The Shirehampton Centre caters for pupils in Key Stage 2 (although this year it has been appropriate for a year 2 pupil to attend the setting). All pupils have a primary need of autism and most will be functioning within early National Curriculum expectations in year 6. Most pupils attend the Centre after having tried mainstream school, some pupils will have attended our Napier Miles site for KS1 and some will also transfer from other specialist settings.
Class groups are carefully planned and staffed, each have a qualified teacher along with a teaching assistant. Pupil placement is organised with a sensitivity to individual pupil need, social and academic learning, year group, and complexity of a pupils learning style. Pupils’ individual learning path ways are planned to minimise barriers to learning and develop progress.
The setting is quiet, purposeful and friendly. Pupils have a real sense of belonging and show a positive approach to their learning.
We provide a broad and balanced, curriculum, with extended learning beyond the classroom. This is carefully differentiated and tailored to meet individual learning progress. The social curriculum is equally valued and there is a strong working ethos on promoting positive behaviours for learning. Attainment in the social curriculum is equally valued for our learners.
Teaching and learning approaches are matched to a pupil’s preferred learning style and areas for development, this may include individual delivery, small group co-operation and independent work. Strategies to support ASC learners are embedded in our daily routines and class settings implement methods to support this, for example symbolised visual support, social stories, structured systems (TEACCH) and reduced language in the environment (KISS).
All pupils have targets to develop their social skills, communication and independence. Some pupils may also have additional support plans, to facilitate and develop their behavioural and emotional regulation.
We further develop social skills, working with others, accepting the values of others, accepting change and a sense of fairness. These sessions require a more direct teaching approach using real situations, appropriate responses and actions are modelled by familiar adults to show ways of responding appropriately to unfamiliar circumstances.
For those pupils requiring sensory integration regulation, active sessions are planned in our Movement Room, incorporating swing, spin and bounce movements. Using the climbing wall, swings and spinning pods pupils can develop gross motor skill development and gain instant responses to large body activities.
We believe in positive working relationships with parents, carers and professionals. Teachers communicate daily with families through a Home-School Diary and adopt a key worker role for pupils to also make regular phone calls home to offer additional support and guidance.
We have close links with our host primary school, and can offer bespoke opportunities for inclusion where appropriate. This would be carefully planned between staff and parents to ensure experiences are successful and motivating. We have previously explored sharing playground spaces, using Pets as Therapy sessions and joining class sessions for identified subject areas of strength.