Welcome to class 6 – class teacher, Stu Barnett

Our curriculum pathway is key stage 3, it is semi-formal, with elements of pre-formal learning for some students. This means that we are learning about all the areas in the National Curriculum but learning is usually practical, experiential and/or sensory.

It incorporates time to move, explore and learn whilst meeting our sensory needs. We do not do many worksheets in class 6!

The academy day


Our day starts with students engaging in individual learning or sensory activities at their desk. Then we have a ‘Good Morning’ lesson. Students sing songs and do actions and take it in turns to find their photo, pin it to the ‘Who is in Class today?’ wall and say good morning to the class. Some students use their words to give this greeting, others use Makaton signing and others press augmentative technologies such as a switch which says “good morning everyone” for them. We go through the day/date and look at the weather, using symbols and Makaton signs to facilitate students understanding and communication. We also go through the visual timetable which is displayed on the wall in symbol form so that students know what the day has in store for them.

We break for snack, some students help to make their own food and drinks, and all students communicate what they would like to have using a variety of communication techniques, Then we go outside for play.

After play we have story time, students listen to the story being read whilst sitting together as a class. Often this story includes sensory elements, actions, and symbols to assist understanding.

Once story time is finished we have a short sensory regulation session, examples of this are: Fun Fit, Sensory Circuits or Just Dance or something calmer like relaxation or massage. The encourages students to move into the right frame of mind to learn.

Our ‘main’ lesson of the day is the key teaching time where we place the most demands on the students, really pushing them to achieve their individual learning outcomes. Most lessons at this time are literacy-based or numeracy-based.

In literacy, students will work on their reading and writing. For some this could be basic letter recognition and mark-making, whereas for others, it could be reading simple texts and writing full sentences. In numeracy, we may work on our number skills (counting, sequencing, matching, adding etc) or we may work on the current numeracy topic – for example, time or measurement.

After the students have finished their work they have a short ‘choosing time’ during which they are allowed free choice of activities from the choosing cupboard. Then they go outside for some free play, before coming back into class for lunch.

Lunch time

Lunch time is either a packed lunch or a school dinner. Lunch is a relaxed time – but students are still learning! They may practice their counting skills by giving out cutlery, their self-help and fine-motor skills by using a knife to cut up their food, or their lifeskills by helping clean up/do the dishes afterwards. After lunch all our students brush their teeth, often with staff support.


Once lunch is finished, we have 15 minutes of reading time. Students choose a book and staff spend time helping to engage them with the book. This ranges from listening to students read, reading to students or looking at the pictures together and encouraging them to turn the page.

After reading time we have a short relaxation session to prepare learners for the afternoon lesson, this lesson tends to be topic-based.
After the lesson has finished, we have a social games session. where we play games and/or engage in activities (e.g. building blocks), no-one plays on their own! During this time we are working on social interaction and communication skills, practicing things like sharing, turn-taking etc.

At the end of the school day, students have a quick snack and then get ready to go home.

Home time

All children are supported with transfers from their class equipment into their home chairs, their belongings are all put together and they are supported onto the bus home.

Assemblies and star of the week

We join in the main assemblies on Monday mornings, where we share our school prayer, weekend news and Friday afternoons, where we celebrate our star of the week and learn about different themed days.