Dickens Heath Community Primary School

Enabling every child to be the best version of themselves

The Curriculum in the Willows

Given that the needs of our children in The Willows require a personalised learning approach, the life ready outcomes of: communication, team work, respect for others, resilience, determination, self-control, self-management, reflection, appropriate assertiveness, responsibility, confidence and ambition hold equal importance to the objectives of the National Curriculum. Holistic achievement has as much significance as academic progress and is celebrated with the same enthusiasm.


We have a robust transition and induction process to ensure children we fully get to know each children individually and that each child successfully and happily becomes secure in routines and systems in The Willows to be ready to access all we have to offer.


Typically when children first join The Willows and within our KS1 provision, our curriculum offer is heavily focused around engagement with learning and personal development. Children’s personal interests form the topics we use to deliver teaching and learning and a well-structured approach is taken to embed expectations and to teach children specific strategies and skills to use in order to be ready to learn, heavily weighted to address the social, emotional, communication, and sensory needs of the pupils. We have lessons or interventions that explicitly teach aspects of the Autism Framework.


We follow the National Curriculum, which is appropriately differentiated and personalised, tailored to meet each child’s individual needs. Children have individualised timetables, which are regularly reviewed, enabling them to access learning in the way which supports them to succeed, which may be within The Willows or mainstream classes. A multi-sensory approach is taken to re-engage and support children’s access to teaching and learning of key skills across the curriculum, to develop their confidence when tackling new learning. The teaching of core curriculum topics mirrors that of approaches used in mainstream, with a focus on visual stimuli and specific learning aids. When children are able to access mainstream learning they may integrate within the following lessons: Reading, Writing, Maths, Science, PE, Art, DT, RE, Music, Humanities and IT. When pupils integrate into the mainstream classes many of the strategies used with The Willows are adapted and implemented to ensure pupils succeed and access the learning.


We endeavour to provide our children in The Willows with as broad and balanced an education as possible. Alongside delivering the National Curriculum, we prioritise developing children’s life skills and well-being through a range of opportunities including therapeutic play, music and art sessions, cooking, forest school sessions, use of our school farm to care for animals, and community based learning through visits to local facilities such as the shops, library and park.


Assessment systems are used to track small step progress against academic and wider outcomes using the Autism framework.