New Bridge School’s discrete Autism provision is a consistent environment for students who find it difficult to adapt to too much change. The curriculum echoes that of the main school and students enjoy all subjects and have full access to all the school’s facilities. The students’ communication needs are the main focus in the Autism Base. These are met through our interactive, total communication approach using symbols, signs and solid objects of reference to enhance learning.

New Bridge School is an environment which employs specific and established routines complemented by a total communication system supported by Speech and Language Therapists. Many staff are qualified in using PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and picture symbols are used throughout the school alongside Signalong, all of which supports students’ communication. Routines are consistent and predictable in order for students to learn in a ‘safe’ environment that they understand and feel able to control. Within this environment, the learning process has been developed with high but realistic expectations, promoting, as far as possible, social initiation and interaction.

The provision itself allows specific individual work areas as well as a communal area to encourage group interaction. The teaching area has full access to the Internet through the school’s local area network and use of programs such as Writing With Symbols and Interactive Writer with which the students are familiar in their current learning environment.

Security systems are in place in all indoor teaching and play areas.

The Autism Base seeks to provide a broad, balanced, relevant, meaningful and motivating curriculum to develop the specific strengths, needs, interests and aspirations of our pupils. We offer differentiated learning challenges and use our specialist environment and knowledge to enable pupils to recognise and nurture their strengths and to overcome potential barriers to learning. We ensure that our curriculum provides progression and coherence, systematically building on pupil’s individual existing knowledge and skills. In this way school responds to individual diverse learning needs to support transition through school.

The curriculum is used to develop pupil confidence, interest in and understanding of the world around them. Differentiated, personalised provision enables pupils to become increasingly independent as they transfer learning between school, home and the wider community.

We provide a curriculum that enables all of our pupils to make a positive contribution to a society in which they are confident, apply their skills and aptitudes, and able thereby to continue in future lifelong learning, and in work and leisure activity.

The Autism Core Curriculum is based upon 4 areas of learning in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4:

  • Functional Academic Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Leisure Skills

With an additional 2 areas at Key Stage 5:

  • Pre-work Skills
  • Work Skills

(There is some flexibility to introduce pre-work skills at Key Stage 4 depending on the ability of the student)

Key Learning Targets are set in each of the Core Curriculum Areas and these are then achieved via the following Curriculum content:

Core Subjects

This mirrors the Core Curriculum of the main school. Apart from ICT these subjects are delivered by the staff in the discrete bases following advice and input from Subject Specialists:

  • English
  • Maths
  • ICT
  • Living Skills

Enrichment Subjects

These are subjects we have chosen which provide students with the opportunity to generalise and develop their skills in a range of different contexts. They are delivered by a mixture of specialist teaching staff and staff from the discrete provisions. We aim to base the decision around who delivers these lessons on the skills base of the latter staff to ensure that the quality of teaching received by the students is always of the highest standard:

Key Stage 3/Key Stage 4

  • Art
  • Horticulture
  • Science
  • Music
  • Dance/Drama
  • Work Skills
  • PE/Exercise/Swimming

Autism Specific Enrichment

These additional curriculum components provide specific input based on the communication, social interaction and generalisation needs of the young people on the Spectrum:

  • Sensory Diet
  • Social Communication
  • Community Access
  • Outdoor Education