Animus Curriculum

In the Animus family group, a holistic approach is taken and the curriculum is personalised for each individual student.  It is important to engage with the individual in order to learn how to help them move forward and we recognise that each student contains their own strengths, needs and interests that must be reflected in the curriculum; it is about recognising and celebrating their achievements and preparing them for life beyond Oak Grove College.


Each student is assessed with their personalised needs by both classroom staff and other professionals including OT’s, Physiotherapists and SaLT, who are all involved in the care and development of the student. After this has been done each student has personalised targets written called ‘Key Progress Objectives’ which are done in partnership with home and other professionals. The Key Progress Objectives focus on the four key areas of our curriculum:


Communication Sensory Cognition Independence Physical Development


Communication is central to all aspects of our student’s development and we work in close partnership with home and other professionals who know the students well. To support our students with their communication we use different methods where appropriate which include:


  • Intensive Interaction
  • Communication Aids e.g. Big Macs
  • AAC – touch clues, sound clues, smell clues, objects of reference, signing, symbols, and photographs.
  • Communication Passports.
  • Eyegaze
  • Language – key words.
  • This list is not exhaustive and we are open to new methods and developing our strategies further.

Sensory Cognition

Cognition is how we gather information from the world around us and how we convert this into information to use. Animus students still learn in a sensory way using their senses to explore and make sense of different environments and so all areas of learning are linked to Sensory cognition. They need to experience an activity with frequent repetition over long periods of time. A sample of the skills that individuals will be developing that are appropriate to the learning in Animus are rooting, grasping, mouthing, visual inspection, shaking, examining, showing and naming.


Independence is what we want our learners to achieve. Along with independence comes a sense of achievement which empowers our learners and raises their self-esteem. These include making a choice and personal care (eating, drinking, toileting, getting dressed and undressed, washing.) They will require in all areas of their learning adult support and it is important that this support encourages independent development and reduces the risk of learned helplessness.


Physical Development

The physical needs of the students are central to their lives and are integrated into a holistic curriculum and for many of our students they will take up a large proportion of the school day. The main reasons for including physical movement into the curriculum should be to:

  • Increase independence
  • Protect body shape
  • Improve general health and morale

This aspect of the curriculum has to be carried out in close working partnership with our Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and home. The students may not always enjoy or chose for this therapy to take place but it must for the wellbeing of the student. As much as possible it is approached in a holistic way into the everyday experiences and activities in the curriculum. Many of our therapeutic activities have a strong focus on this area and our students will take part in them (if appropriate) as often as possible in their individualised curriculum/ timetable. Although all experiences will offer opportunity for physical development.

Good physical health and an active life is important to learning generally for all young people.

Student centred planning

All planning is centred on the individual with each student having a personalised timetable and an Individual Medium Term plan (IMPT) which is given to parents and professionals. We believe that this individualised planning will allow the opportunity for the student to be more fully engaged in their learning. This approach will offer them a growing opportunity to apply their knowledge in a range of environments and with different people, helping prepare them for the future. This will also empower them as people and allow them to develop their independence.

Animus offers the students a wide range of experiences/ therapies such as sensory story, cooking, music, art, community visits, horse riding, rebound, technology, swimming and residential.

Story Massage

All Animus classes will be doing Story Massage.

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