Curriculum Content

Our Offer 

English, maths and PSHCE underpin the curriculum throughout the school. Churchward School strongly believes that PSHCE in conjunction with strong basic skills in English and maths are the key elements to our students’ success, not only within school but also in their future choices. These subjects are taught discretely as well as reinforced and applied throughout the curriculum where appropriate. Our strong team of passionate subject specialists and the integrity and dedication of the whole team underpins the success of personalised student-centred provision at Churchward School, ensuring equal opportunities for all. 

The Thrive Approach, which as outlined in Section 1, is a key part of our curriculum model. It is a dynamic, developmental and trauma-sensitive approach to meeting the emotional and social needs of children and young people. Trained Thrive practitioners create action plans to work with all students at whatever stage they are at; strategies and interventions are woven into areas of the curriculum as well as providing discrete lessons for each class group. Supporting students to develop their social communication and interaction skills, emotional regulation and flexibility of thought are golden threads which are embedded throughout the curriculum at Churchward School, as these areas reflect the primary needs of our students. These social and emotional needs are our focus, alongside academic progress, as we know, safe secure and happy children learn. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development and British Values are also embedded into the curriculum and other teaching and learning opportunities across the school, for example, assemblies, lunchtimes, reward time and community outings. In addition, both citizenship and online safety are taught specifically through PSHCE.

Students are supported to access relevant and appropriate careers advice through a range of different agencies and professionals. It is a key feature of Churchward School’s PSHCE curriculum – ‘careers education/living in the wider world’ and provides a differentiated offer each year right from Year 7 to Year 14, alongside the Talentino careers programme Churchward School - Careers Education.

Churchward School benefits from a high level of adult support which facilitates the delivery of our bespoke learning packages, ability to meet students’ individual needs and ensure appropriate levels of support and challenge throughout the curriculum, under the skilful guidance of our subject teachers.

Please follow the link to view the Curriculum Options Booklet Key Stage 4

To find out more about the Curriculum, please contact your child's tutor or the school office.


A core part of the specialist curriculum at Churchward School is our interventions programme which we aim to run as a seamless part of our curriculum offer to target students at their point of learning need and support them making maximum progress, by providing them with specialist support with their social, emotional and academic needs. Student target setting and progress reviews inform these interventions to ensure maximum progress for every student.

At Churchward School our interventions operate at 3 different levels: whole school, targeted and specific. Each level becomes more focused than the last one. Our interventions are always led by trained staff and are either integrated within our English, Maths and Thrive sessions or run as discrete sessions for those learners who need it. Examples of interventions at each level are as follows:

Whole school: Accelerated Reader access, Thrive class action plans, community and personal development time.

Targeted: Accelerated Reader intervention, Myon projects, Clicker, Docs Plus, Toe by Toe, Letters and Sounds phonics, Thrive individual action plans, Draw and Talk, Lego therapy, music interventions, dance and movement interventions, play interventions, horse riding, swimming, forest schools, Reintegration Curriculum.

Specific: School Counsellor, CAHMS, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy.

External providers and support

Our curriculum is enhanced through the use of external providers, as appropriate, such as weekly visits to horse riding, sailing, swimming and peripatetic music lessons. In addition, other approved alternative providers such as local colleges or other providers are used to offer other vocational and academic courses, for example, animal care, music and photography. Extended work experience placements with external employers are also a key part of our curriculum to support students’ specific interests – a broad range of placements are sought and offered in areas such as animal care, leisure and tourism and sports online learning courses.

Additional support is available when appropriate, to complement teaching and learning and ensure optimum student progress. This is through a wide range of professionals, for example, CAHMS, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, the School Nursing Service and local PCSOs. These professionals provide an advisory input for school staff as well as practical sessions working directly with Churchward School students.

Personalised target setting and monitoring of progress

Each Churchward School student has books/folders and annotated evidence electronically with the ‘Evidence for Learning’ app that clearly evidences starting points and progress made. The EHCP informs the long term and 12 monthly targets for each student – these targets are agreed in consultation with students, parents, school staff and other professionals as appropriate, via the annual review process and regular consultations with parents and carers. These targets and outcomes are easily accessible within Evidence for Learning to ensure that progress is actively supported within and beyond the classroom. Subject specific targets are displayed as appropriate to ensure they are accessible to both students and staff and are personalised to the student to ensure support and challenge is provided to maximise progress from their starting point.

Differentiated learning objectives are set across all subjects supporting the development of knowledge and skills. Where appropriate, these are based on Blooms Taxonomy; supporting students to acquire depth of acquisition of knowledge with a focus on information that is relevant and purposeful for them to apply in their everyday lives. Due to the majority of our students having a diagnosis of autism, it is important for them to see the functional links of their learning and is key to their engagement. Student voice, e.g. through focus groups and the School Council, and reflective practice has been key in helping us determine the curriculum offer at Churchward School to make it as successful and meaningful for them as possible.

There are progress tracking spreadsheets in place to monitor progress against intervention targets and identify next steps.

Students who attend the Bridges programme have termly Curriculum targets linked to the EHCPs and baseline testing in Maths and English. These are displayed on Evidence for Learning as well as in their folders. Progress against these targets are discussed in lessons throughout the term. These targets are shared with students, staff and parents.


Please refer to our Churchward School ‘Qualifications Offer’. Qualifications at a variety of levels are offered, for example, Entry Level, Functional Skills and GCSE qualifications, as well as subject specific qualifications such as the Arts Award and Sports Leader Award. Students may also be given the opportunity to gain other recognised qualifications which can be linked to work experience placements or alternative provisions in conjunction with their interests and aspirations, for example, food hygiene, animal care or horticulture. Churchward School is committed to validating the skills, knowledge and learning of all our young people and providing each of them with relevant and meaningful qualifications that reflect their aspirations and curiosity in the world around them.

Curriculum Organisation

Key Stage 3

In Key Stage 3, students access English, Maths, Science, PSHCE, RE, Arts, Food Preparation and Nutrition, Music and Humanities (history, geography and Religious Education). Dedicated time to support students’ primary need of social communication and interaction is facilitated through community outings, personal development and enrichment time as a core part of tutor groups’ timetables. This broad curriculum offer aims to create opportunities which engage and encourage students to try different activities, learn new skills, challenge themselves and above all, develop a love of learning. This then provides them with a strong foundation from which our young people can progress onto Key Stage 4 and make informed choices to engage in different vocational pathways and qualifications.

At their Year 9 annual review, the student, their family, professionals involved, and school are involved in writing their Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) Personalised Progression Pathway (PPP) which is key to their curriculum, interventions, opportunities on offer and support going forward to support each student working towards and achieving their personal aspirations and goals.

Key Stages 4/5

We currently have five classes: one Year 10, two Year 11/12 classes and a Year 12-14 class as well as a nurture-based class.

At Key Stage 4, students are taught in tutor groups for English, Maths, Science, RE, PSHCE and Thrive which all students access, and options groups for PE, Arts and Food Technology. In Key Stages 4 and 5, students’ progress onto a more targeted curriculum linked to their specific interests, aspirations and needs mapped out in their PfA PPP, with progression on to extended work related learning opportunities.

Students’ PfA PPPs are live working documents throughout Key Stage 4 and formally reviewed and updated at their annual review to ensure appropriate provision, support and interventions are in place, to support students staying on track towards their goals and meeting their needs as they evolve and are further defined.

The vast majority of students will continue working under a Key Stage 4 model of qualification options and extended work experience, until they have achieved a portfolio of basic qualifications, to give them a solid grounding to progress on to specialise in their specific interests – for some students this may be beyond Year 11. Once they have achieved this, the Key Stage 5 curriculum is further aimed to prepare students for life after school and adulthood. Students have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest whilst maintaining access to the core areas of learning of English, Maths and PSHCE at an appropriate level, either 1:1 or at Churchward School or external provision whole class setting, for example, at a local college or with an alternative provider. Off-site learning through supported work placements, college links and alternative provisions is a key feature of our offer at Key Stage 5 to support our young people specialise in their preferred areas and develop confidence and independence away from the safe and familiar setting of school.

Students’ PfA PPPs are live working documents throughout Key Stage 5 and formally reviewed and updated at their annual review to ensure appropriate provision, support and interventions are in place to support students staying on track towards their goals and meeting their needs as they evolve and are further defined.

Nurture Groups

Based in one of the heart spaces of Churchward School we have two nurture classes, ‘Obama’ and ‘Mandela’. Obama is for students with a higher level of learning need and for some of our students who need a more bespoke reintegration back into education after a period out of education, e.g. those with severe anxiety. In the nurture group they spend more curriculum time with their tutor than other classes, i.e. for English, Maths, PSHCE and humanities, to provide them with increased familiarity, consistency, routine and predictability in order to develop their confidence and self-esteem and meet their complex learning and emotional needs in order to reduce their anxiety and in time work towards integrating into a main class. Mandela is for older students in KS4 and KS5. These students also have a higher level of learning need and so spend more time with their tutor during Maths and some English lessons. They access the rest of the curriculum with subject specialists and follow bespoke reintegration curriculum timetables, where appropriate.