At Churchward School, it is our intent that:
Many students who attend Churchward School have experienced complex and turbulent school journeys, disengagement with, and anxiety surrounding school and learning, and for the majority, significant trauma has accompanied these journeys. Re-engaging students in learning and providing supported, stimulating and motivating learning opportunities is therefore the primary purpose of our curriculum. Our aim is to rebuild trust and relationships and provide a welcoming and refreshing approach for our children and young people and their families, where the curriculum is planned around each student’s individual needs; ensuring exceptional care, support and guidance is offered to bring out the academic potential in each and every child and young person, ensuring they feel a valued member of our community.
The learning environment is key: providing a vibrant and caring school community through a safe, nurturing and enabling ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition) specialist environment that meets the diverse needs of our learners, including supporting their sensory differences. Many have a range of interlinking and complex needs which impact on the way they communicate, learn and make progress. At Churchward School, it is not merely about differentiation, it is about personalisation, where each student and their individual needs are put at the heart of decision making. We work collaboratively as a team around each student to recognise, identify and build on students’ strengths and interests in order to shape their curriculum offer, and in turn, shape their future through equipping them with the broad base of knowledge, skills and experience they need to achieve maximum success. The Thrive Approach and our interventions programmes are a crucial part of meeting students’ individual needs, supporting gaps in their learning and development and supporting them to achieve their personal and academic potential.
For our students we want to equip them with the cultural capital they need to be inspired to help and challenge themselves so that they are able to achieve self-fulfilment in their lives. Given that we are a specialist school for students with autism/social communication and interaction difficulties, supporting students to develop the core life values of independence and interdependence is key. Whilst at Churchward School, we aspire for every student to develop transferable skills to be able to:
• Acquire the knowledge and skills to make informed choices and decisions.
• Apply and develop their numeracy and literacy skills with confidence throughout their adult lives.
• Identify risks and seek support where needed to keep themselves safe.
• Equip themselves with emotional regulation skills and strategies to support their positive mental health.
• Identify with and find inspiration in elements of the curriculum offer in order to develop transferable skills for their future, for example, teamwork, problem solving, empathy, perseverance, resilience, curiosity and creativity.
• Develop an understanding of and ability to engage in safe, healthy and mutually rewarding relationships.
• Uphold the British Values of democracy, tolerance, mutual respect and the rule of law and liberty, feeling prepared for adult life in our diverse multi-cultural society.
• Develop responsible attitudes to their physical health – developing understanding of health and nutrition and identifying preferred physical activities/sports which they can take forward into adulthood.
• Engage in recreational activities they enjoy that give them fulfilment in their leisure time.
• Trust that their opinion is valued and feel confident to voice their opinions; being able to take on board others’ viewpoints and adjust their own accordingly. • Continue their education, building on the qualifications and skills they have learned at Churchward School to be able to achieve their goals.
• Contribute economically to their community – through paid/voluntary employment and have an understanding of how to manage their finances effectively.
In terms of accreditation, our aim is for all students to leave Churchward School with at least five qualifications. We provide regular opportunities for students to engage in accreditation at different levels to develop their confidence along their accreditation journey in Key Stages 4 and 5. This is to ensure that they have secured recognition of their achievements along their journey, in order to boost their confidence in their own abilities, as well as to reduce the pressure when it comes to final assessments for exams-based subjects such as GCSEs.
We aim to offer high quality teaching and learning opportunities and consistent standards and expectations across the whole curriculum offer, which in turn offer both predictability and aspiration for our students and encourage them to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem. The teaching and learning offer is personalised and adapted, not only to meet the child’s specific learning difficulties but their personal learning style, as well as ability. We invest significantly to ensure quality target and outcome setting through the annual review process and continually strive as a school to ensure that students’ Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) are live working documents within the classroom and when out and about in the community. This is to ensure that we are meeting each student’s holistic needs and offering them a relevant and meaningful curriculum which supports them effectively through key transitions and prepares them for their next phase of education or employment. We work towards equipping our students with the knowledge, the skills and independence they need to thrive in a less specialist environment and with reducing support over time. Our ultimate aim is to support all our students to make exceptional holistic progress from their starting points in order to become positive young people equipped with the life and work skills they need, for a sustainable future that is fulfilling for them.