SEN Unit – The Orchard

Highfield Community Primary School is an inclusive school with an excellent community spirit, where all children regardless of their SEND and cultural background, have the opportunities to learn, socialise, be cared for and work alongside their peers in a supportive and nurturing environment. Highfield Community Primary SEN unit is for children from 5-11 years who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

All pupils who attend Highfield SEN Unit will have been previously assessed by professionals and the Local Authority and have been issued with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The nature of teaching at Highfield SEN Unit is inclusive and fully promotes and enables all pupils to achieve their full potential; to learn to be healthy, sociable and tolerant of differences and disabilities, and promotes equality of opportunity whatever the child’s special educational needs.  At Highfield children are able to learn in a positive, nurturing and secure environment; enjoy coming to school and make excellent progress.


The Curriculum is designed to address the individual development, sensory, physical, personal, social emotional and communication needs of all pupils. We offer a bespoke and contextualised curriculum that is designed to give them the knowledge, skills and behaviours to promote their social and economic inclusion. Effective planning ensures that teaching meets the learning needs of all pupils, giving due consideration to National Curriculum requirements where appropriate, and the pupil’s individual personal, social, emotional, communication, medical, sensory and physical development needs. Staff take account of the children’s Personalised Learning Goals to interpret the curriculum and differentiate activities to suit individual pupil’s needs. We understand the long term value of knowledge and understanding so give ample opportunities to revisit concepts so children gain a deep understanding of the subjects they learn about. Teachers and Teaching Assistants are confident in employing a range of differentiation strategies to ensure that children with a wide variety of needs, are engaged in their learning and can access the learning opportunities within the curriculum. The curriculum is enriched with a variety of offsite educational visits which enable the practical application of skills taught in school. Our curriculum has been developed to promote a love of learning that is critical to improving the life chances of all our pupils.

Pathways to Success 

Ash Class

Apple Class

  • Pre-formal learning, with some semi-formal learning
  • Children are based on stage not age
  • Play based learning focused on communication, language and social skills
  • Topic based approach
  • Continuous Provision activities to support learning and understanding
  • A mixture of child-led and adult-led learning.
  • Accessing the curriculum at below age related expectations
  • Sensory needs are met 
  • Progress is measured in smaller steps (Pivats5)
  • A creative approach to learning alongside semi-formal learning
  • Child profile generally ASD diagnosis and with communication and language needs
  • Use of APPS to inform practice
  • Children accessing the curriculum at below expected expectations (some children accessing KS expectations in core subjects) 
  • Progress is measured in smaller steps (Pivats5) 
  • Topic based approach

Our Priorities linked to our school drivers (Health, Community, Culture and Aspirations)

  • Reading, communication and language so children can access and understand the world around them.
  • Creativity, giving children the outlet to express themselves and find their passions.
  • Physical education to promote healthy lifestyles and show the value of team work.
  • Computing & internet safety, highlighting the importance of keeping safe in a digital society.
  • Outdoor learning, to help children see how they can be a valuable member of the wider community.
  • Lay the foundations for pupils to have a meaningful and independent life and are well places to make a positive contribution to life beyond school.


The school provides an environment that promotes communication by using photographs, symbols, objects of reference, communication profiles, pictorial timetables Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and a range of communication aids. The unit has small class sizes and high staff to pupil ratios which enables teaching to effectively meet the wide range of special educational needs of our pupils.


The school employs a specialist Speech and Language Therapist to develop communication skills and communication programmes approach tailored to individual needs. Pupils receive bespoke 1:1 daily SALT sessions to meet their communication needs.

Sensory Needs

The unit has created 2 sensory rooms which has resources for pupils with sensory processing needs. The school’s SENCO and Learning Mentor supports staff on intervention programmes to support pupils experiencing social emotional and mental health needs. Their personalised curriculum can also be centred on the social and emotional aspects of learning and is individualised to suit the needs of each child.

Working in Partnership

The school works in partnership with a range of professionals who support parents, carers, families and school staff to meet the needs of all pupils and help them achieve and make progress. These professionals include: The School Nursing Service, Paediatricians, Counselling Service, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Educational Psychology Service, LCC’s SEND Team, Parents/Carers, Social Services.

Transition and working with Families

Prior to starting their place at Highfield Special Unit our DHT/SENCO will endeavour to visit each child in their current setting and attend any annual review meetings they are invited to. We will provide the opportunity for parents to visit the unit once a place has been accepted in order to provide them with an opportunity to meet with key staff and meet the class team and the other pupils. Information for parents and families will be shared via Class Dojo. Achievements, celebrations and photos of activities will also be shared with parents vias this method. Annual Review meetings and termly Parents’ Evenings will ensure parents and staff to work together in partnership and provide parents with the opportunity to discuss with key staff the work that their child is doing in school, the progress that is being made and also ensure they have the opportunity to contribute to the outcomes and targets set for their child.