Subject Rationales


Speaking and Listening

At Dysart we know that speaking and listening are an important set of literacy skills that create the foundation to learning. Listening requires the fundamental skill of focusing attention on a speaker to be able to hear and understand what is being said. At Dysart we utilise our knowledge of attention autism strategies to create highly engaging sessions. These attention grabber activities steer pupils focus on to the learning, furthermore pathing access to the curriculum.

At Dysart we are skilled in understanding that speaking refers to ‘expressive communication’. We use a total communication approach to ensure that all channels available to the pupil, such as vocalising, gesture, facial expression, body movement, use of pictures and objects, as well as formal systems such as signs, sign language, symbols and communication aids (Alternative and Augmentative Communication: AAC) are embedded across the curriculum.

We work in collaboration with our onsite speech and language therapy team to incorporate individualised communication strategies and approaches into our pupil’s education.


By immersing the students within a symbolic and word rich environment we aim to enable them to develop into functional and fluent readers. At Dysart School our aim is for all students to develop a love of Literacy and to be able to communicate clearly and confidently to the best of their ability. Our core aim is to teach pupils the tools to achieve functional Literacy skills in order to access the wider world with confidence and independence.


Writing at Dysart School is interpreted as an activity that communicates and records events, experiences, information, thoughts and feelings.  The most appropriate form of recording is selected according to the student’s physical and cognitive ability for example, using objects, picture, photographs, symbols and text, drawing, typing and ICT, working with an adult as a scribe or a combination of these.

Writing for students at Dysart School will involve a range of different activities such as:

  • Pre-writing activities / mark making.
  • Development of gross / fine motor activities to promote skill development.
  • Opportunities to see text (symbols, photos and words) being constructed.
  • Word, symbol, object, sound and letter matching.
  • Consistent and correct modelling of letter formation.
  • Use of ICT hardware (e.g. switches, microphones, keyboards) and software (e.g. clicker 8) to record information
Hand writing

For learners that can, there are regular timetabled slots for handwriting to ensure that they build up their letter formation and handwriting skills every day. We make the physical process of writing and handwriting is enjoyable from the start, so students see themselves as ‘writers’ and begin to take pride in the presentation of their work. We use mnemonics (memory pictures) in line with Read Write Ink to help students visualise the letter or join before they write it down.



At Dysart School the Maths curriculum is about exploring, mastering skills in counting and developing an understanding of number. Across the curriculum pathways we teach our learners the skills required to calculate, reason and solve problems. We know that problem solving is at the heart of mathematical learning and teaching for our pupils as it encourages them to develop resilience and tenacity to solve problems giving them the tools to overcome difficulties in and outside of the classroom.

At Dysart School we promote that the teaching of and enthusiasm for Mathematics must not be confined to Maths lessons inside of the classroom. By giving Dysart students the tools to navigate and make sense of the world around them, as well as offering solutions to problems that they will encounter in and out of school we hope to achieve a fully inclusive programme of study that allows learners to build upon their mathematical knowledge. We ensure we practise the functional element of maths inside and outside of school to enable learners with the opportunity to generalise, consolidate and master their learning outside of the classroom to develop greater independence.



At Dysart School, we recognise the importance of science in every aspect of daily life. An understanding of science helps to explain the way things work in terms of both the world around them and the human body.

We want our pupils to develop their skills so that they are able to observe changes and develop critical thinking – cause and effect, their impact on things, understand themselves in relation to the world around them.



The goal of humanities for our pupils is for them to have a sense of where they belong and to understand their own timeline. We provide pupils with opportunities to compare their own lives and experiences and how they and the world around them have changed within their lifetime. Alongside this pupils explore different people, countries and cultures, natural and man-made environments, their own locality and environmental issues. This context provides an ideal opportunity for our pupils to explore British Values and to understand how they are key not just to themselves but also in how they interact with the community around them


Physical Education

We believe that physical education, experienced in a safe and supportive environment, is vital and unique in its contribution to our students physical and emotional development and health.  The physical education curriculum aims to increase student’s self-confidence through an ability to manage themselves successfully in a variety of situations.  Our staff teach PE activities across the school led by the PE coordinator. Our teachers are skilled in adapting PE sessions alongside support from the Physiotherapy and Occupation therapist’s teams.

Together we deliver a varied and inclusive spread of PE activities across the school. We teach a large variety of sports adapted to the individual needs of the students. These include: Swimming, Multi-skills, Football, Tennis, and Dance. We have students across the school access horse riding, cycling, the local swimming pools and gym to ensure that PE is not confined to the classroom.

You are rightly proud of your work around pupil wellbeing, and ensuring pupils are ready for learning.  This has enabled you to establish a calm and purposeful learning environment for pupils with considerable needs.

Ofsted 2018

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