We use evidence-based practice to identify the unique needs, difficulties and learning skills of each pupil. Based on the needs of the individual pupil, TreeHouse provides:
- suitable learning challenges in an enjoyable and varied environment by responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs and through supporting pupils to overcome barriers to learning and assessment
- approaches, programme and plans for each learner based on evidence of their progress and learning outcomes
- opportunities for pupils to be involved in making choices, including being involved in decisions about their learning
- a cross-curricular focus on developing functional skills, knowledge and understanding
- planned opportunities to generalise skills, knowledge and understanding to natural situations and settings (including home and the community)
- planned opportunities for meaningful local community involvement and participation, including supported inclusion in mainstream schools when beneficial, and supported vocational placements/work experience or community leisure opportunities (where appropriate) for pupils aged 14-19 years
- preparation for adulthood and a life that is as independent and fulfilled as possible
- approaches and interventions supported by research evidence
We individually tailor the curriculum to best meet the needs of each pupil, with an appropriate emphasis on developing functional, life-enhancing skills and knowledge; and on learning appropriate behaviours. Our curriculum is informed by
- Research-based methods
- Standardised assessment data
- Ongoing assessment for learning
- We regularly meet with families to agree learning targets and to share information about pupil progress. Talking with families is very important and is central to our approach.
We work together with families to shape the balance of each pupil’s curriculum so that any learning needs at home are also taken into account at school. For example, if a family is concerned that their child is refusing to brush their teeth at home, we can work together along with the school’s visiting dentist, to develop a toothbrushing programme. This may first be taught at school before being generalised to home, possibly through a visit to the family home by members of the child’s school team.
Learning to learn
Many of the pupils at TreeHouse start their education with us unable to learn independently. They need to be taught the skills that are needed for learning, for example how to copy their teacher or peers, how to follow instructions and how concentrate on what their teacher would like them to be concentrating on. These skills are initially very taught intensively with multiple opportunities to practise each skill with several different teachers and in a number of different environments in the school.
As a pupil becomes more confident with their ‘learning to learn’ skills, they are able to meaningfully access and make progress through an increasingly broad curriculum. The breadth of the curriculum is provided through each pupil’s individual programmes and also through TreeHouse’s cross-curricular topics.
Broad and balanced over time
We provide a broad and balanced curriculum over time. Many of our pupils benefit from learning broken into very small steps, and need lots of opportunities to repeat and practice each skill before becoming independent with it. The curriculum at TreeHouse includes personalised access to a highly differentiated National Curriculum.
A pupil’s personalised curriculum places an emphasis on addressing the core characteristics and challenges associated with autism by offering a comprehensive educational programme designed to promote social communication, language, literacy, problem solving and self-management of behaviour and emotions. This approach is developmental.
In order to gain an award for their achievements in each Transition Challenge module, pupils must submit a portfolio of evidence for external moderation to demonstrate how they have completed each of the curriculum activities within the module.
Moderation meetings take place off-site and pupils’ work is scrutinised by teachers and professionals from other schools and colleges. All pupils currently in TreeHouse 6th Form completed all five modules of the Transition Challenge award when in Key Stage 4 and were presented with the Transition Challenge Gold award.