Curriculum

“Assessment is well planned and highly effective. Staff check pupils’ understanding continuously with precision.”

Ofsted 2023

Teaching and Learning Model

We recommend that you take a look at this video, which explains our Teaching Model in full.

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EYFS & KS1 & 2

At Park House School, communication is at the core of our curriculum. The curriculum is differentiated and highly personalised according to each pupil’s needs, whilst still being based on the EYFS curriculum. The aim of the curriculum is to develop academic and independent self-help skills as well as encouraging personal, social and emotional development.

The Foundation Stage curriculum is organised under the following areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Physical Development
  • Expressive Art and Design.

English

We aim to ensure that English/Literacy skills are used in as many functional contexts as possible. The English curriculum is delivered mainly in group sessions and is maintained within pupils’ individual sessions throughout the whole school. In Literacy groups pupils are taught using their personalised targets from their IEP’s and all group lessons will cover speaking and listening, reading (word and comprehension), writing (handwriting, composition & vocabulary).

Reading and comprehension

Intent:

Our intent is to give every pupil the ability to read and comprehend the pictures, symbols and written word that support their everyday independence. All pupils are taught to read in line with their stage of cognitive development, from reading and recognising symbols and photographs to aid communication, to reading a wide range of literature fluently for a variety of purposes.

Implementation:

Each pupil has a clearly sequenced plan for developing communication, as outlined in their individual targeted key stage/annual outcomes. Targeted outcomes outline early reading skills, which include both cued articulation and the teaching of phonics. Some pupils, who have been identified to be on the ‘Skills for Life’ assessment pathway will focus on communication through alternative methods.

Reading is encouraged in all aspects of school life and include:

  • teaching staff fostering a love of literature through storytelling and shared book activities.
  • highly personalised learning opportunities, with English and reading activities based on student interests and motivations and subject to appropriate topics for individuals.
  • language development in communication-rich environments focusing on the development of pupils’ speaking and listening (for some non-verbal pupils, this is done via alternative methods of communication), throughout the school day.
  • interactive systematic synthetic phonics, timetabled every day for pupils ready to learn sound-to-symbol correspondence.
  • pupils encouraged to use and apply their phonic knowledge in independent work and in individual or group reading, where appropriate.
  • pupils reading books carefully matched to the phonics they know. BeyondAutism Schools uses­­­­ Read write inc.
  • embedding comprehension in functional and recreational activities, across the curriculum. We focus on the comprehension of specific vocabulary/concepts through the use of objects and visual representation in all lessons.
  • sharp focus on the development of pupils’ communication. This is supported through the use of resources such as: Picture Exchange Communication; Social Stories; ‘Now and Next’ boards; daily visual timetables; visual stories; and other visual strategies.
  • pupils supported in their functional reading of recipes, instructions, shopping lists, menus, and key words in the environment, for example: shop signs and specific items in the supermarket. They also focus on following vocational instructions such as the rules of a specific job, and map reading.
  • through Reading Clubs, which include communication skills at its heart.

Impact:

Pupils are able to effectively use pictures, symbols and the written word in their everyday lives to access, understand and share information, and enjoy reading a range of materials, including fiction and non-fiction books.

Maths

Our maths curriculum covers: using and applying numbers, pattern, space, shape, measures, money and time. We aim to ensure that mathematical skills are used in as many functional contexts as possible. The mathematics curriculum is delivered mainly in group sessions and is maintained within pupils’ individual sessions throughout the whole school. Pupils are group based on similar mathematic ability and learning objectives are tailored to match pupils IEP goals.  

Learners are encouraged to practice their maths skills in functional life skills tasks, both within school and the local community.

Pre group learning

Before pupils are ready to learn in academic groups there are certain pre-requisite skills which must be obtained to increase the likelihood of success within group learning. In order to prepare pupils for group learning they may take part in pre groups. Pre groups are designed to encourage learners to engage and interact at a group table with their peers and lead Teacher. Learners will build their skills to be able to sit for 15 minutes without support from their Teaching and Learning Practitioner and are able to tolerate instructions from the lead Teacher, accept waits and tolerate engagement with their peers.  To achieve this, motivating activities, toys and games are used to maintain and encourage engagement. A select few simple demands are introduced which increase in number, frequency and novelty over time.

Learners are supported to alternate their eye gaze and attention from table top activities to the interactive whiteboard to prepare learners look towards these resources for information.

Science

The science curriculum is carefully structured, using the requirements of the National Curriculum as an overall basis for planning. The curriculum is divided into a variety of half termly topics such as electricity and light, humans, animals, plant and living things, properties and states of matter and magnets and forces. All topics will encourage scientific exploration and experimentation. Pupils access learning in a group setting once a week in addition to the learning opportunities provided across each school day. Science groups are arranged similarly to Math and Science groups and learning is tailored to pupils needs and learning styles.

Computing

Computing is taught through both individual and group teaching. All pupils have an allocated computing target on their IEP which they work towards throughout the school year. This is a skill that is functionally the most appropriate for each individual pupil and may be a cross curricula target, such as manding (requesting) for items using a high tech Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) application, such as Proloquo2go. Computing targets may be taken from the school’s assessment tools or from the National Curriculum. 

Food technology

All pupils attend a weekly food session, whether food fun or food technology, that is linked to their class’s theme for the half term. Within these sessions a range of functional skills are developed and practised including cooking skills, health and safety and food hygiene. During these sessions pupils are also encouraged to explore different tastes, try out new varieties of food, recipes and ways of preparing food.

PSHE

Personal, social, health and economic development is fundamental for children with SEN and is integral to everything we do within our school. We aim to promote our pupils’ spiritual, health, social and cultural development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Our pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, and specific objectives are highlighted for each pupil within their Individual Education Plan. In addition to their personal programmes, they also access two PSHE group sessions a week. The aim is to teach pupils a range of functional topics that relate to their circumstances, age and needs in order to support their personal development as an individual, a member of the school and as an active citizen within the local community.

PSHE areas involve:

  • An understanding of self
  • Developing personal autonomy
  • Developing confidence
  • Building relationships between people
  • Knowledge and understanding of the world around them
  • An understanding of appropriate behaviour
  • Taking responsibility for one’s own actions
  • An awareness of and respect for the variety of belief, language and culture in society.
  • Healthy living
  • Growing and changing

“The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding”

- Ofsted 2018

PE

The PE curriculum will engage pupils in a range of sports and activities; and will ensure that each pupil:

  • better understands and recognises their strengths
  • is challenged to try new things
  • develops and broadens key skills for life e.g. turn taking, following rules, hand-eye coordination, listening to instructions, interacting with others, self-help skills etc.

All pupils are encouraged to take an active role in all aspects of PE and pupil participation is key. Throughout the school day we focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and this is strengthened through the PE curriculum.

Please see a list below of the activities that are offered:

  • Swimming (Latchmere Leisure Centre / Emmanuel School)
  • Ball games (Wimbledon Football Club)
  • Multisport
  • Trampolining (FlipOut Wandsworth)
  • Horse Riding (The Diamond Centre, Carshalton)
  • Skiing (Snowbility)
  • Individual and group sessions with the Occupational Therapists.
  • BRAVE
    • Balance
    • Relaxation
    • Action
    • Values/vitality
    • Energy

Music and art

Music

All pupils access weekly singing and signing assemblies where we learn songs relating to our curriculum topics. Our Song Club performs at regular events and in the local community to help raise funds. Every class has daily music lessons – these consist of practising our assembly songs and playing a range of different instruments. We regularly welcome guest performing arts companies who run workshops for our pupils and we ensure that our pupils visit theatre productions and other performances.

Art

The art curriculum at Park House School is designed to engage, inspire and provide opportunities for learners to express themselves creatively. All “art” projects, activities and work meet our four key aims:

  • Enable pupils to produce creative work, exploring ideas, materials and recording experiences
  • Have opportunities to work in both 2D and 3D
  • Use art of other artists to influence their work
  • Explore art in other cultures.

Each academic year the art curriculum follows a different theme each half term. These may include such themes as ‘Celebration’, ‘Natural Forms’ and cultural based themes such as ‘African art’.  

Within the themes, pupils are expected to engage in a wide range of art mediums, including paint, collage, photography, and work in both 2D and 3D. Pupils record, document and keep their work safe in sketchbooks and class galleries.

Geography, history, RE, drama/performing arts

Weekly special events incorporate other areas of the curriculum e.g. Geography, History, Technology, Religious Education (RE), Drama/Performing Arts.

Pupils at Park House School have the opportunity to work towards the Arts Award. The aim of the Arts Award is to enable our young people to work towards a national qualification. The awards are based on the pupils learning how to engage with culture, with community, and with the arts. It allows the pupils to improve their creative skills, and helps to develop an alternative means of expression through the arts.

Careers Education

From Key Stage 1 we work on skills that can later be adapted into vocational skills. Here's our full careers education summary for BeyondAutism Schools.