Curriculum Intent

We would like St Nicholas School to be a school in which our pupils, parents and staff can learn in a safe, supportive and inquisitive environment. At St Nicholas School, our motto is ‘Learning Together’ as this encompasses the collaborative approach to helping our special pupils achieve their full potential, regardless of their ability. Our vision is for the children at St Nicholas School to be given daily learning experiences that enable them to be equipped with the skills, resilience and life experiences to become healthy, active and respectful learners.


The key principles behind the design of our curriculum is as follows:

  1. Children feel cared about and are happy, secure, motivated, stimulated and valued.
  2. The learning environment is well organised, is attractive and celebrates children’s achievements.
  3. Children learn most effectively when they participate in a variety of situations that are interesting, stimulating and fun.
  4. The learning task is matched to the children’s ability.
  5. For children to form positive relationships and partnerships with their peers and adults based on value and respect.
  6. There is a strong relationship between home and school.
  7. Children’s physical, social, spiritual, moral and emotional needs are catered for.
  8. Cultural diversity and the wider world is celebrated and incorporated into the curriculum alongside positive promotion of disability and gender issues.
  9. Children’s individual sensory, communication and behaviour needs are met so that they can access learning.
  10. Expectations are high but achievable for all pupils. Feedback is formative, positive and delivered in an accessible way.
  11. There is a clear sequencing of learning throughout the school.
  12. Children use technology appropriately as an aid for learning.
Click to see the topics covered by each year group

Curriculum Implementation

In EYFS and Key Stage 1, teachers plan and deliver continuous provision ensuring they use child-led resources and setting clear routines. In Key Stage 2, children follow an adapted National Curriculum. Contexts for learning are well considered so that they are meaningful to pupils and are linked to pupil interests. Adults in both key stages use communication aids to support children transitioning from one activity to another and alternative teaching approaches such as TEACCH and Attention Autism allow some of our sensory and non-verbal learners to access the curriculum. Where appropriate, a personalised learning approach is also implemented. All adults ensure that the basic needs of the pupils are met e.g. toileting, food, water and giving them a means to communicate. Staff assess using the school’s own Assessment Booklets and use tracking data to inform future planning. SLT use tracking data to be aware of children who are not making as much progress and discuss class intervention strategies where appropriate. Feedback is given to children in a way that is appropriate to their cognitive ability e.g. immediate verbal feedback is given to younger children to show that they have dome something well and stickers or certificates are given to celebrate achievements. Older children and those with more cognitive ability are show how to improve their work and develop their skills.


Teachers adopt a commonality approach to the classroom environment so that children become familiar to the resources available. Classroom activities that engage and are of interest to the children are planned for and delivered throughout the day. Classroom displays use signs, symbols and visuals that allow children to access the learning and support them in becoming familiar with the routine of the school day.  PECS and Makaton is used throughout the curriculum to allow children to communicate. Snack time and carpet time provide opportunities for children to use their communication skills with their friends in an informal environment. Children’s work is displayed regardless of ability. Where appropriate, some classrooms may limit their amount of displays so that there is limited sensory stimulation for the children. Every pair of classrooms has a shared space that  allows children to access quiet 1:1 or small group learning. Children have access to the whole learning environment including an outdoor learning classroom, a sensory room and a sensory integration room. Children’s sensory needs are met through a range of sensory integration strategies and a sensory diet. The children have access to a dedicated sensory room that is timetabled for small group use as well as a Sensory Integration room for use by appropriate children. The school has adopted the Pro-ACT SCIPr approach to behaviour where proactive approaches are implemented. The school works closely with other professionals such as OT, CAHMs, SALT and Social Care to ensure individual needs are met.


Teachers plan in year groups incorporating multi-sensory approaches and children’s interests.  Schemes of work are written by subjects leaders and these have clear sequencing and progression where skills are built upon. Teaching is delivered creatively, is adaptable and flexible with cross curricular links and is differentiated to make it accessible to all.  Children have opportunities to over learn new concepts so that they are embedded. Appropriate resources, including a range of sensory and IT resources such as iPads, Beebots, Computers, Talking Tiles and Interactive whiteboards, are used to enhance the learning. Apps and programmes that children access include Education City, Purple Mash, Lego WeDo and Busy Things. Individualised strategies such as TEACCH and Colourful Semantics are used where appropriate. Teachers plan for opportunities for outings and for visitors to support and complement the learning. Topic areas can be child led, adapted to develop in line with children’s interests as they learn and allowing them to work within the EYFS framework and National Curriculum requirements. Feedback from previous learning focuses on next steps and helps to inform planning. All staff are involved in the feedback, planning and learning for their class.


At St Nicholas School, we strive to keep a strong relationship between home and school. Parents are invited to contribute to school events such as International Week or to share their own experiences e.g. jobs, or their role in the community as well as being invited to whole school events such as Christmas Shows, Sports Days etc. Parents coffee mornings are held regularly and these are informal as well as formal. Training is offered to parents such as Makaton, behaviour training and information on the curriculum taught and how it is taught. Class teachers make weekly contact with their parents in their class detailing what the children have learnt that week and what they will be learning in the next week. Pupil passports are also shared with parents and teachers suggest strategies for parents to use at home.


St Nicholas School has adopted a Rights Respecting Schools Ethos that teachers children about their rights and the rights of others. Through their PSHE lessons, children are taught to respect and value themselves and others. They are also taught how to eat healthily and how to look after their bodies in Science and PSHE. Children also follow an adapted SRE curriculum. Children are taught how to stay actively healthy through PE lessons where they are taught a range of skills. The children are also taught how to ride a bike or scooter safely and how to make sure they are safe when riding. Children are given an opportunity to attend a range of after school clubs as well as in-school Friday afternoon clubs. There are further opportunities for structured and unstructured social interaction and play between peers and adults e.g. through school clubs, social time or through the curriculum. Staff plan for group tasks and are encouraged to reflect on the contribution of all children. Children have weekly assemblies based on the UNICEF rights of the child where they learn not only about their rights but the rights of others. Children learn about other countries and cultures through their Geography and RE lessons and through the EYFS. The school also enjoys holding themed weeks such as International week or Road Safety week. Staff are trained and are knowledgeable on a range of disabilities and strategies to support each disability and, through their daily learning experiences, children are taught how to be resilient and to never give up.


Curriculum Impact

  • The children at St Nicholas are happy to come to school and parents give positive feedback.
  • Children are confident to communicate with adults and peers in a range of environments. Children feel loved, build strong relationships and are able to freely communicate.
  • Children accept that making a mistake is okay and that they can learn from their mistakes.
  • Children are able to self-regulate and obtain mutual regulation.
  • Children are secure and confident in their ability to explore their environment and use resources with purpose. The classroom learning environment is calm and relaxed and reflects the positive attitude to learning.
  • Children enjoy seeing their work displayed and this promotes pride in their work and achievements. Children not only celebrate their own achievements but also recognise the achievements of others.
  • By following the EYFS curriculum for a further 2 years, children in year 2 are able to reach their Early Learning Goals—a foundation for future learning. Our curriculum means that children are better prepared for the next stage of their learning journey and engagement with the local community. Children have a better understanding of the daily routine.
  • Children are engaged and involved in their learning. They share their learning outside of school and generalise their skills taught. They take ownership in their learning and are proud to share their achievements.
  • Children not only make good progress in Maths and English but also in their PSED and this is evident in the Assessment Tracking Data. Teachers know and understand how best to support those children who are not making as much progress through targeted intervention.
  • Children are able to use their experience of their positive relationship to outside of school and life going forward. They are able to transfer their skills and knowledge of appropriate behaviours and language in home life.
  • Children show compassion and understanding of their own and other unique and individual needs.
  • Children begin to understand the boundaries in place for appropriate relationships.
  • Parents are equipped with the knowledge and skills of SEND which enables them to have more confidence supporting their child with SEND. Children are proud to have their parents and siblings in school to share and celebrate in their achievements.
  • Children feel safe and secure not only within their environment but also to be able to express their opinions and feelings.
  • Children are aware of the wider world and are ware of cultural background and accept others regardless of where they are from, what culture they have, what beliefs they have and what disability they have. Children are aware of different disabilities and celebrate the achievements of children.
  • Children behave well. Their behaviour, sensory and communication needs are met in the classroom.
  • Children are better prepared for the wider world and the role technology has to play. They are confident at using technology including those who use AAC.
  • Children are able to extend their learning outside of the classroom using apps and online programmes to complete directed tasks.