Hello and welcome to the specialist Autism Unit at Newbold Verdon Primary School.
We hope to give you as much information as possible in order to make the transition and settling in process an easy one. We aim to create a calm, happy and structured environment in which the children feel secure and can develop their skills. As well as developing their academic skills, our major focus is teaching social communication, language interaction and life skills.
All of the staff who work within our lovely school are looking forward to welcoming your child and your family into our community.
The unit is an integral part of Newbold Verdon Primary School. It consists of 24 children from EYFS to year six children. We are made up of three classes, named Rainbow, Stars and Treetops.
All the children have a diagnosis of ASD and many have associated learning difficulties. The children are working academically below their peers within moderate learning difficulties.
All children have an Education Health and Care plan which is reviewed annually.
Admission is decided by SENA at County Hall who allocate children’s places after consultation with ourselves to ensure we can meet the child’s needs.
The School Day
The school day is the same as the mainstream children with the doors opening ready to start at 8.50am and the children are picked up at 3.15pm
Parents or taxis are able to park in the car park located at the rear of the school and bring children directly to the unit door, which is also located at the rear of the school. A member of unit staff will be waiting at the door to greet your child on arrival. Children are encouraged to organise their own belongings and have their own lockers to put all their things in.
Once all of the children have arrived in school, and are in their own classroom, the school day begins with each child being greeted by the members of staff and other children in their class. The children then follow their own individual, personalised timetable.
As the children generally have a longer school day due to the travelling, we offer Snack time for the children at 10.15am or 10.30am. We ask that the children bring in their own snacks and juice and remember we are a nut free school. We do encourage healthy eating but understand that some of our children may have limited diets and will support any specific foods that they need.
The younger children have access to the quad area where the children have their own bikes and scooters. The older children have access to the main playground where they have their own larger bikes and trikes.
After playtime, children return to their class to continue following their individual, personalised timetable.
At 11.50am the children get ready for lunchtime and go into the dinner hall to have their lunch. They are supported by a number of staff from within their class as well as specially trained lunchtime supervisors. Children are able to have a hot dinner, which you are able to pay for via Parentmail, or they can bring their own packed lunch should they prefer. Please be aware if you do choose to send food in for your child that we are a nut free school as we have several pupils who have a severe nut allergy. Once the children have finished eating their lunch they go back to their own classroom and are then taken onto the playground for playtime with the rest of the school, with the same level of supervision they have at playtime. They can wear wellies and waterproofs should they wish to use the school field.
Afternoon school resumes at 1.00pm.
We believe in rewarding children for their hard work and therefore each class has their own “special Time” in the afternoon. At this time children are offered a choice of activities that they can choose to participate in the quad and bikes currently being the most popular.
A further snack time is offered to the children at 2.30pm. We then get ready to gather our belongings and prepare for home time with a nice quiet time to settle for our journey home. At 3.15pm a member of Unit staff will then open the back gate for parents/escorts to access the door ready to collect their children. Unit staff then hand over the children to parents/escorts one at a time.
The children’s core skills are taught on an individual basis and supported with an Individual Education Plan which reflects their specific academic needs. These targets are worked on daily with a very structured timetable supported by individual visual timetables to enable the children to predict and understand their daily routines.
The underlying emphasis of all we do is to promote language, social and independent development as well as addressing the children’s academic needs to ensure we fulfil their individual learning potential.
We adopt aspects of the TEACCH approach with children having their own individual work station and visual support dependent upon their level of understanding. The children are given daily opportunity to work independently on tasks which supports both their learning targets and enhances their ability to work and complete tasks without adult prompts.
There is time in the day where children are taught in small groups to help promote their social awareness and ability to listen and participate in group sessions. The wider curriculum is delivered in small group teaching.
The children have access to the national curriculum and we follow a two year rolling, topic, programme which promotes development across the Unit classes. Our curriculum reflects the needs of the children and is taught with their interests, learning ability and priorities for learning in mind. We are very flexible in that we tailor our teaching approaches and content to ensure we give the best opportunities for our children to engage, enjoy teaching experiences and become motivated learners.
We have high expectations of our children and promote tolerance and understanding for all.
We are aware that some of our children have anxieties and recognise that behaviour is a way for our children to communicate. We learn to understand our children and will recognise situations they might find difficult and create diversionary tactics.
We adopt a positive approach to behaviour with rewards and “special time” as an integral part of our children’s day. If a child displays challenging behaviour we will work closely with parents and develop agreed behaviour plans. Staff are all trained in team teach and agree that a calm, consistent approach is the best way to help our children find more appropriate ways to express their frustration and behaviour.
Within the Unit we have our own toilets. We have a motorised changing bed within the toilet area should children be using nappies. We do try to encourage and help children with toilet training, however, we are aware that this is not always possible and all staff are trained and able to change nappies. If your child wears nappies we do ask you to provide the nappies and wipes needed and staff will ask for these to be replenished when required.
Children wear the same school uniform across the school: grey/black trousers/skirt, white polo shirt and blue jumper. There is a link on the school website to enable you to order school uniform. If your child has any particular issues with school uniform please speak to your child’s class teacher to see what we can do to resolve these.
All children will require an indoor and outdoor PE kit consisting of black/dark shorts, white T-shirt, a suitable tracksuit for outside, plimsolls for indoors and trainers for outdoors.
Please ensure that all of your child’s belongings are clearly labelled.
All children have social opportunities to mix with their mainstream peers. This occurs at dinnertime and on the playground. The children are supported at this time.
The children in The Unit also participate in whole school celebrations or “special theme days” throughout the year.
Both Key stage classes have daily access to outdoor learning. We have bikes to accommodate all ages and promote physical development. PE is taught weekly. Opportunities are also offered throughout the week for children to access Speed agility and quickness training which helps support our children’s gross motor and sensory processing difficulties.
The children also have access to Forest school which is part of the whole school within the grounds and run by trained forest school staff.
We are aware that our children travel in from county wide. We value parent contribution and communication. We use tapestry as a means to share children’s daily experiences and will use a communication book to help keep an open dialogue with parents. Termly parents’ evenings occur. If there are any specific difficulties or concerns we will contact parents by phone and encourage them to contact us of any concerns or issues.
We have a good parent support network within the Unit. Monthly coffee mornings are offered to parent’s to get together at school to discuss different topics and offer a support for each other.
If you should need to speak to a member of staff you can contact us via the office on 01455 822362. The office will then pass the message on to the relevant member of staff and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
We hope that you have found the information contained in this leaflet useful and that it has answered many of the questions you may have at this time. We very much look forward to welcoming your child into our school.