Spa School Camberwell Curriculum Statement 

Our pupils face barriers to their learning created by their autism. Our curriculum is specifically designed to address these barriers, increase each pupil’s access to broader learning opportunities and support them to become the best adults they can be.  

The curriculum makes sure our pupils are  

  • happy, safe and healthy 

  • developing communication skills 

  • developing independence while learning and achieving 

  • getting ready for the future.  

Our curriculum is engaging, stimulating and designed to meet the needs of pupils with autism. It develops skills, builds confidence and self-esteem. It uses specialist approaches to help pupils with autism to learn.  

Curriculum Organisation 

Every pupil at Spa Camberwell has different needs and these needs can change over time. Our curriculum is designed so that learning is practical, active and matched to each pupil’s own needs and abilities. Teaching is structured and matched to the way each pupil learns.  

The Personalised Curriculum 

The personalised curriculum is structured through Personal Learning Plans (PLP). It focuses on a range of targets matched to each pupil’s needs. Targets are delivered through learning opportunities delivered through the schemes of work. Targets can include:  

  • Individual learning targets 

  • AET Autism Progression targets 

  • Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) outcomes and goals 

  • Positive behaviour support plans and targets 

  • Therapeutic interventions including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration, music therapy and psychotherapy. 

  • Transition towards adulthood targets 

Learning is structured through four key approaches: 

  • Getting Ready to Learn

  • Learning to Learn  

  • Learning Together  

  • Learning for the Future 

Pupils will follow elements from one, both or all approaches depending on their strengths and needs.   

The EYFS Curriculum: getting ready to learn 

Students in our Reception Class follow the EYFS curriculum. The Spa EYFS Curriculum is designed to meet the needs of children with autism and to support their transition when starting school.

Starting school is a big transition for our students and our EYFS curriculum supports them in getting ready to learn. There is a thematic approach that will increase happiness, reduce anxiety, provide communication opportunities and teach interaction skills. Our EYFS curriculum is a yearly transition that supports our students with being ready to learn in Key Stage 1.

Students will then transition to our Spa Core curriculum in Key Stage 1.

The Primary Curriculum: learning how to learn 

Children will develop key skills in Communication, Joint and Shared Attention, Social Interaction and Play. 

Children are offered a thematic based learning programme that:   

  • engages them   

  • builds skills in learning and thinking 

  • develops personal, emotional and social skills 

  • enables them to make connections 

  • helps them transfer knowledge, skills and understanding. 

The primary curriculum will be delivered though a thematic topic-based approach, with elements taken from the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the National Curriculum relevant to the needs of the cohort of students. The curriculum is designed around student needs and functional and meaningful topics and experiences. There is a two-year long-term plan for KS1 and a four-year plan for KS2. 

The Learning to Learn Curriculum 

Pupils with the highest level of need require a very individualised timetable. These pupils follow a highly personalised programme to develop:  

  • routine  

  • basic communication  

  • reduced anxiety 

  • joint / shared attention  

  • play and cooperative skills  

  • self-help and independence  

  • the ability to follow simple instructions  

  • turn-taking skills and the ability to wait, sit or be safe  

The Learning Together Curriculum 

The Learning Together Curriculum offers a thematic approach in primary and a subject based approach for secondary pupils. Access to group learning is increased along with a focus on independence skills for life at school and the broader community. Subject based learning objectives are set for each pupil in every lesson related to the subject and pupils develop their knowledge and skills. Personalised support continues to develop relevant aspects of the Learning to Learn Curriculum. 

The Learning Together Curriculum supports pupils to develop social aspects of learning. The curriculum focuses on  

  • functional communication 

  • reducing self-directed behaviours 

  • collaborative approaches  

  • group learning skills 

  • increased self-regulation 

  • increased social awareness 

The Secondary Curriculum: learning for the future 

Pupils will access relevant elements of the National Curriculum differentiated to meet their individual needs. They will build on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in the primary years as the curriculum emphasises increased independence and preparation for the future.  

Each subject in the secondary curriculum is taught separately with increased access to subject specialists. Pupils access specialist rooms and resources in Science, Cooking, Drama, Art and Music.  

Curriculum content is defined through schemes of work for each subject. The schemes are written by subject leaders and differentiated by each teacher to match the needs of each pupil. Each scheme of work focuses on a theme that lasts for half a term. There is a three-year long-term plan for KS3 and a two-year plan for KS4.   

Personalised learning objectives are set for each pupil in every lesson. All pupils continue to have a personalised weekly target in reading, writing, communication and number.  

The KS4 curriculum will prepare pupils for moving on. Pupils will  

  • be expected to work with a higher degree of independence 

  • increase their community-based learning 

  • have opportunities for work experience 

  • be prepared for the transition to Post 16 learning.  

Accredited courses will be introduced. All pupils will follow an accredited ASDAN course and Entry level qualifications in English, Maths, Science and Computing will be offered where appropriate.  

Ready for the Future 

The curriculum in each Key Stage is designed to prepare pupils for the next stages of their learning and lives beyond Spa Camberwell. Transition through the Key Stages is carefully structured with focused support for pupils moving to new settings. 

Spa Core Curriculum 

English, Maths and Communication 

There is clear emphasis and direct teaching in each of these areas. Every pupil will have weekly personalised targets for reading, writing, communication and number. A whole school approach to phonics teaching will be in place. Pupils will be offered a variety of activities best suited to the way they learn. Reading will be taught using a combination of approaches including a high-quality reading scheme alongside The Power of Reading approaches. Pupils will access a broad range of high-quality texts and literature.  

PSHE and Social Communication curriculum will focus on preparation for adulthood and independence.  

Our PSHE curriculum will: 

  • help pupils to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives at school and beyond 

  • foster understanding of the nature of relationships and how autism may affect these relationships 

  • develop citizenship and a respectful understanding of similarities and differences between themselves 

  • develop online safety 

  • support spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development, behaviour, safety and wellbeing. 

Our Social Communication curriculum is specifically designed to support our pupils’ individual specific communication and social interaction needs. Students rehearse and develop social skills to learn how to  

  • maintain and develop relationships 

  • co-operate and work productively at school  

  • understand and be confident in the broader community.   

The Social Communication curriculum is planned through schemes of work which address key issues such as  

  • communicating needs and wants  

  • taking turns  

  • working as part of a group  

  • asking for help  

  • interacting safely in the community.  


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