At Chaffinch Brook, we have developed a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum that specifically caters to the needs of pupils with autism from Key Stages 1 to 4. Our curriculum aims to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and understanding necessary to make informed decisions, develop positive relationships, and lead healthy and fulfilling lives. We recognise the unique challenges faced by our pupils and are committed to providing a supportive, inclusive and nurturing learning environment that celebrates individual differences and promotes the well-being and personal growth of each student.
Our approach to PSHE and RSE specifically considers the vulnerabilities of our pupils with autism and teaching of these essential skills is not limited to PSHE or RSE lessons. Learning opportunities arise throughout the school day and at Chaffinch Brook, every opportunity is a learning opportunity. We aim to create a safe, inclusive, and empowering learning environment with opportunities to practise and develop vital PSHE skills throughout the school day. All classes take part in structured nurture times which prioritise addressing the unique challenges our children face. We provide lots of opportunities for practicing social skills through structured play, peer interactions, and group activities, fostering social competence and confidence.
To enhance the teaching and learning in PSHE and RSE we seek guidance from experts, such as ‘Street Doctors’, therapists, and specialists to develop tailored strategies and resources that align with the specific needs of pupils and their learning styles. We Incorporate therapy-based strategies and techniques into the curriculum to support communication, social skills development, and emotional regulation.
By working closely with parents and carers we are able to gain a deeper understanding of their child's vulnerabilities and tailor support accordingly. We also share resources, strategies, and progress updates with parents, providing them with the tools and knowledge to support their child's social, emotional, and personal development outside of school.
In KS1/2 social skills and attention and listening skills are explicitly taught through circle time to equip students with social skills necessary for building and maintaining positive relationships, including effective communication, empathy, and understanding non-verbal cues. From KS3, social skills progress to focus more on the explicit teaching on friendship, teamwork, conflict resolution, and respectful behaviour, addressing the unique social challenges faced by our pupils as they enter puberty and beyond.
Offsite activities play a crucial role in our PSHE and RSE curriculum. They offer unique opportunities for experiential learning, practical application of skills, and real-life engagement that cannot always be replicated or generalised within the context of the classroom.
Over time, our implementation of our PSHE and RSE curriculum results in significant positive impacts on our pupils' social, emotional, and personal development.
Enhanced Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy:
- Pupils develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths, challenges, and needs.
- They become more confident in expressing their thoughts, emotions, and preferences.
- They actively advocate for themselves, seeking support and accommodations when necessary resulting in reduced anxiety.
Improved Social Skills and Relationships:
- Pupils develop essential social skills, such as communication, empathy, and cooperation.
- They demonstrate an increased ability to navigate social situations and establish positive relationships with peers.
- Pupils engage in meaningful interactions, demonstrating respect and understanding of neurodiversity.
Strengthened Personal Safety Awareness:
- Pupils gain knowledge and skills to recognise and respond to unsafe situations.
- They exhibit improved understanding of personal boundaries, both offline and online.
- Pupils demonstrate increased self-protective behaviours and make informed decisions to ensure their own safety.
Increased Knowledge and Understanding of Relationships and Sex Education:
- Pupils acquire age-appropriate knowledge about relationships, consent, and personal boundaries.
- They demonstrate a better understanding of emotions, healthy friendships, and respectful behaviours.
- Pupils exhibit an increased ability to make informed decisions and establish positive relationships.
Positive Well-being and Resilience:
- Pupils have shown improved emotional regulation and coping strategies, resulting in feeling safer and happier.
- They exhibit increased resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks.
- Pupils demonstrate a positive mindset, taking ownership of their actions and demonstrating perseverance.
Strengthened Collaboration with Parents and Guardians:
- Collaborative partnerships with parents and guardians have resulted in consistent support and reinforcement of skills and knowledge.
- Parents report improved communication with their child, leading to a better understanding of their needs and providing effective support at home.
- Parents express increased confidence in addressing sensitive topics and fostering their child's social and emotional well-being.
We remain dedicated to continuously evaluating and refining our practices to ensure the sustained growth and development of our pupils.