Animus Curriculum

The Animus curriculum has been developed with the following principles in mind: 

Every student has an entitlement to an inclusive education that values the unique individual that they are. Our curriculum takes a holistic approach that considers each young person’s complex needs. Working in partnership with others enables us to offer a breath of experiences that will give each student the opportunity to learn and develop throughout their lives.  

We recognise that our curriculum must focus on the things that matter to each individual student as progress can only be made by students who are engaged in their own learning. Therefore learning is approached in an individualised, flexible, creative and holistic way that enhances the young person‘s engagement with the world and allows them to achieve their full potential.  

The education we offer all our students is based on the view that our students must be empowered so that they can make decisions that will have an impact on their learning, family and community. This will help their self-esteem to grow as they see that their opinion and actions are important and can change things. 

We recognise that we need to balance the needs of the individual with the world around them to become part of a community. This also means bringing the world to them so that they can experiment and explore the world around them fully.  Our curriculum recognises and prioritises the development of the senses as fundamental in enabling our students to understand and interact with the world around them as well as with each other. 

We aim to ensure that through our curriculum all students’ emotional and physical wellbeing are actively promoted and supported. Giving them a sense of belonging and enabling them to develop and maintain positive relationships throughout their life.


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 goals written which are done in partnership with home and other professionals. The Individual Medium Term Plans (IMTP) goals focus on the four key areas of our curriculum: 


Communication Cognitive Development 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.

Cognitive Development

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 Cognitive Development. 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, grouping, routines. 


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 wellbeing

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 and the mental health of 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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