Curriculum Intent

What is the intent of our curriculum?


  • Provide learning activities that are motivating and meaningful to the child, which may be adapted to reflect areas of pupil interest and focus

  • Support children to ‘fall in love with the social world’, to see people as intrinsically important and meaningful sources of support and reciprocal communication

  • Support children to learn the names of their key adults and to use these names to seek support and enjoyment in communication

  • Provide all pupils with the necessary knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life, and to work toward the accumulation of sufficient knowledge and skills to for future learning and employment

  • To use words to communicate with people for support, enjoyment and learning

  • Enable pupils to engage with learning so they understand this learning has a meaning to them and they are self-motivated to learn throughout their lives

  • Provide broad and balanced learning experiences that meet statutory requirements

  • Provide a child-centred curriculum which enables all children to enjoy learning experiences and achieve success, and celebrate the success of others

  • Enable each child to communicate as effectively as possible, and to develop their ability to communicate their thoughts, desires, needs and feelings both in school and the wider community

  • Maximise the achievements of all pupils in order to help each one ‘learn to learn’ and think more effectively

  • Provide opportunities for self-expression, self-awareness and creativity, which also encourages a joy in learning and in the social world, in order to develop their confidence and self esteem

  • Ensure that every child feels cared for within a safe and secure environment with a warm and positive ethos

  • Enable children to develop physical skills, independence and self-esteem and experience success within their learning environment

  • Encourage high expectations of behaviour with an emphasis on helping each child to recognise and develop appropriate behaviour and conduct in a range of social situations

Curriculum Intent - learning stages

At Hinderton our intent is to move all pupils toward a formal subject based curriculum during their time at our school. Due to the nature of their Autism and associated learning difficulties, many of our pupils will need time and support before they are ready for a fully formal education, and we recognise that for a significant period pupils may require an adapted informal or semi-formal approach, with adaptations required in the planning and delivery of their education.

During the course of their career through Hinderton, pupils may progress through these stages relatively quickly or may require an extended period as their own skills are embedded and can be generalised.

Informal Stage

Some pupils at this stage may require a very high level of individualised play based learning where they begin to learn to:

  • Recognise other people as being intrinsically important and as a source of help, support and communication

  • be in close proximity to other children in a learning context

  • face in the same direction as a group of children in joint attention of a shared activity

  • ‘learn to learn’ and begin to understand simple motivators or ‘choose’ systems based on a basic ‘now and next’ approach

When planning for pupils whose learning is through the informal stage, the teachers plan lessons where a higher proportion of the lesson is focused on the essential skills curriculum. Teachers refer to the SCERTS model and the Cheshire Essential Skills Syllabus (CHESS) for developing the pupils communication, understanding and managing their feelings, problem-solving and coping and tolerance skills. By making it our priority to teach our pupils these core skills, we are enabling them to make a successful transition through school life into adulthood.

The semi-formal stage

This stage of our curriculum delivery would describe much of the teaching from Key Stage 1 to the mid way point of the Key Stage 2. In semi-formal education, pupils would take part in lessons which have a specific discipline as the description of the lesson, such as science. However, within the plan for the science lesson the teacher would be planning to deliver a strand of learning based on a child’s EHC plan, as well as our Essential Skills Curriculum. This would mean that alongside a lesson in which a child was learning about solids, liquids and gases, they would also be ‘learning to learn’ and being taught practical skills such as the ability to take turns in a group activity, to face in the same direction as a group in a shared attention activity, or to understand how a ‘Choose’ based behaviour token system works to earn time on a preferred activity. These two strands are reflected in the medium term plans and lesson planning prepared by class teachers, and in the information shared with parents on Tapestry.

The formal stage

Our intention is to move most pupils during the course of Key Stage 2 to a mainly formal based curriculum. Reliance on external motivators such as Choose items and toys is gradually reduced and a greater emphasis based on the intrinsic motivator of pride in our work and achievements. The amount of time devoted to ‘Choose’ will tend to reduce as time progresses and will sometimes be replaced by a weekly ‘Golden time’ group reward session which the whole class will work toward. Class teachers may also develop class motivational activities toward a common reward over a longer time period. Teachers will support the pupils in working toward more abstract motivators such as classroom lesson points shared with parents via the Arbor app or parent portal. Classes may also develop the ability to work toward class group rewards earned collaboratively to promote teamwork and group identity. At this stage the amount of adult directed ‘work’ activity will increase as a child shows that they are developing an internal self-motivation to take part in learning for its own sake. The structure of lessons will tend to reduce the amount of independent workstation based TEACCH activities and increase the amount of time when pupils work together as a group for the majority of lesson time.