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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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 English groups pupils are taught using their personalised targets from the National Curriculum and IEP’s and all group lessons will cover speaking and listening, reading (word and comprehension), writing (handwriting, composition & vocabulary). Alongside group, identified pupils may receive additional input, through the delivery of the Literacy intervention Read Write Inc. (as well as Cued Articulation for our signers).

Reading and comprehension


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.



Each pupil has a clearly sequenced plan for developing communication, as outlined in their individual Personal Curriculum Plans (PCPs). PCPs 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.


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.


Our maths curriculum covers: using and applying numbers, patterns, shape and space; within these core areas we cover: money and money in practice; time and time in practice; measure and measure in practice. 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. Groups are taught using national Curriculum and assessment grid goals which work alongside IEP targets, as the basis to lessons, but are taught in a way that enables pupils to have exposure to and practice of the core areas of our curriculum.

Pre group learning

Some of our pupils require additional support before they are ready to access academic groups. Before pupils are included in group learning it is essential that they are taught and have mastered some pre-requisite learner skills. They should have a requesting repertoire of at least 20 strong requests; be able to follow simple instructions readily; be able to do basic imitations; be able to receptively identify and label their favourite things and common objects and pictures; be able to look to the Teacher for instruction and be able to tolerate delayed reinforcement. They should also be able to sit in a small group for at least 5 minutes without disruptive behaviour, and be able to wait without touching stimuli.


The science curriculum is carefully structured, using the requirements of the National Curriculum as an overall basis for planning. The curriculum is taught within Key Stages and divided into a variety of half termly topics such as light, humans and forces. Within Key Stage 5, pupils are taught STEM. Pupils access learning in a group setting once a week in addition to the learning opportunities provided across each school day and scientific special events which run across the year. Groups are arranged by Key Stage and are based on science and group work ability.


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 as well as the National Curriculum grids which the qualified teachers oversee. Pupils will be taught skills that are 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.

Food technology

At Tram House  pupils work towards contributing towards our weekly BA Café social enterprise. Pupils also have independent cooking skills within their IEPs. Within their cooking 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.


Personal, social, health and economic development is fundamental for children and young adults 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 within their classes on a weekly basis. 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
  • An understanding of appropriate behaviour
  • A sensitivity to the needs of others
  • Taking responsibility for one’s own actions
  • An awareness of and respect for the variety of belief, language and culture in society.


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 (Tooting Leisure Centre)
  • Ball games
  • Multisport
  • Trampolining (FlipOut Wandsworth)
  • Skiing (Snowbility)
  • Gym (Post 16 – Wandle Leisure Centre / Carshalton College)
  • Individual and group sessions with the Occupational Therapists
    • Balance
    • Relaxation
    • Action
    • Values/vitality
    • Energy

The arts


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 weekly 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.


The art curriculum at Tram 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.

Geography, history, RE, drama/performing arts

We have a themed week once a term which incorporates other areas of the curriculum e.g. Geography, History, Religious Education (RE), Drama/Performing Arts.


Tram House School offer the following ASDAN courses: New Horizons for Year 7 and 8 pupils; Personal Progress for Years 9-11 pupils: Pupils in the Sixth Form continue to access the ASDAN programmes, with an emphasis on community participation and will work towards either Workright or Towards Independence.


From September 2020 Sixth Form pupils have also been working towards AQA Award Unit certificates in both vocational and academic areas. By the time pupils are in their final year at Tram House School, they will be working towards accreditation that is meaningful for them and will increase their employability skills for their futures. Please see the dedicated 6th Form page for more information.

Tram House: screen time audit report: 2020-2021