Independence, Emotional, Personal & Social Development Curriculum Overview

Independence is at the heart of all we do at Sandside Lodge School. We want all our students to be as independent as possible to live their lives to the full.

To do this each student needs to be able to make sense of their world and be able to cope with every day life and challenges.

All our students have gaps in their emotional development and we know that to learn effectively they need to feel safe, secure and cared for. This helps the connections to learning and experiences.

We are a Thrive Approach School and support students to deal with their emotions and help they to make sense of what they are, how they affect them and how they can manage them.

Socially, many of our students only have friends in school and may struggle with making and keeping friendships. We make a point of teaching these skills that many people find come very naturally. This helps keep our students safe and less vulnerable.

We support well-being and offer personalised ways of supporting students with their needs which also includes regulation activities.


We teach this through:

  • observing and supporting students
  • seeing how they show their preferences toward things they like
  • watching and developing how students communicate their needs.
  • co-regulation (adults supporting and modelling responses and behaviours)
  • supporting how the communicate what they want/need
  • providing reassurance as they begin to explore some independence.


Providing opportunities for students to:

  • make choices and  express their basic needs and wants to become independent in managing the world around them.
  • stay safe in a variety of situations e.g. So SAFE!
  • develop their social skills 
  • become more emotionally tolerant of other / sharing space. 
  • begin to express opinions and choices
  • start to understand feelings and how this can affect their bodies. 
  • become more familiar with emotional regulation and how this has a positive impact on their body.

Providing opportunities for students to:

  • feel more confident in their independence around school with school routines and structures.
  • develop their emotional resilience and learning how to manage this with less adult input.
  • have a better understanding of what personal safety is and how they can keep themselves safe. 
  •  develop their knowledge on road safety and develop this through role play and practical experiences.
  • have an ownership of their own belongings, own decisions, and will have an understanding of ways to stay safe. 
  • recognise levels of risk and make appropriate choices based of their own risk assessments. 
  • show an increasing understanding of physical risks, they will also start to recognise risks involved in the ever-evolving online world.
  • develop an understanding of how their bodies and feelings may have started to change and will start to recognise how to take care of their personal care with increasing independence.

Providing opportunities for students to:

  • develop the knowledge and skills we feel will support them in their future life. 
  • recognise how to stay safe and who / where to go if they are feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in different environments or circumstances. 
  • learn about themselves; how to develop appropriate relationships and how to make choices to support their own wellbeing.
  • recognise their own self care needs
  • develop increasing independence when managing their own needs
  • manage themselves within the home.
  • transfer skills to home and both parents and staff start to reduce the level of support when appropriate to encourage more independence.

We provide a range of activities so students develop their emotional resilience and have a greater understanding of how they can be independent.

Students have the opportunity to develop their tolerance when sharing, playing and socialising; in turn, they develop their emotional maturity and, in time, become less reliant on adult support.

Click the 3 year plan link to view the full school plan for the curriculum areas for the next 3 years.
Font Resize