Sensory 2019 - 2020

Mrs Harwood

Miss Molyneux


The Sensory Department

Welcome to the Sensory Department! My name is Erica Harwood and I am Head of the Department. We have three classes in this department which span the full age range of the school. The sensory department caters for pupils with more complex needs, including those with autism who use augmentative forms of communication and those with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and profound intellectual multiple impairments (PIMD). The pupils in the sensory department have additional associated difficulties such as sensory impairments, challening behaviour, autism and complex health needs. Due to the nature of pupils placed in the sensory department, each class has a high staffing ratio to support curriculum access, medical needs and personal care and learning needs. We currently have two classes that cater for pupils with autism or complex communication needs and one class for pupils with PMLD. Pupils who we feel have particular needs that can be best met in the sensory department will be identified as part of our transition process. In addition to the three main classes in the sensory department, there are two additional classes in the school who follow the sensory curriculum due to their significant learning and additional needs. One of these classes is based in the Key Stage 3 department, which is a discrete provision for pupils with autism and SLD. The other class is based in the Post 16 department and caters for youngsters with PIMD, SLD, autism and complex communication needs. 

Our curriculum sensory curriculum is skill and context based and encourages active engagement in learning. The curriculum focuses on developing the key skills of communication, cognition, independence, physical development, self-care and sensory responses, all transferrable skills that equip our pupils for life beyond the school.

Our curriculum strives to be responsive to each learner and build on individual strengths and interests. A rolling thematic plan is in place, which supports a balance of stimulating contexts for learning through different learning experiences, themes and stimuli.

We have two core curricula which meet the range of learning needs of all our pupils in the department. Pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) are provided with an informal curriculum which is specifically designed to meet their needs in connecting and responding. Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), including those with ASC benefit from a semi-formal curriculum which promotes life-skills and is highly stimulating.

Each pupil in the department will now follow either an ‘informal’ curriculum pathway or ‘semi formal’ pathway depending on their need.

Informal Curriculum

This curriculum includes the following domains:

  • My communication

  • My thinking (conceptual development)

  • My Body / physical skills

  • Personal care and Independence

  • Sensory Responses (therapy curriculum)

Semi-Formal Curriculum

The curriculum includes the following domains:

  • My communication

  • My thinking (conceptual development)

  • Physical Skills

  • Personal care and Independence

  • Sensory Responses (therapy curriculum)

  • My Creativity

  • How My World Works

Therapies are an important part of the curriculum offered in the sensory department and we have developed and implemented a range of ASC specific and PMLD specific therapies to meet the needs of our youngsters. In our ASC classes, pupils undertake Lego therapy and Venturing into Play to aid social communication skills and physical therapies for self regulation such as Cosmic Yoga, sensory circuits and rebound therapy. Pupils with PMLD receive therapies to develop mobility and tactual skills through Tac Pac, sensory dance massage, use of the vibroacoustic bed, rebound and hydrotherapy. Those with low vision will also undertake regular sessions in the dark room for visual stimulation led by specialist staff. Our therapies take place in our specialist rooms throughout school, such as the light and dark room, soft play and physio room.

For further information please refer to the Sensory Curriculum Document.

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Ysgol Maes Hyfryd Specialist High School, Fifth Avenue, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5QL

Tel: 01352 792720 / 01352 792727 | Email: