The Bears Class
We have some children in the school whose needs are significantly different to their peers. This year we are trialling an alternative approach for a small number of children who have significant and severe learning difficulties and sensory needs which impact on their access to education and progress. These children find sharing a space with others very difficult and at times this can lead to significant anxiety and disruption.
We wanted to establish a provision which is run differently to any other class within the school.
Having observed the children and their responses and engagement in various activities across the school day, we established the provision to include the following elements:
- A significantly reduced class size of three
- 1:1 support with an extra member of staff for the group to support breaks, lunches, changing times and the anticipated and expected need for a ‘change of face’
- A specially adapted therapeutic styled classroom that has an emphasis on sensory integration equipment and is a safe space.
- Staff who are highly skilled and trained in the delivery of personalised approaches such as intensive interaction, Sherborne, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), attention autism and behaviour management
- Opportunities outside of school to meet sensory integration needs in purposeful and specific environments and activities such as climbing and horse riding and frequent access to teaching in garden school
- Extended working hours for staff to ensure that all resources are personalised to each child and to enable staff to run daily de-briefs
- The main approach required for the children is based on intensive interaction approaches where a skilled 1:1 support assistant can exploit and respond to every opportunity for communication
- Weekly supervision and training session for all support staff with the Deputy Head Teacher, resident play therapist and sensory integration lead to ensure that staff feel supported in planning next steps in response to pupil interests and that progress is carefully mapped and planned for.
- Regular liaison with parents and the disabled children’s team and open minds to ensure a consistent and joined up approach between home and school