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The Wyvern School

The Wyvern School

Primary Thematic Pathway 


The Primary Thematic Life Skills Pathway aims to introduce pupils to early academic skills while consolidating and embedding fundamental communication, self-regulation, social and emotional skills. The pupils follow a topic-based curriculum with personalised learning opportunities to develop their independence. Primary Thematic pupils can gradually engage with a more formal learning approach, but still require support with emotional and self-regulation to ensure they are ‘ready to learn’. All the areas of learning are based on our four school values of be independent, show respect, spread happiness and connect community. These inter-connect with the British Values and also form the basis of addressing behaviour, and promoting good citizenship.
These students are aged between 6-11 years of age and typically from Year 2 to Year 6, matching the Primary Phase of school life. If they have attended The Wyvern School before entering this Pathway, then they would have experienced the EYFS framework including Portage for the previous two academic years within the EYFS Pathway, encompassing Reception and Year 1. They may have transferred over from the Sensory Pathway, if their level of engagement has increased and their ability to attend to group work has developed.
The Primary Thematic Pathway is split into two Early Thematic classes and two Thematic Classes.
Early Thematic students overlap with the Sensory Life Skills Pathway as they are students who need more time to process, more active engagement activities, more social skills activities and more time spent on basic communication skills. They also need an approach to learning in short bursts of activities with sensory breaks in between teacher directed activities. There is an expectation of more play-based activities to increase engagement to learn in an active way. These classes are at the early stages of the Thematic Curriculum- see appendix 1.

The Thematic classes are students who may be ready for the CLICK Pathway in the future as they are at the earlier stages of formal, more academic learning.
All of the classes are arranged into age and need. Elephants are the younger class of Early Thematic students and Lemurs are the older class of Early Thematic students. Tigers are the younger Thematic class and Giraffes are the older Thematic Class.

The Learners

Primary Thematic Pathway Ages 6-11 years

Giraffes – 13 children
Lynne Wickham/ Heather Newman- Primary Thematic Pathway Lead
with Jessica Eldridge- Teacher Apprentice
Elephants – 10 children
Kevin Ruddell
Lemurs – 11 children
Louisa Sargent- Behaviour Lead
Tigers – 11 children
Georgia Webb- Chrissie Bosanko

Children are ready to join our pathway when they are able to engage with a more formal learning approach and will have a more consistent form of functional communication. They will be able to begin to answer questions using their form of communication and be able to have some kind of interaction with their peers, familiar adults and unfamiliar adults. Their attention skills will be increasing so that they can follow simple instructions from the Teacher and have some capability to work in a whole class setting for some of the time. The level of engagement in all sessions and level of participation will be increased. They will have strengthening social skills and be able to share a resource and play with their peers.
Students who have increased their attention, engagement, social skills, Reading, Writing, Maths and Communication levels as set on The Wyvern milestones, to a degree where they can participate in regular academic learning will then be ready for the CLICK Pathway. For Primary students this means they will be able to access learning from around milestone 5.


In the Primary Pathway, the children have access to a wide range of subjects including:

 Thematic children have Maths and English activities every morning, and the children are taught to read using Read Write Inc. daily, when developmentally appropriate. English activities includes phonics, reading, comprehension, creative writing and writing for a purpose, handwriting and fine motor skills, spelling and communication skills. The Early Thematic students will be working on pre-reading skills, fine motor skills and gross motor skills as well as mark making, basic comprehension, early number skills and increasing their form of communication skills. For the Thematic students Maths activities focuses on a different area of Maths each day, including number and place value, four operations, shape, measure, money, calendar and time, statistics and ratio. Our afternoons consist of two lessons, and the length of these lessons are dependent on our children’s individual abilities to attend to these lessons. As with all activities, the length of sessions and areas covered will depend on the readiness of the children in each class. This approach to Maths ensures the children consolidate their learning through repetition and with meaningful, hands-on and purposeful activities. All Maths sessions will include manipulatives to increase their understanding of early Maths skills.
Morning sessions include Maths and English, Daily Reflection, some Physical Development, Social and Emotional learning as well as Communication Skills.
The afternoon sessions include Topic which covers a cross-curricular approach to learning covering the rest of the curriculum based around the various subjects. All learning includes Communication Skills and our school values particularly independence.
All of the learning objectives are in the form of ‘I can’ statements, and derive from The Wyvern School Progression Documents for English, Maths, PE, Communication and Religion and Ethics.
The Pathway curriculum runs on a 5-year cycle as the students could potentially be in the Primary Pathway for 5 years. Each term in every cycle is based on books which creates a hook for learning the broad and varied curriculum. The chosen books are diverse, age appropriate, and developmentally appropriate encompassing a wide range of themes for the students to gain different experiences from- see link below for an example of our Primary Thematic Pathway Book Cycle.

Book cycle

The curriculum covers all aspects of life skills including independence and social skills. It encompasses a wide range of topics to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum. The topics are based on aiming to increase their understanding of the world around them, see link to Topic Cycles.

Primary Thematic Topic Cycles
The curriculum forms the over-arching focus for each week, the daily focus is based on the class cohort as well as each child’s individual EHCP targets.
The class timetables vary from Early Thematic to Thematic classes and by age.

Example timetable
The timetables include outdoor learning and physical developmental skills. Communication and Social skills are focussed on throughout the day including snack-times and lunchtimes.

The timings for each area are as follows:


In the Primary Thematic Life Skills Pathway, you will see some, if not all, of these approaches to learning depending on the child’s individual needs: the use of Makaton, symbols, visually supported resources, visual timetables and now and next boards. Communication is a key skill for the Thematic Pathway as is developing the level of independence. Clear and labelled environments will be evident in every classroom. Attention Autism known as Bucket sessions are a perfect way to engage the students and increase their level of resilience, concentration and engagement. Communication aids will be utilised in every session according to the individual student’s needs such as PECS/ Communication Books at various levels, digital aids such as VOCAs and switches. Manipulatives are always used in Maths sessions particularly and hands-on resources to support learning are used in other sessions, where appropriate. The environments are clear and organised areas with separate areas designated for different purposes, e.g work, reading corners, calming space. In addition, you will see displays for English, Maths, Daily Reflection, our school values, Topic/children’s work, children’s individual targets and space for children to move and regulate.
Teachers are skilled to adapt their teaching and prepared lessons within the activity if they feel a student needs their learning extended or simplified. The Teacher also takes into account a child’s emotional regulation and will make adaptations accordingly.


In the Pathway, we assess the children in a variety of ways. To ensure consistency across the school, we assess in Reading, Writing, Maths and Communication using The Wyvern progression documents. This is recorded on the school assessment system, Earwig. The progress of their EHCP targets are also recorded on Earwig. The students’ progress is monitored regularly by the Pathway Leads and the assigned Assistant Head. There is an expectation that all students will achieve a green good, progress outcome at the three assessment periods.

Pupil Progress meetings are undertaken three times a year led by the Assistant Head for assessment alongside the Assistant Head affiliated to the Thematic Primary Pathway where the Class Teacher can discuss the achievements and progress of the class. Actions from these meetings are then followed up by the Class Teacher and assigned Assistant Head.
In the classrooms, the children receive ongoing verbal feedback on a day-by-day, lesson by lesson basis. This feedback is given in a meaningful way to the children alongside stickers, high-fives, verbal comments or ticks etc. depending on the child’s level of understanding and own individual preferences. The day to day impact is also monitored through pop ins each week undertaken by the Pathway Lead, IRIS reflections three times a year and Learning Walks also three times annually. Feedback is given to the Class Leads after all of these monitoring systems. When necessary, actions will be set for the Pathway or individual members of staff.
Students who have increased their attention, engagement, social skills, Reading, Writing, Maths and Communication levels as set on The Wyvern milestones, to a degree where they can participate in regular academic learning will then be ready for the CLICK Pathway. For Primary students this means they will be able to access learning from around milestone 5.

Reading Guarantees

Daily Read Write Inc. phonics sessions for those students who are developmentally ready.
• RWI sessions are at least 25 minutes long increasing to 45 minutes.
• All children are sent home books which are changed weekly. They can read, share and enjoy these chosen texts at home with their families. Reading records accompany these books so families can record information about their child’s reading or enjoyment of the book.
• Information is sent home to parents with how they can support their child with their reading
• Reading for pleasure time happens during every school day, where staff can read stories to the children, and the children can have time to explore a variety of reading materials
• Comprehension tasks and activities at least once a week as a stand-alone lesson, embedded through English lessons, but comprehension skills are also practised during other subjects throughout the timetable.
• All children are to be heard read every week, at least twice a week, by a member
of staff on a book that is aimed at their own reading ability level
inclusive of RWI texts.
• Reading opportunities in other subjects, e.g., give children the time to practise their reading in Maths questions, cooking instructions, signs around the school or local community and games instructions, where appropriate to the child
• Every class will have a reading area. This is having reading material at height accessible for the children with a range of different texts of different genres and abilities, and will include somewhere comfortable for the children to sit. It will have a reading display clearly labelled with signs and symbols linked to the texts being read each week, photos of the students in the class reading and any other labels and signs that are relevant for the class cohort.


Maths Guarantees
• The schemes used in Primary Thematic are ‘White Rose Maths’ and/or ‘Maths for Life’ to support the planning and pedagogy of teaching
• Wide-coverage of the Maths curriculum as is appropriate and accessible for individual learners
• A cross-curricular approach to teaching of Maths, where appropriate, e.g., cooking lessons, reading bus/train timetables in the local community
• Repetition is key to embedding key skills and understanding which is why Maths happens daily in planned sessions, but also incidentally during the school day.
• Manipulatives are available for every Maths session as Primary Thematic students learn through a multi-sensory approach.
• A concrete (using manipulatives), pictorial (using images), then abstract (using symbols) approach is clearly presented to the students.
•The teaching of Maths is dependent on the individual learner’s needs