Curriculum/ provision overview
Autism + Environment
Starting in Primary Phase children learn a range of subjects through a child led thematic approach as well as through discrete subject sessions.
The curriculum is delivered through structures and systems that build on the strengths of the learner with autism such as the TEACCH approach. Working towards a safe independent life child is encouraged to complete activities independently using the scaffolds provided. Strategies for self-reliance and problem solving are explicitly taught as a foundation for the curriculum through to age 19. Social skills opportunities are embedded throughout all learning sessions
Key Stage 1:
Children are encouraged to use simple learning systems independently. Strategies to develop as a resilient learner are introduced.
Synthetic phonics forms the foundation for early decoding skills in reading and writing. Reading and spelling are taught in partnership and applied in a range of activities to ensure the skills are embedded and transferable.
In Numeracy children are taught to complete simple calculations and problems in a ‘real life’ context using addition and subtraction and some using basic multiplication. Division as sharing and grouping is introduced. Pupils also begin to describe the properties of shapes, measure with a range of units of measure and collect and interpret simple data.
Key Stage 2:
The strong emphasis on learning systems throughout the cohort, the TEACCH approach and ethos informing curriculum delivery. Children are encouraged to develop resilience as learners and are explicitly taught strategies to problem solve in a range of contexts. The Environment continues to be informed by the TEACCH approach.
Literacy teaching is informed by ‘Talk for Writing’ to develop an understanding of different text types and their features. There are regular opportunities for extended writing in a range of genres.
Reading sessions focus on developing comprehension skills with appropriate autism friendly strategies to support inference and deduction skills.
In Numeracy pupils are able to calculate and solve real life problems, including those with money and measure using the four operations. Algebra, decimals and percentages are introduced.
In Science children are encouraged to take measurements from a range of equipment, ensure a ‘fair test, gather and record data and report on their findings.
Key stage 3:
Teaching continues to be taught through a primary model (to reduce learner anxiety though having a ‘secure base’ in an autism friendly environment) with opportunities’ to access subject specific teaching from specialists to add depth of subject knowledge. As the pupils progress throughout the key stage planned sessions begin to be planned within the subject specialist environments to prepare the children for the GCSE curriculum model in Key Stage 4.
The systematic TEACCH approaches continue to be at the core of the curriculum delivery. There is a greater emphasis on the adult withdrawing from instruction and the pupil developing independent learning and problem solving skills to achieve a task independently.
Learning in English, Maths and Science focuses on developing the foundation skills for a GSCE curriculum.
Autism and Cognition & Learning - KS1, KS2, KS3 (5-13)
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
- 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:
Key stage 1: The environment builds on the communication friendly approaches established in EYFS FS2 with the introduction of 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 secure number foundation of EYFS FS2 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.
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.
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.