The Springfields Academy

Reach South Academy Trust

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5 -13 - Autism and SEMH

Autism and SEMH


The ethos of the Autism and SEMH cohort is based upon the six principles of Nurture to ensure that;

  • The classroom offers a safe base to reduce anxieties
  • Children’s learning is understood developmentally
  • The response to children is to accept them ‘as they are’ with accepting attitude
  • There is promotion of the development of self-esteem
  • Transitions are significant and are reduced within the child’s daily experience.
  • Language is a vital means of communication and is a vehicle for putting emotions into words

This is underpinned by the understanding that all behaviour is communication

These principles are the foundation for learning in all areas which are then individualised in theme, presentation and activity to meet the needs of the child. 

Pupils access subject specific planning through child led thematic approaches. Initial focus on building relationships, feeling safe, secure and ready to learn supported by a weekly full day LOTC provision ( our LOTC provision is well established in the county through partnership with Wiltshire Outdoor Learning Team WOLT, and through our provision of Big Outdoor Learning Days to mainstream pupils and their staff)  to develop social skills. The curriculum is creative and predominantly delivered practically. The ‘end product’ provides motivation to engage the learners. Pupils are supported to develop their social emotional literacy skills with the support of accredited ELSA staff.

During the Primary Phase pupils develop the foundation skills to enable them to access the most appropriate Key stage 4 outcomes based upon aspirational academic outcomes.

Key Stage 1:

Opportunities to build social skills and develop self- worth and self-esteem are embedded throughout all sessions.

Family therapy will be integrated into the pupil’s curriculum to model play/positive social interaction and explore the function of presenting behaviours within this early stage of their development.

Early reading, writing, numeracy and scientific skills are introduced when a child is ‘learning ready’ based upon the outcome and working alongside any therapeutic intervention a child receives.

Key stage 2:

Learning is presented through ‘passion projects’ to promote engagement in areas of the curriculum that are not of a special interest to the children. Children will be set a challenge to complete, for example building a shelter where they have to use and apply skills from across curriculum subjects as well as their social skills focus areas to collaborate with peers towards a common goal.

Building strong trusted relationships with peers and adults continues to be a clear focus therefore social skills development is taught through motivational practical activities.

The curriculum will focus on pupils developing a sense of self and learning to positively express themselves, communicate appropriately and recognise good influences. 

Key stage 3:

Building on the secure foundation established through the primary years the amount of curriculum time devoted to explicitly teaching the development of relationships and focus on developing social skills can reduce in favour of a more embedded approach. In line with more security there is now a greater emphasis on increasing the academic demand in line with pupil need to ensure an academic foundation for key stage 4 outcomes.

The exception to this being children joining the school on phase transfer who will require the foundation social skills and relationships focus from the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Therefore, within the curriculum plan the academy would structure classes by developmental stage rather than age to ensure all children receive the developmental opportunities’ to meet individual need in line with the 6 Nurture Principles


SEND Teacher - Mr Owen Wolfe

In Oak we enjoy a range of different activities and subjects.

We spend one day a week on L.O.T.C (learning outside the classroom); canoeing, climbing, orienteering, den building and learning about the natural environment. This supports the children with their life skills as well as building up confidence, resilience and co-operation. The children also access motor vehicles and catering supporting their progress towards safe and independent lives. In the classroom we have been using the children’s interest to build excitement and engagement. We have been writing poems looking at the poetic styles of rappers. We will build up these ideas with the aim of writing their own verses. They will also be working on making music, using hi-tech industry standard equipment, to have a finished song at the end of the process.       In Maths we have been working on the 4 operations and how we need them in our day to day lives and improving our times tables. The children have also been researching a topic, person or event of their choice, which they will then feedback to the class. Examples of their topics are; The history of computer games, Albert Einstein, Pugs and The history of grime. In science we are looking at the processes and methods of investigations and we did so by making our own ice cream in class. We also have the privilege of going on a bike ride, off site, on Friday afternoons with our qualified bike instructors.