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Communication & Interaction Resource Base

The Story So Far

 

Welcome to our new Communication and Interaction Resource Base (Poplar class).

 

We opened our doors on 14th October 2020 but the story of how we got here began in 2018 when Leicestershire County Council invited schools to bid for the establishment of Resource Bases on their school site.

 

As an inclusive school we saw this as a fantastic opportunity to provide specialist provision in the Loughborough area utilising our specialist knowledge of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC).  Even before the bid was completed all classroom based staff had received ‘Making Sense of Autism’ and ‘Good Autism Practice’ AET training (Autism Education Trust).  In January 2019 both the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher/SENCo completed ‘Leading Good Autism Practice’ AET training.

 

Our Resource Base is a new building, just next to the mainstream school.  It contains two classrooms, a sensory room and a meeting room along with substantial secure outdoor space.  We have capacity for ten KS2 pupils.

 

We hope that you find the information below useful.  If you would like to enquire further about the Resource Base, please contact the school office. 

 

 

Jo Beaumont                                    Rebekah Spencer

Headteacher                                     Deputy Headteacher and SENCo

 

Vision

Our vision for the Resource Base is very personal to us and forms part of our whole school ethos.

 

We aim for every child to become the best they can be with the skills, reason, sensitivity and tolerance to grow into an educated and caring individual ready to embark on the next stage of life’s journey.

 

We aim for each child to celebrate their autism and build on their strengths by teaching them the necessary skills and strategies to reduce their anxiety, build their confidence and raise their self-esteem through tailored support in the base, the mainstream classroom and the wider community.  We provide high quality teaching and learning experiences and an education that fosters ambition and prepares children for the future.

 

Curriculum

We provide a framework that covers the National Curriculum, broken into half termly themes connecting different areas of learning. This allows for a seamless transition between subjects with the aim of reducing anxiety.  Lessons are further broken down with tasks having a visible and predictable structure.  Visual timetables and a ‘first and then’ approach along with brain breaks, social stories and pre-teaching prepares pupils for transitions between subjects. Our highly trained staff are able to identify triggers for anxiety and plan for adjustments.

 

A broad and balanced curriculum that builds on pupils’ prior learning is achieved through quality first teaching. Lessons are delivered in a range of learning styles to suit individual needs. We make good use of outdoor space with a sensory garden, gym, tyre park, allotment and outdoor musical instruments.

 

Additionally, pupils have time to work on their individual EHCP outcomes. Ongoing assessments of pupils allows for personalised learning to take place.

 

Pupils will access whole class sessions, small group and 1:1 teaching in distraction free, low-stimulus environments. Additional adult support and a flexible approach enables pupils to success their learning alongside their peers.  We aim for pupils to access their learning for 20-80% of their timetable in the mainstream school enabling them to develop their social communication and language skills.  Through shared activities such as gardening; playground games; PE and cooking pupils will learn alongside a small group of their peers and develop their interaction with others.

All of our mainstream classrooms are low-stimulus environments.

 

Raising Attainment and Progress

Our aim is for pupils in the Resource Base to achieve the best possible outcomes.  By minimising triggers for anxiety and creating an ASC friendly environment we remove barriers to learning so that children are successful.  We recognise that pupils with ASC often have an uneven profile of abilities so we build on their strengths in order to motivate and encourage them to be independent learners.

 

Assessment

We monitor and track academic progress in line with the mainstream school’s assessment policy. Social progress is tracked using specific tools and sensory assessment.  Progress towards EHCP outcomes is monitored following a graduated response.

 

Safeguarding

Our safeguarding practice is highly effective and there is a culture of vigilance and shared responsibility across the school. The school site is secure with a perimeter fence and CCTV.  Pupils in the Resource Base have their own playground and secure outdoor space.

 

Building Positive Relationships

We share information with pupils and their families, signposting them to services and supporting them.  We work with Autism Outreach Service providing children and their families support.  Families are encouraged to express their views at all stages of the SEND process and in particular at EHCP annual review meetings.

 

We work extensively with external agencies to support the needs of pupils, for example Educational Psychology, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Health and Social Care.

 

Outreach Support

Mainstream schools are able to access our Outreach Support programme.  All referrals will require written parental consent with any information shared compliant with GDPR and Safeguarding good practice.

 

Our Outreach service will work in partnership with the Local Authority and SENA to promote and strengthen the inclusion of pupils with ASC in mainstream settings.  This will be achieved by supporting mainstream schools to meet the needs of pupils with ASC by developing their staffs’ skills and confidence.  Through offering practical advice; training and support, mainstream professionals will have the tools to develop their own practice.

 

Outreach will focus on how individual pupils with ASC are functioning in the mainstream classroom through observations and discussions with the teacher, SENCo and pupil.  Verbal feedback will be followed up by a written report that will include recommended strategies and resources.

 

A consultation service by email or telephone will also be made available to mainstream schools.  Outreach staff will be AET Tier 2 trained.

 

Admissions

The Communication and Interaction Resource Base is a ten-place specialist provision for pupils in KS2.  It is expected that all pupils admitted to the Resource Base shall have an Autistic Spectrum diagnosis and an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

 

The Council’s expectation is that pupil places in our Resource Base will have particular needs in line with the definitions of the SEND Code of Practice 2015:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

 

Autism Spectrum Condition

Pupils with an autism diagnosis are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction and may also experience difficulties with language, communication and social imagination which can impact on how they relate to others.  These children would likely have faced significant challenges within their mainstream school and/or the community that they live in and as a result a range of behaviours have ensued.  Recognition is made that with the right interventions, support, knowledge of staff working with them and environmental factors a bridge back towards mainstream life can be forged. Specifically, such pupils may:

 

  • have significant communication and interaction needs that have resulted in them not currently being able to access learning in a mainstream classroom for much of the school day/ week;
  • have a mixed profile with significant strengths in some areas, while communication and interaction remains an area of need;
  • need social skills to be taught explicitly;
  • have significant attention difficulties or be self-absorbed and difficult to engage;
  • demonstrate rigidity and resistance to social interaction which may at times result in challenging behaviours that could endanger self and others;
  • have anxiety issues that have resulted in an inability or significant challenges in being able to engage & therefore school/society refusal or as an externaliser where everything is perceived by the pupil as ‘everyone else’s fault;
  • be withdrawn from traditional styles of teaching and learning and may be reluctant to engage initially without significant differentiation to practices which may be seen as beyond reasonable for a mainstream education;
  • display a range of challenging behaviours that may include reluctance, verbal or physical responses i.e. task avoidance, defiance, swearing or hurting others/causing damage or shut down, freeze or become catatonic in presentation;
  • be socially isolated or withdrawn and unable, or lack confidence to, engage with others;
  • find large groups stressful or in such situations find it difficult to manage or learn;
  • take time to build trust in staff, to feel understood and valued;
  • have additional needs that behaviours mask;
  • present with low self-esteem.

 

In addition to the above, children could present with a range of co-morbidity issues including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, self-harming, Tourette’s, hormonal or other mental health needs.

Should you wish your child to join us here at Thorpe Acre Junior School, please ring the school office.
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