Lower School

 

The Lower School building opened in January 2011. It is the base for our three primary classes blue, red and yellow.

Lower School Dining Room

In the primary classes we use many specialist teaching methods. These include PECS (Picture exchange communication system), TEACCH (a structured teaching approach for children with autism) and SPELL (a structured, positive, empathetic and low arousal approach that value links with parents and other professionals). All staff are trained in positive behaviour management techniques.

The children work in three teaching groups according to age and/or learning styles. The younger children and the children that need a more sensory curriculum have a large indoor and outdoor learning environment (Blue Group).

When children are ready they are encouraged to participate in group lessons using objectives from our Medium Term Planning documents. Our curriculum is an adapted version of The National Curriculum and includes objectives from the National strategies, the Foundation Stage Curriculum and the Equals (SLD & PMLD) Curriculum. All of the work is differentiated to each child’s individual learning level.

 

Blue Class

Blue class is for age 5-8 year old pupils, mainly (but not exclusively) for those with ASC. At the present time we have 7 pupils with 1 teacher and 2 TA’s. The classroom is set up in a very structured / uncluttered way, with the use of schedule boards to inform pupils as to their next activity and receiver boards (for them to know where they should be sat for this activity). The use of visual forms of communication is central to this class. PECS is used for the pupils to make choices eg choosing the reward they want to work for, for choosing favourate snack/ food items, or for commenting on their work. Staff reinforce PECS through a “total communication” approach, using Makaton signing and electronic apps on the iPad. Our timetable follows the whole school approach, so a focus on the core subjects of Literacy (including Phase 2/3 phonics) and Maths in the morning and then Science / PSHE (this includes cooking) / ICT / Sensory in the afternoon. We follow an adapted National Curriculum. Blue class follow a TEACCH approach with their Literacy / Maths work with tasks tailor made to meet the childs individual needs and presented in a way that is easily understood by the ASC pupils using a “workbox system”. Blue class also follow a “squashing” programme every day, with the use of deep pressure therapy. This helps with self regulation and sensory processing. We benefit from having a specialist PE teacher, delivering PE to the class once per week, and we are able to access our own swimming pool every Monday afternoon. On a regular basis throughout the term, we also access “donkey assisted therapy” at the Slade Centre, Sidmouth which all the pupils love. Blue class also access Rowan playground for their playtimes (a big green space, with robust wooden play equipment) and our own “little forest” where we undertake science activities and have a mud kitchen.

 

Red Class

details to follow...

 

Yellow Class

details to follow...