PROUD of The Hatton Way; Learning, Growing, Achieving Together


Curriculum Intent at Hatton School


Curriculum Intent at Hatton School

At Hatton School our curriculum in designed to offer our children a wide range of learning experiences including the national curriculum plus the wider curriculum which focuses on the ‘whole child’ an addresses their learning barriers and needs in order to prepare them for the next stages of their education, wherever that may be, their life outside of school and ultimately their adult life.

In thinking about the curriculum offer and delivery we have taken note of parents’ views and priorities for their children through Entry Reviews, Co-production meetings, EHCPS, Annual Reviews and Structured Conversations at Parents Evenings.

Therefore through our curriculum we aim to develop portable and transferable skills for all children in the following areas (in no particular order)

  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Independence
  • Personal safety
  • Movement and motor skills
  • Self-regulation of sensory needs
  • Self-regulation of behaviour
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Using ICT as a tool

In addition to these key skills, by differentiating the National Curriculum and presenting it in a motivating, meaningful and multi –sensory way we aim to develop their knowledge about the world. When delivering the National Curriculum there will be a curriculum overlap as we will use these lesson and the content delivery to also deliver and focus on our holistic key portable and transferrable skills which run through and underpin everything that we do at Hatton.

The Curriculum at Hatton School is broad and balanced and is designed to meet the needs of all our pupils.  We operate a two year topic cycle and develop our curriculum within Key Stages in line with the National Curriculum. It is differentiated and personalised which makes progression possible for each child, developing the knowledge and skills of pupils and prepares them for future life, promotes their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development.  At Hatton we know that each child is starting their learning from a different point due to their own needs. We recognise that our pupils can have a spikey profile and will develop and progress at different rates.  Each child is unique and we aim for them all to reach their full potential.  We celebrate every small step of progress that they make. Pupil assessment is an ongoing process at Hatton and is used by teachers to differentiated lessons to ensure all children are working to their full potential.   At Hatton the curriculum is divided into 3 key stages.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The EYFS yearly planning cycle enables children and provides the structure and repetition that very young children need. We provide developmentally appropriate, play based learning adapted to meet the specific needs of our pupils.

Emphasis is placed on the inside and outside learning environment, ensuring that it reflects the children’s interests and learning needs.  The day is clearly and sensitively structured in order to establish routines that the children can begin to learn and to anticipate. The development of effective communication skills is a key aspect of learning which runs throughout the day and individualised strategies are developed, including signing, making eye contact, speaking, gesture, use of symbols and others. Children in the EYFS have key workers to support them in settling in to school and develop relationships with familiar adults.

Children’s Individual Education Plan targets underpin all of their learning. Therapy programmes are incorporated in to our play based learning activities and daily routines. Wherever possible the therapists work in the classroom alongside class staff so that the children have familiar people around them.

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1 pupils continue to build on the skills and knowledge gained during the pupils’ time in Early Years. We continue to work on each child’s communication skills and use visual, tactile and auditory cues. We have a structured day that can be developed and understood by the pupils. Communication is seen as vital to the development of all other areas of the curriculum.

Key Stage 1 follows a two yearly cycle of topics which gives pupils access to a full and rich range of experiences and opportunities. The topics range from ‘Changes’ to ‘Stories’.

Religious education and personal and social education are incorporated into the curriculum and school day via assemblies, celebrations, reflection and quiet time. The curriculum is individualised to meet the needs of the pupils, working in a child centred way. Lessons are taught in whole class, small groups and one to one. 

Key Stage 2

Key stage 2 is divided into Upper and Lower Key Stage 2, and as with Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 follow a two yearly cycle of topics which gives pupils access to a full and rich Curriculum.  In Upper Key Stage 2 pupils have the opportunity to attend residential trips that support their personal and social development.  Pupils in Upper Key Stage 2 also follow one of two ASDAN programmes of study; allowing them to leave Hatton in year 6 with an accredited certificate in Personal and Social Development.

All Key Stages have access to the specialist areas within Hatton that help to support learning.  Each class is timetabled for sessions in the Dark Room, Water Play Room, Sensory Room, Soft Play area and Life Skills room.  These areas are used to support learning in the National curriculum and to give pupils the opportunity to develop and generalise their prior learning in a different environment.     At Hatton we draw from a variety of methods to aid the teaching and learning of skills including a modified TEACCH environment, PECS, and Makaton. Pupils also have access to the latest information technology with each class having iPads, touch screen computers and interactive whiteboards.  Pupils are set Individual Education Targets, which are informed by their Educational Health Care Plans. At Hatton we help the children to manage their behaviour and the school use the 5P approach, and individual green zones which helps to ensure that individual needs are met.  The school adopts a preventative approach to behaviour management and we use the 5P approach to record and share these strategies to ensure consistency.

Maths at Hatton

At Hatton we use a sensory approach to teach Maths. Children first learn new maths concepts using hands on material (concrete). They then move on to drawings or using pictures (representational). The last step is to convert information into numbers and symbols (abstract). Children who struggle with maths often have trouble making sense of the (abstract).  For our children at Hatton they also struggle to use, apply and transfer what they have learnt as well as generalising it into everyday life.

A sensory approach to teaching maths is not just limited to looking and listening, instead it tries to use all their senses. Sensory learning conveys information through touch and movement, called tactile and kinaesthetic elements, as well as sight and hearing. In sensory lessons, children will not engage with all the senses at the same time, but will often engage with the material in more than one way. The sensory approach to maths enables our children to be the visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners.

A sensory approach includes the use of Numicon; based on a proven concrete-pictorial-abstract approach, Numicon encourages children to explore maths using structured imagery and apparatus in order to understand and explain mathematical concepts. If a child learns something using more than one sense, the information is more likely to be retained and transferred into everyday life.

English at Hatton

Gross/fine motor skills and early writing skills

At Hatton we break down children’s learning into small steps using practical and play based activities.

In order for children to develop their writing skills we first focus on their Gross motor skills and fine motor skills, then move on to writing using a pen or pencil. Without having good gross and fine motor skills children lack the strength and control to use mark making tools functionally and appropriately.

Children practise their gross motor skills at Hatton through play, which helps with physical development and provides children with the abilities they need to explore and interact with the world around them. Through gross motor skills we enable children to perform everyday functions, such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. This also includes hand-eye coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking).

Alongside the gross motor skills we look at functional approaches to using fine motor skills to further develop hand-eye coordination. This enables a child to complete important tasks such as writing, feeding or doing up buttons and zips. At Hatton we develop these skills alongside early writing skills so that children can learn to develop a good tripod grasp when holding a pen or pencil. We also regularly lease with the OT at Hatton in order to seek advice and strategies to further support children with their gross and fine motor skills.

Shoulder exercises work on improving the strength and stability of the shoulder muscles. This helps the hand and arm to function correctly.

Activities to develop shoulder stability

  • Using a paint brush and easel
  • Ball games /pushing a therapy ball up a wall
  • Leopard crawl / pushing against each other
  • Hand pushes for 5 seconds
  • Playground - Encourage children to climb and pull on a rope

Reading and phonics

Sensory Stories: Many teachers use sensory stories to engage their class in books and make them more relevant to their needs. These sessions are carried out with the whole class or in smaller groups depending on the needs of the children. A range of props are used to bring the story to life (these can include sounds, smells and visual aids as well as tactile and physical props). Many teachers will also simplify the texts to meet the needs and levels of understanding within their class and some re-write the text using Communicate in Print to further develop how accessible the book is to their class The children respond well to this sessions and it is great to see them engaging with the story through the use of props.


Communication across the day is a focus across the school with the aim of embedding communication across the school day (in whatever way is suitable for that child – PECS, Makaton, verbal language etc.) and ensuring consistency amongst staff in terms of use of symbols and visual aids. It is expected that communication should be a focus in all areas of the curriculum (not just discrete sessions) and adults are collecting data throughout the week for each child in their class (regardless of their mode of communication). Planning has also been adapted to include more detail on expected/possible communication in each activity and part of the day. We have 2 PECS implementers in school who spend time in classes supporting and advising teachers and class staff, working with children on a one to one and small group basis and troubleshooting ideas and strategies for children who are not progressing in their use of PECS. Many of our pupils use PECS as their main means of communication with some using electronic communication devices such as the Grace app or Proloquo2go. We also have some pupils who use Makaton to communicate as well as those who have verbal language. A variety of strategies and teaching activities are used to further developing pupil’s communication skills – these can include discrete PECS sessions, SALT sessions, Colourful Semantics, Play sessions, etc. All classes use schedules to ensure that children know what is happening throughout the day (these are personalised for individuals and classes) as well as visual aids such as first/then and ‘I’m working for’ cards, break, wait, critical communication boards and adults critical communication symbols.

Phonics Schemes

The main phonics scheme used throughout the school is “Letters and Sounds” providing a 6-phase teaching programme to teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling.  This is complemented with other schemes where necessary.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers.


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segent longer words with adjacet consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Reading Scheme

At Hatton we encourage children to develop an enjoyment for books and to understand that print has meaning. We aim to make the teaching of reading as individualised as possible. Our Children have access to a wide variety of books that are appropriate to all readers,  and we use the  Oxford Reading Scheme Books and resources for all ages and reading levels, which focus on skill development.  Children take part in shared reading using ‘big books’ and topic books, and these are brought alive by making them multi-sensory.  Books are also supported with the use of “Makaton” signing/symbols and “Communicate in Print” to support our learners access the meaning. 


Pupil assessment is an ongoing process at Hatton and is used by teachers to differentiated lessons to ensure all children are working to their full potential.  Click here to find out more about how pupils are assessed at Hatton.


Information on data, statistics and research, including KS2 results can be found by clicking here” 


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