on developing as an independent learner continues to grow with further strategies to develop ‘learning to learn’ skills built upon.

The focus of skill development in English and Maths is on developing functional skills that pupils can use in the ‘real world’. Teaching is set up through real life scenarios where the pupils have to apply their literacy and numeracy skills as they will need to in order to lead a safe, independent life for example writing a letter to apply for a job, writing a shopping list, preparing the money to buy the shopping and calculating the change. 

Scientific knowledge further develops with the introduction of the concept of variables. Pupils are encouraged to predict and interpret their results based on previous scientific knowledge.