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.

To develop an understanding of how we support our students' progress throughout their journey at Churchward School, from Year 7 and beyond, please view
Our journey through Churchward School


For an overview of our curriculum offer, please view our Curriculum Infographic

Assessing progress - we have created an assessment system that is tailor-made around the needs of the students. Assessment Progress Diagram

To find out more about the Curriculum at Churchward School, please speak to your Child's teachers who will be happy to help.

Curriculum Offer

English, maths and PSHCE are the three core pillars that underpin the curriculum throughout the school as 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 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. We have subject specialists in English, maths, science, PSHCE, PE, creative arts and food technology, as well as five licensed Thrive practitioners.

Please refer to subject policies for specific detail of curriculum and assessment by subject by following the link: Curriculum School Policies

The Thrive Approach, which as outlined in Section 1, is a key part of our curriculum model, 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 all 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 must be our primary focus, before academic progress, as, 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 in an embedded way across the curriculum and 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.

Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, students access English, maths, science, PSHCE, creative arts, food technology, 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, enrichment afternoons and reward 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.

Key Stages 4/5
At Key Stage 4, students are taught in tutor groups for English, maths, science, PSHCE and Thrive which all students access, and in options groups for PE, creative 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, with progression on to extended work related learning opportunities which is a key feature of our provision at Churchward School due to our strong links and relationships with an increasing number of local employers and voluntary organisations as we grow as a school.

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 in a 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.

Nurture groups
Based in the heart of Churchward School we have a nurture class, ‘Obama’. Obama is for students with a higher level of learning need and for some of our students who need a more bespoke integration back into education after a period out of education, for example, 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. They access the rest of the curriculum with subject specialists and follow bespoke integration curriculum timetables, where appropriate (see below for further information).

Based at our Bagbury Park site, in a rural location on the outskirts of Swindon, we run a specialist integration programme, ‘Bridges’, with the aim of creating a pathway into education for children and young people who have either been without a school placement or who need a bespoke learning environment to help them engage in education. Students on the programme have a range of complex needs mainly focused around social, communication and interaction Difficulties which often coincide with a turbulent school history or family setting.

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 enrichment 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 therapy, dance and movement therapy, play therapy, horse riding, swimming, forest schools, Integration Curriculum.
  • Specific: School Counsellor, CAHMS, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, mentor through external provider.

Curriculum Aims

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 gaining the knowledge, skills and experience they need to achieve maximum success. It is this that makes the curriculum offer at Churchward School outstanding. 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 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:

· Apply and develop their numeracy and literacy skills with confidence throughout their adult lives.

· Equip themselves with emotional regulation skills and strategies to support their positive mental health.

· Develop an understanding of and ability to engage in safe, healthy and mutually rewarding relationships.

· 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.

· Identify risks and seek support where needed to keep themselves safe.

· 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.

· Acquire the knowledge and skills to make informed choices and decisions.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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.

We work towards equipping our students with 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.


In terms of accreditation, our aim is for all students to leave Churchward School with at least five qualifications, that are meaningful to them, at an appropriate level. 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.

Please refer to our Churchward School ‘Qualifications Offer’ (click here to view). 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.

To find out more about the Curriculum at Churchward School, please speak to your Child's teachers who will be happy to help.