The Holbrook Curriculum

Holbrook School for Autism aims to ‘make learning come to life’. We provide specialist education and care for children and young people with autism and learning disabilities aged 4-19. We teach a broad curriculum, intended to meet the needs of individuals with autism as successfully as possible. Our school curriculum is designed to ensure we provide a bespoke autism-specific curriculum tailored to the needs of all our students. We aim to provide a curriculum that prepares students as effectively as possible for life after school. Our autism-specific curriculum is primarily focused around the four areas of the SEND code of practice. The curriculum structure is devised around three pathways. It is important to remember that a student may require elements of two pathways or flow between pathways during their journey at Holbrook School for Autism.

Our linear curriculum is based on the content of EYFS, the National Curriculum and the Preparation for Adulthood Framework. We recognise that some of our students, due to their complex needs, may never gain certain skills. Our lateral curriculum is focused on progress made against each student’s EHCP. Each student has a personalised provision evident within their ‘my plan’. With these we work together with students, parents and professionals to decide individual outcomes. The provision determined in the ‘my plan’ then informs the student’s pathway.

Our Pathways

Students are not placed in cohorts based on their chronological age; they are placed in class groups dependent on their cognitive, sensory, social, emotional and communication needs. Classes are organised into three pathways: ‘Stream‘, ‘River‘ and ‘Ocean

In a ‘Stream‘ classroom you will see students learning through a range of practical and exploration tasks. They will focus on building early communication and engagement skills through a range of subjects and are often in the early stages of their learning. Approximately 75% of teaching and learning will be focused around each student’s individual needs, with target work focused around their EHCP.


In a ‘River‘ classroom you will see students learning through practical tasks alongside formal learning tasks. They continue to develop their communication skills and begin to build on their enquiry skills, applying these to a range of learning opportunities. Approximately 50% of teaching and learning will be focused around the students’ EHCPs.


In an ‘Ocean’ classroom you will mainly see students learning through formal learning tasks with opportunities to further develop skills through practical and enrichment activities. They will be effective communicators who will be able to use these skills to solve everyday problems. Approximately, 25% of teaching and learning will be focused around the students’ EHCPs.

Recovery Curriculum

Please find attached our recovery curriculum.

Intent, Implementation, Impact

For an ‘at a glance’ view of our Intent, Implement, Impact; for Main Site, and Belper Site.

Curriculum Map

The Holbrook Curriculum Framework is delivered through whole school themes to create meaningful experiences for our students. These are based on a four yearly curriculum map.

The Curriculum leaders have devised theme maps to support cross-curricular teaching and learning opportunities for all three pathways.

The lateral curriculum: provision and 'My Plans'

The three provision maps identify the coverage across our three pathways. The purpose of these are:

  • To educate all students in a safe and caring, well-resourced and carefully structured environment
  • To provide a broad, balanced, relevant, meaningful and motivating curriculum tailored to the needs of individual students so that all students have opportunities to learn and to achieve
  • To value all students as individuals, building upon their strengths, celebrating their achievements and supporting them with areas of difficulty
  • To develop our students confidence and skills, enabling them to cope with challenges and embrace opportunities
  • To work in partnership with students’ families and relevant professionals in identifying and meeting the needs of individual students
  • To prepare our students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life

Teaching staff use the provision maps to tailor a bespoke provision for each individual student and this is recorded on their ‘My Plans

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