How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Nurturing Success by using a child centred curriculum with communication at the heart of everything we do.

Cherry Garden Child Centred Curriculum aims to be:

  1. MOTIVATING – pupils learn when they are interested, stimulated and engaged. 
  2. RELEVANT- relevant to the learning levels of the pupils, functional and takes into account their prior knowledge.
  3. CHALLENGING – Suitably high and realistic expectations are held by everyone in the team, and inclusive yet differentiated teaching is used to ensure progress for all pupils. 

Individual Education Plans are central to all aspects of provision and link closely to long term goals in the child’s ‘Education, Health and Care plan’.

Our child centred curriculum promotes respect for each child as an individual, emphasising the four core development areas of Communication, Personal, Physical and Cognitive skills. JAM (Just About Me) goals, derived from EHCP goals short term and long term aims, are integrated into these curriculum areas to meet the needs of the individual pupils. 

Pupils on the pre-formal (Exploration) curriculum will focus on the four core areas, with opportunities to develop and generalise skills across all six areas of learning. Pupils working at the semi –formal (Discovery) and formal (Investigation) curriculum level are taught through the six areas of Learning as shown in the diagram below.

Children work on JAM (Just About Me) goals related to each curriculum area. The number of goals each child is working on is dependent on which curriculum pathway they are following. All children also have a special JAM wish – which is a goal focused on their wellbeing and what they would like to do or learn that half term. Where practical and meaningful, children are involved in deciding these goals themselves.

Behaviour Support

We recognise the importance of children having control of their own behaviour. We have a behaviour management policy that promotes a holistic approach to help children learn to behave appropriately. The school aims to help pupils develop a sense of achievement, value and self-respect, as well as respect for others.

All staff use positive behaviour management strategies, such as:

  • Rewards
  • Reasoning
  • Setting clear limits
  • Consistency of approach
  • Avoiding confrontations
  • Distractions
  • High expectations of achievement
  • Individual behaviour plans
  • Using a range of communicative strategies

Specialised approaches to support good behaviour for learning are used throughout the day, i.e.

  • Use of strong motivators
  • Making a deal reward system (PECS)
  • Individual timetables
  • Sensory diets
  • Intensive interaction
  • Positive physical handling (CPI)

A total communication approach is used throughout the school and Cherry Garden excels in meeting the wide range of communicative needs across the school. The types of strategies used are: • Objects of reference • Pictures • Symbols • PECS • Eye gaze • Intensive interaction • Communication books • PODD • Touch cues • Makaton • Verbal language programmes

Much of the support in communication takes place throughout the day and in additional specialist groups and specialised one-to-one programmes.

Social Skills/Independence Skills

There is a strong focus on developing pupils’ social and independence skills from day one. Pupils in the early years are encouraged to ‘do things for themselves’, such as dressing, eating, drinking, washing and using the toilet. As pupils progress through the key stages, there are higher expectations for pupils to tidy up after activities, send messages around the school, walk independently in the community and experience using public transport. These and many more milestones are achieved incrementally with sensitive support from adults who know the pupils well.

The Arts

We are passionate about creative arts in the school and work in partnership with other organisations to enhance the provision for our pupils. Currently, we work with Southwark Playhouse, Bow Arts Trust and art projects in conjunction with other schools. We have a dedicated dance teacher and a music teacher who run class groups for weekly sessions.


The MOVE programme is run by a small influential charity called the MOVE Partnership, a practical mobility programme based around the philosophy that movement is the foundation for learning. The MOVE programme uses the combined knowledge of the family, carers, education and therapy. It is designed to teach anyone who has not learnt to sit, stand, walk or transfer by the age they would expect to, or those who have lost these skills, to increase their independent mobility to the best of their ability.