Harry watts academy 8
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Curriculum Overview

'The ways in which the school sets about developing pupils’ character, to ready them for adult life, is highly impressive.' - Ofsted

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 is split into three distinct pathways across the school, Engage, Explore and Discover. Each of these pathways has a focus on the needs of each individual pupil and supports with their communication, social, academic and future needs. Pupils can move between pathways at the right time for them or they may stay on one pathway. Each pathway has opportunities for pupils to progress and achieve at the level that is appropriate for them.  

Engage Pathway

(SCERTS social/language partners)

The Engage Pathway intention is to focus on the achievement of early developmental objectives across a thematic curriculum which is not subject specific (this also includes EYFS and the Engagement Model). The curriculum is led by students; their interests, passions and developmental level. There is a focus on early communication and sensory regulation.

Explore Pathway

(SCERTS language/conversation partners)

The Explore pathway intention is to promote independence, functional communication, as well as developing life skills and preparation for adulthood.

The pathway follows a semi-formal approach in which subjects and topics are used as the vehicle to teach. Learning takes place in a classroom environment, as well as in the community, so opportunities are provided to learn skills in a safe place and then transfer and generalize in other environments.

Discover Pathway

(SCERTS language/conversation partners)

The Discover pathways intention is to teach students functional, so students can be fully prepared to access the community and further education or the world of work when they leave school.

The pathway covers a broad range of National Curriculum subjects which have been adapted to meet the needs of all pupils. Alongside lessons to support social communication and develop independence and life skills.

The curriculum pathway is a more formal curriculum offer where a wider majority of National Curriculum subjects are offered to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of the world around them, with core skills to prepare them for employment and future training.

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 where appropriate, but allows space and time for personalised, wider and holistic curriculum, through the use of Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) 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 through our Curriculum Pathways. All routes will participate in the topic ‘themes’ at an appropriate level.

Taken from ‘Harry Watts Academy Curriculum Policy’

Curriculum Implementation

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

The links below cover each curriculum Pathway, along with the Pathway’s intent, how the curriculum is implemented and how we assess and evaluate its impact on pupils.




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


Page Downloads Date  
Discover Pathway 28th Jun 2022 Download
Engage Pathway 28th Jun 2022 Download
Explore Pathway 28th Jun 2022 Download