SEND Local Offer


Churchward School, William Morris Way, Tadpole Garden Village SN25 2PP

Tel No

01793 209198

Key contact

Dave Dearsley – Head teacher


Opening hours

9.10am – 3.10pm

DfE designation

Special School and a DfE Free School for students with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and/or Social Communication and Interaction Difficulties (SCID)

Age Range

11-19 year olds

No. of places funded by LA

Phased Opening (from 20 places from September 2018, increasing incrementally to the maximum of 75 places by September 2022)

Most recent Ofsted Inspection



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Churchward School Admissions

Churchward School has a robust admissions process whereby we work closely with families and the local authority in assessing the suitability of placement and place planning. 

The following criteria will be used to determine if a student is to be referred to this special school and the students must meet all these criteria.  Each student must:

  • have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP);
  • have Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and/or Social Communication and Interaction Difficulties (SCID) as their primary need;
  • be aged from 11-19 years old;
  • have needs that cannot be met by a full-time placement in a mainstream school;
  • be placed after full consultation with parents.

Should your child meet all of the above criteria and you are interested in applying for a place, we recommend that you contact the school to arrange a visit.  Detailed information about the school can be found on the school website: 

The Local Authority will consider the request through the annual review process and you will be asked to confirm your preference for this provision. The Local Authority will consider your preference for Churchward School and may discuss it with you before allocating a place. The allocation will also be dependent on whether we can meet your child’s special educational needs. You will be formally notified of your child’s place at Churchward School by the Local Authority. Students entering the school will have come through the SENRAP admission pathway, directly from SENAT or through direct referral from the Complex Needs Resource Panel.

Churchward School’s designation

Churchward School is for students aged 11 – 19 with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and/or Social Communication and Interaction Difficulties (SCID) as their primary need. Most students will have a range of complex needs and additional challenges with some also have a learning difficulty.  Such students are likely to experience significant, complex, persistent and enduring difficulties.  Their range of needs may also be multi-layered and interconnected, combining mental health, anxiety, attachment, relationships, behavioural, physical, medical, sensory, and communication features.  Our tailored learning programmes support students working towards effectively accessing and engaging with learning; ultimately achieving relevant and meaningful accreditation and skills and achieving their potential.  Our curriculum also has a strong emphasis on skills for life – supporting our students to develop independence and feel valued and supported by their local community, as well as to have the ability to contribute economically and socially to their locality. 

Churchward School’s vision


Recognising strengths…
We will work with students, and all who support them to identify and build on current strengths.

Gaining skills…
Our students will gain the skills they need to shape their future.

Achieving Success…

We will ensure our students achieve meaningful success enabling them to feel valued by, and contribute to, their community.

The aims of our Learning Vision are:

  • To establish a community that will explicitly develop communication skills, social interaction, self-regulation and flexibility of thought.
  • To enable students to make exceptional progress through ensuring high quality, specialist and consistent teaching and learning and appropriate accreditation pathways.
  • To provide specialised, low arousal learning environments that respond to individual needs and accommodate the sensory needs of our learners
  • To promote the core learning and life values of independence and interdependence

The Learning Environment

  • As of September 2020, Churchward School will benefit from a purpose-built school which will feature specialist facilities such as sensory rooms, a science laboratory, enrichment rooms including art, drama and cooking and indoor and outdoor physical education facilities.
  • Given the range of ASC need, areas for group work and individual study will also be provided. To reduce anxiety the learning environment will have visually recognisable pathways and clearly designated spaces, this will enable the young person to successfully transition to activities throughout the day. Appropriate break-out spaces will be provided linking directly from the learning spaces to allow opportunities for successful de-escalation.
  • Integral to our curriculum will be the use of both Uplands Educational Trust’s (UET) and local community resources in Swindon; e.g. farm and retail facilities for work related learning, libraries and sports facilities.
  • Whilst in our current temporary buildings in Bagbury Park and Headlands, we do not have access to the full range of facilities, however we make the best use of the space available and community facilities to provide the students the support they need to succeed.


Churchward School caters for students with a primary diagnosis of ASC and/or SCID.  However, many of the students have a range of interlinking and complex needs which impact on the way they learn and make progress.  Our curriculum offer is therefore designed to:

  • re-engage students;
  • provide supportive, stimulating and motivating learning opportunities;
  • ensure young people achieve their full potential and gain meaningful accreditation.

The curriculum is grouped into the following key areas: English, Maths, PSHCE and Thrive, Physical Education, Topic (including Science) and Enrichment.

At Key Stage 3 students follow the curriculum model outlined above.  The aim of the Topic and Enrichment programmes is to create opportunities which engage and encourage students to try different activities, learn new skills, challenge themselves and above all develop a love of learning.  They experience a wide range of subject areas such as, history, cookery, art and drama and develop the necessary skills in each.  Coupled with our targeted intervention strategy our curriculum provides a strong foundation from which our students can progress onto Key Stage 4 and different academic and vocational pathways and qualifications.

With our Key Stage 4 curriculum, students will continue their learning in Churchward School’s key areas except ‘Topic’ becomes Vocational and sessions are developed and customised to meet the different qualification requirements for each student.

At Key Stage 5 the curriculum is aimed to prepare students for adulthood and life after school.  Students have the opportunity to focus on certain areas of interest whilst maintaining access to the core areas of learning of English, Maths and PSHCE.  There is “off-site” learning through supported work placements, college links and alternative provisions. 

Spiritual, moral, cultural and social education: At Churchward School we recognise that the personal development of students, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally plays a significant part in their ability to learn, achieve and grow personally. We create a learning environment and learning opportunities within the curriculum, across the school and wider community and throughout the whole school week. SMSC at Churchward School embraces a multi-faith and diverse cultural approach and is not specifically related to any one faith group or culture.

Key features of the curriculum:

  • Programmes of study supported by high staff ratios and based on known motivators to achieve our school vision and promote the core values of independence and interdependence.
  • Strong emphasis on functional literacy and numeracy leading to nationally recognised external qualifications.
  • Social and emotional development is part of the PSHCE curriculum. It is a core strand to our curriculum offer and runs throughout the school. Churchward School strongly believe that PSHCE in conjunction with English and Maths are the key elements to our students’ success, not only within school but also in their future choices.  The Thrive Approach is our framework from which strategies and interventions are woven into all areas of the curriculum as well as providing discrete lessons for each class group.
  • Each student’s personal EHCP outcomes are integral to determining their provision and are embedded within their curriculum.
  • Extensive opportunities for work related learning in, for example, retail, catering/hospitality, horticulture, animal care and work experience in KS4/5 leading to a supported internship or pre-apprenticeship.
  • Churchward School is committed to validating the skills, knowledge and learning of all our young people and providing each of them with the opportunity to gain meaningful and nationally recognised qualifications.
  • Bespoke off-site packages offered for students who need this initial approach, with flexible re-integration into group and class work.
  • Equal value given to developing the interpersonal and life skills required for independence through the support of staff enabling the students to build lasting and effective relationships and engage in their communities.
  • Students won’t necessarily be grouped by age in order to achieve ‘best fit’ in terms of skills and personalities.
  • Access to technology and computing as a subject where this is a motivator or supports access to the curriculum. Technology is a key skill for all students and enhances motivation and engagement; the use of appropriate technologies will be interwoven throughout the curriculum. This will give learning a natural depth and technological breadth that establishes a pattern to continue throughout a student’s learning journey.
  • We operate interventions at 3 different levels – whole school, targeted and specific; where each level becomes more focused than the previous one. These will be integrated within our English, Maths and Thrive sessions, where appropriate.
  • An individualised sensory programme is offered where needed supported by trained external professionals.

Assessing students’ progress towards outcomes in collaboration with parents/carers

Assessment appropriate to each student’s age, stage and needs is in place, in line with the school’s assessment policy which is reviewed annually.  Progress is reported on qualitatively by each student’s class teacher three times a year through the school’s formal reporting cycle, at parents’ evenings, as well as in collaboration with parents and other agencies working with each student through the annual review process of their Education and Health Care Plan.  This is a very special, person centered event where we collaboratively celebrate their progress, review their EHCP, their needs and their plan for their future, with the student, their family and relevant professionals. The students are supported to make a presentation for their review and express their views in a way that suits them and parents/carers are invited to share their views through a form prior to the meeting in addition to their contributions within the meeting.  Through the school report; as part of the EHCP process, attainment including progress within the adult curriculum, accreditation updates and progress towards their EHCP outcomes; including personal English and Maths targets, will be reported on. 

The Team

The school prides itself on enabling all staff to access quality and effective CPD – both our internal programme of training within the school and Multi-Academy Trust as well as external training courses.  This links with priorities in staff performance management and our School Improvement Plan. 

Partnership working supports all aspects of our learning offer and strong relationships are an integral feature of the Churchward School community. The school works closely with external professionals to ensure that the needs of students are met and this collaborative working informs planning and delivery of curriculum content and wider educational experiences of each student.

The Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) will indicate the required therapies necessary for each student’s needs.  We will follow the guidance identified in the EHCP reviews in working with our students. We will liaise with other identified professionals in order to provide the services required. We currently work with other services; for example, CAHMS, Social Care – Disabled Children’s Team/ Adult Social Care, Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy.


Transitions are about moving on to the next stage of life and gaining confidence. It is about being able to settle well into new routines, new environments and getting to know new people. The staff at Churchward School will support students to move smoothly into the new school community and continue to provide support and guidance during their time with us.  From Year 9 onwards each student is allocated a transition worker from the local authority, who will support them in their transition to adulthood at 18. When students are preparing to move on from Churchward School, staff will help them and their families investigate different options such as a return to a mainstream provider or a different school, college, work, living in the community and/or leisure and social opportunities.

Equality and Diversity

At Churchward School we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all members of the school community – students, staff, governors, parents and community members. We aim to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity where everyone, irrespective of their race, ethnic or national origin or their citizenship, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious belief or disability feels welcome, valued and able to participate fully in school life.

Monitoring of the effectiveness of the provision 

There are robust systems in place for the CEO, Director of Education, senior leadership and governors to monitor the effectiveness of the school provision. The senior leadership team also monitors the delivery of teaching and progress made.  Moderation takes place with other schools within the MAT and with equivalent local providers.   Ofsted visit the school every 3 – 5 years to monitor and make their judgement.