Our aim, through our curriculum, is to embed our vision to Inspire Excellence – Challenge Potential – Empower Learning by ensuring the whole need of each child is met through a comprehensive programme that addresses their academic learning whilst also supporting those difficulties that arise from their autistic spectrum diagnosis.

Our school curriculum is person centred and tailored to the needs of our autistic learners. The curriculum offers pathways for students to learn from personalised programmes that address the needs and difficulties as outlined within the DSM-5. The DSM-5 identifies these areas as;

  • a) Difficulties with social communication and interaction and;
  • b) Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities (sensory behaviours are now included and recognised within this).

At The Grove we aim to realise our school vision through our curriculum by supporting our students to:

  • Manage their autism through access to tailored programmes and therapeutic support;
  • Have access to a wide curriculum taught in an accessible format
  • Have access to practical experiences that build on particular interests, abilities and enjoyment
  • Acquire key literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills that are meaningful,
  • Achieve external and accredited qualifications that match each student’s’ potential.
  • Acquire independence skills to become successful members of the community and prepare them for transition into adulthood

Our aims will be achieved through the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum
that is:

  • Highly personalised and tailored to meet individual needs
  • Flexible and responsive to need
  • Differentiated and language rich to support communication
  • Age and needs appropriate
  • Within the framework of the National Curriculum, appropriate for each student
  • Focused on providing learning for life and independence skills
  • Designed to provide qualifications and meaningful experiences for the world of work
  • Supported through the integration and collaboration of a multidisciplinary team
  • Centred on personal learning programmes (PLP) that are linked to EHCP outcomes
  • Culture rich which includes the promotion of key British Values



The school curriculum is designed to meet the educational needs of the students at the school, this includes the difficulties that arise from their autism. This means that learning has to be practical, active and relevant to each student’s capacity and level of need. Our students learn through practical experiences, through consistent and structured teaching and learning situations with opportunities to generalise skills learnt.

The curriculum is organised into different pathways (see Fig 1);

  • The Engagement Curriculum
  • The Semi-Formal Pathway 1
  • The Semi-Formal Pathway 2
  • Formal Curriculum Pathway 3
  • Formal Curriculum Pathway 4

Students follow whichever pathway is appropriate for their need and level of attainment. Some students may work flexibly between two pathways.


  Semi-Formal Curriculum Formal Curriculum
Academic Pathway 1
Usually in the pre-key stage standard 1 & 2 range
Pathway 2
Usually in the pre-key stage standard 3 & 4 range
Pathway 3
Usually in the standard 5 & 6
(KS1 National Curriculum)
Pathway 4
National Curriculum
(Age related)
Formal Frameworks
  • A thematic approach provides a framework for the development of both early knowledge and skills. The curriculum is based on areas of EYFS programme, the Equals® Semi-formal curriculum and the early National Curriculum framework.


  • The National Curriculum either adapted or delivered at age related expectation
  • A thematic approach drawn from the Primary Curriculum provides a framework for the development of both knowledge and skills.



Semi Formal Aspects Extended semi-formal curriculum to include;

  • Communication & emotional regulation (SCERTS)
  • Independence and life skills (Including learning skills)
  • Play and Leisure skills
  • Thinking and problem skills (Including flexible thinking)
Threading through the formal curriculum the extended semi-formal curriculum to Include;

  • Communication & emotional regulation (SCERTS)
  • Independence and life skills (Including learning skills)
  • Play and leisure skills
  • Thinking and problem skills (Including flexible thinking)
  • KS1 & KS2 – Repeated 3 year cycle
  • KS3 – 3 year cycle
  • KS4 – 2 year cycle
  • KS2 – Yearly cycle
  • KS3 – Yearly cycle
  • KS4 – Yearly cycle


The Engagement Curriculum

A very small percentage of our pupils are working within the engagement curriculum. Many are within the primary department and often move quickly to our semi-formal curriculum.

The engagement curriculum is a broad non-subject curriculum which aims to develop early skills and knowledge in the following areas;

  • Communication
  • Play and Leisure
  • Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Independence
  • PHSE

Emphasis is preparing the child for subject specific teaching in the semi-formal pathways.

The semi-formal curriculum termly themes are followed to provide different experiences and exposures to learning.

The key areas of Engagement that we focus on are;

  • Exploration
  • Realisation
  • Anticipation
  • Persistence
  • Initiation

Target setting will be derived from the child’s EHCP and broken down as individual targets on their Personalised Learning Plan (PLP). Formative assessment throughout the term informs the termly PLP updates and review.

The Semi-Formal Curriculum

The semi-formal curriculum provides a framework to develop key skills that are related to the difficulties typically faced by our autistic learners and the areas of learning that are not naturally assimilated in the same way a neurotypical peer may do so.

It is our belief that these areas are fundamental to a child’s development and their readiness for further learning. Once a child has reached a stage whereby they understand communicative intent and are able to communicate their needs, preferences and choices with a partner or partners to a degree whereby they can access learning, they can then progress towards a more formal curriculum and style of learning.

The semi-formal curriculum is delivered as a thematic approach which runs parallel to the formal curriculum. Emphasis is weighted towards developing key skills in;

  • communication
  • social Communication and Emotional Regulation based Curriculum (SCERTS)
  • development of play and leisure skills
  • development of thinking and problem solving skills
  • development of Independence Skills to include functional and life skills.
  • development of the essential prerequisite skills required to access the National Curriculum framework, including EYFS

The Formal Curriculum

The formal curriculum is delivered through either a thematic approach or subject based, depending on the age range and ability.

Programmes of study are drawn from the International Primary Curriculum and the National Curriculum. Aspects of the semi-formal curriculum are embedded within the formal curriculum to support and develop learning in areas that are recognised a key challenges for our autistic learners. Particular reference is on the SCERTS® framework and the life skills curriculum.

Modern Foreign Languages

MFL does not form part of the taught curriculum for all pupils and it’s delivery and design has been designed for the needs of the pupils and their developmental stages of learning. You can read more about MFL and Cultural Studies at The Grove here Statement for Modern Foreign Languages at The Grove

The Personalised Curriculum

The personalised curriculum is identified through the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) and focuses on the additional interventions and support that is required by our students to enable them to access their learning and development which includes:

  • Individual learning targets
  • SCERTS targets
  • Pen portraits
  • Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) targets
  • 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

There is no formalised curriculum that is designed around a student’s individual targets, rather they are designed to steer learning opportunities within the curriculum schemes of work.

Life Skills & Independence Towards Adulthood

We aim for all our students to develop functional skills for living so each of them is able to lead a fulfilling and substantially independent life. We recognise that for young people with autism every experience may provide a learning experience. Our approach to teaching functional skills and life skills is at the core of our curriculum where our framework can be taught within the programmes of study and the schemes of work. You can read the Grove Essential Life skills Intent here The Grove Essential Life Skills Vision & Intent

Input from the speech and language therapist, occupational therapist and other professionals supports the delivery of the life skills curriculum through personal programmes. Areas such as functional life skills and communication are very weighted towards support from therapists.

The life skills curriculum is not seen as linear learning, rather, it is a broad framework in which each child works. The pathways will be determined by each individual’s;

  • outcomes on their EHCP and PSP
  • strengths and areas of development
  • own need as assessed by the parents, staff, therapists, professionals and where possible, the student

Our curriculum includes ample opportunity to develop life skills through the experience of daily activities both on and off site. Furthermore, there is a key focus to each topic or area taught and these are integrated across the day in addition to discrete sessions. There is a strong emphasis on working in partnership with families to ensure the teaching of life skills span across the student’s day including before and after school. The AET progression framework has been adapted to provide a framework for measuring progress within each area of learning.

There are six units of work withint he curriculum that include; 1. My social self, 2. My Personal Care & Health, 3.My Safety, 4. My Play & Leisure Time, 5. My Independence, 6. My Travelling. You can read the full overview here: The Grove Life skills Overview


More information about our taught curriculum can be found under the Learning Tab

1. Curriculum

  • KS1 & KS2 Curriculum
  • KS3 & KS4 Curriculum
  • Secondary East Curriculum
  • Post 16 Curriculum
  • Personal Development

More Curriculum information can be found under our Approach Tab

  • Enrichment Curriculum & Residential Trips
  • Careers
  • Life Skills
  • Therapy

If you would like to know more about the school’s curriculum, you can contact us directly using the information on the ‘contact us’ tab or by clicking here.

Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP)

Every pupil who attends The Grove will have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). The EHCP is reviewed annually through a Person Centered Annual Review. Parents and the pupils are a vital part of this discussion and reflection on progress.

Pupil’s personal targets are derived from the EHCP targets. Annual targets are discussed at the Annual Review and set for the following academic year. Short term targets are set each term to provide the incremental steps to achieve the Annual, medium term targets.

Parents and carers are invited in 3 times a year at the Pupil Progress Meetings to agree the short term targets and review progress.

The areas in the EHCP are addressed through the different aspects of the school’s curriculum and work with a focus on the specific school wide approaches as outlined below.

Cognition & Learning
  • School Wide Academic Curriculums within bespoke Pathways and adapted to the needs of each pupil
  • Wide Enrichment Programme
  • School wide SMSC, RSE and PHSE Curriculums
  • Careers Curriculum
  • Transition Towards Adulthood Plans (year 9+)
  • Employability and Work Experience
Communication & Interaction
  • SCERTS Framework
  • Autism Wide Communication Strategies such as PECS
  • Social Skills Groups
  • School based Speech and Language Therapy Team
  • Attention Tracker
Social, Emotional & Mental Health
  • SCERTS Framework
  • School based Pastoral Team led by the DSL
  • PBS and ZoR Frameworks
  • Engagement Tracker
  • S.E.A.R.C.H Ethos and Values
  • Outdoor earning and Forest School
  • Art and Music Therapy 
  • Wider work with CAMHS
Physical & Sensory
  • PE Specialist 
  • School based Occupational Therapy Team
  • Specialist Equipment and Facilities
Self Help & Independence
  • Life Skills Curriculum (Passports)
  • Functional Skills Programme (With OT)
  • Pupil Voice such as school council & the well-being committee

Personalised Support Plans

The school writes each pupil a detailed Personalised Support Plan (PSP) which identifies the targets and steps towards meeting the goals within the EHCP. It details the resources and strategies that the school and staff will adopt in order to support the child’s outcomes.

The PLP is made up of detailed sections that include;

  • Pupil’s Pen Portrait
  • Pupil’s Well-being Plan (including support for mental health)
  • Pupil’s Transition towards Adulthood Plan (from year 9+)

PSPs are written in consultation with the school based multi-disciplinary teams and the pastoral team.

Further Information about our Curriculum

If you would like further information about our school curriculum you can contact our Curriculum Lead: Helen Georgiades, Deputy Head: helen.georgiades@thegroveschool.co.uk