Curriculum Intent  

The curriculum at Harry Watts Academy is based on the understanding that each autistic child and young person may see the world and learn in a very different way. We therefore have a commitment to personalise the curriculum to the unique qualities and needs of each pupil, and a teaching and learning approach that is flexible and informed by specialist knowledge of the strengths and difficulties associated with autism in general.  We recognise that there are many different ways of helping autistic children and young people to learn and achieve and therefore use a range of approaches, or a combination of approaches, to respond to the individual needs of each pupil.  The curriculum at Harry Watts Academy respects and reflects The National Curriculum through the teaching of the full range of subjects but allows space and time for the careful integration of autism specific approaches, therapies and interventions.

At Harry Watts Academy, we are committed to each pupil receiving high quality first teaching and a bespoke curriculum which meets their needs. Our aims are to provide a foundation curriculum through a topic-based approach that:

  • Gives our pupils richer learning experiences through a breadth of creative, cross-curricular links and cultural experiences whilst promoting a development of subject specific skills and knowledge
  • Gives our pupils a curriculum that respects and reflects the National Curriculum but allows space and time for personalised, wider and holistic curriculum, through the use of autism specific approaches, therapies and interventions
  • Gives our school staff opportunities of ownership, collaboration and creativity as well as improved staff well-being

Our curriculum philosophy has a focus on nurturing the whole individual.  We offer a curriculum which allows our pupils to develop the knowledge, skills, and character required to move on to the next phase of their education and life.  We ensure our curriculum is challenging, yet inclusive, so that all can work hard to fulfil their potential, regardless of background or starting point and strive to ensure that disadvantage of any kind is not a barrier to pupils achieving success.

At the centre of this philosophy is a commitment to the health and well-being of our pupil community; we believe that it is of paramount importance to the physical, mental and emotional health of our pupils that individuals feel they are making progress and attaining at an appropriate level.

At Harry Watts Academy some content of the National Curriculum may be inaccessible or irrelevant to pupils, wherever possible it will be the aim of teaching to make learning meaningful and relevant to pupils and will therefore need to be continuously evolving and adapting. Depending on the needs of the individual, an informal, semi-formal and/or formal route through the curriculum will be taken. All routes will participate in the topic ‘themes’ at an appropriate level.

Taken from ‘Harry Watts Academy Curriculum Policy 2020-2021’ 

Curriculum Implementation

The way in which we implement our curriculum, differs slightly depending on the age, ability and communication stage of our children in the class. Each class has an overview of how they implement their curriculum to ensure that all children in the class can access a high quality curriculum, quality first teaching and exceptional social and communication support.


The Foundation Stage follows the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ curriculum which is adapted to meet the needs and requirements of the children. It will also be based on the non-statutory support materials in Development Matters with the four guiding principles:

  1. every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
  2. children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
  3. children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
  4. children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, including children with special educational needs and disabilities

The curriculum will be modified and personalised to reflect the developmental needs of the individual pupils. ASD specific strategies will be used with a strong focus on communication and interaction.

We will use the foundation stage profile at the end of the Reception year to assess the children against government standards.

The children are assessed termly against our ‘Early Support Developmental Journal’ which highlights the targets the children work towards. They also have achievement and levelled work files which are added to on a half termly basis.

On a day to day basis staff use record and observation sheets as well as photographs which contribute towards the children’s assessment files which are filled out at the end of every week with evidence as to what they have achieved during that week.

The aim of the Foundation Stage is to provide a safe, happy, caring and stimulating environment in which each child is educated at a level appropriate to their individual needs, interests and abilities. We aim to build confidence and self-esteem by ensuring that each child makes progress and regularly experiences success and a sense of achievement.


 Within HWA, we run two curriculum pathways. A semi-formal pathway for pupils not yet engaged in subject specific study (engagement model) and a formal pathway for pupils engaged in subject specific study but working below age expected standards.

Semi-formal pathway 

Within the semi-formal pathway, learning is broken down into the following areas and a Learning Map produced for each pupil (see ‘Medium term planning’ and Appendix 2). Topic is used as a theme throughout the learning where appropriate and taught discreetly;

  • My Communication
  • My Thinking and Problem solving
  • My Independence
  • My World about me
  • My Play and leisure
  • My Physical wellbeing
  • My Creativity (music, drama, dance and art)
  • Outdoor education

Formal pathway  

Within the formal pathway, learning is broken down into the following areas. Topic is taught as a session along with influencing the theme of other learning activities;

  • English
  • Maths
  • My Independence
  • My World about me
  • My Play and leisure
  • My Physical wellbeing
  • Topic

Harry Watts Academy – Curriculum Impact

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach at HWA, therefore data will be drawn from multiple locations in order to measure the impact of our curriculum. This includes, but is not limited to;

  • Work sharing
  • Lesson Observation
  • Pupil, Parent and Teacher feedback/surveys
  • Data analysis (academic)
  • Data analysis (SCERTS)
  • Progress towards EHCP targets
  • Attendance
  • Behaviour analysis
  • Lesson engagement
  • External accreditation and examinations

Assessment Outline

Our curriculum is in its infancy and we will use these ways of measuring Impact to evaluate and develop our curriculum accordingly.

For more detailed information regarding our curriculum, please contact Louise Hindmarch via the school office.

Prosper Learning Trust