Opportunity Base Additional Information

Foresters is an inclusive school which endeavours to include all children and adults fully into its community.

We aim to meet all pupil and staff needs, encouraging them to achieve their full potential and raise standards. We try to create a positive, inclusive environment, which is based on respect for individual differences and shows a commitment to challenging and preventing racism and discrimination.

Welcome to Foresters Opportunity Base (FOB)

The Opportunity Base has been part of Foresters Primary School since September 1998 and provides 42 places for children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders).

The Opportunity Base comprises of four classes across the primary age range, covering Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. These classes are situated within the main school building amongst the mainstream classrooms. The accommodation comprises of classrooms centred around two large central resource areas. These areas are used for groups of children during the school day and at lunchtime as a dining hall.

Each class in the Opportunity Base has a class teacher and 3/2 classroom assistants (depending on need and numbers of children):

The four classes are;

  • Peach (Foundation stage and Year 1)
  • Apple (Key Stage 1, Years 1&2)
  • Larch (Key Stage 2 Years 3&4)
  • Maple (Key Stage 2 Years 5&6)

Children from the FOB classes access the mainstream through whole class or group integration, the type and level of integration is individual to each child and monitored closely with support from their FOB class.

Apple, Larch and Maple class have access to the FOB playground. This playground has several play areas for the children, a train, climbing frame, and interactive wall panels. Children from these classes are also able to access the mainstream playground and facilities (and many do)'. In Peach class the children have their own play area in accordance with good early years practice outside their class with a climbing frame and also integrate daily with mainstream reception.

What is Autism?

Autism is a condition that prevents a child communicating effectively with others around them. It can profoundly affect their behaviour and their ability to learn.

These children often do not like physical contact, they do not initiate communication of any type, or they can have very little social engagement, which seems to be very odd or inappropriate. They have great difficulty reading facial expression. They have very restricted, or no, pretend play.

They often have restricted and repetitive/obsessive interests and behaviours.

People with autism have great difficulty filtering out unnecessary information which can lead to high levels of anxiety. Many of our children need a very structured and rigid routine in order to reduce their stress.

On account of the difficulties that our base children have, and the way that they learn, at times it is necessary for them to have a curriculum that is structured differently to that provided for children in the mainstream but all children follow the National Curriculum and mainstream and base classes work closely together on topic work.

All of our children are very different and we tailor our teaching and support to meet their needs. In the classrooms we use a variety of approaches such as:

TEACCH - an intervention that teaches independent working.

Visuals - pictures used to aid understanding (used by all staff).

Intensive interaction therapy - This approach is useful for teaching the early stages of communication and to teach facial expression.

PECS - (Picture Exchange Communication System): A specialist approach is used to help children to communicate by the exchange of pictures. When people become stressed they use the language that they have, and therefore, it is a useful technique for many of our children to have mastered.

Emotions Scale - this helps us teach children about emotions and to recognise them in themselves and others.

SEN and disabilities

Pupils with disabilities are admitted in line with our general admission procedures and we are keen to liaise with parents and support agencies to make any reasonable adjustments to ensure any pupil with a disability can access the full range of educational opportunities offered by the school
Where children have a statement of educational need their admission will be managed by the LA.

At Foresters we are committed to offering an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all our pupils whatever their needs or abilities. The school is committed to inclusion to prevent disabled children being treated less favourably than other pupils. In order to do this we undertake to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils, so that they are not at a substantial disadvantage.

The school has a base for children with social ASD and specialist teaching approaches are used.

There is full wheelchair access into the school and to all areas. Internally the school is on one level and is fully equipped with disabled toilet and showers. The outside play areas are accessible to all children. The school has an accessibility plan (required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) covering future policies for increasing access to the school for pupils with disabilities.

We recognise that many pupils will have special needs at some time during their school life. The school has a Special Educational Needs policy which ensures that all children receive access to a broad and balanced curriculum suitably differentiated to meet their needs. This policy is available to view on request. Styles of teaching and approaches may need to be adapted according to need and there may need to be some modification of the curriculum. Any special provisions made should relate to the individual needs of the pupil. The importance of early identification, assessment and provision for any child who may have special educational needs cannot be over-emphasised. Parents are kept fully informed of their child's progress and attainment. As soon as children are identified as having special needs they are monitored through the Special Needs Register. Their progress will continue to be monitored at regular intervals and decisions about how best to meet their needs made. Whilst many factors contribute to the range of difficulties experienced by some children, we believe that much can be done to overcome them by parents, teachers and pupils working together.

The school offer is available through the school website and the LA website.

Information and Guidance/Points of Contact

Who should I contact to discuss the concerns or needs of my child?

  • Foresters has an Opportunity Base for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This has its own separate admissions policy. Children attending the Opportunity Base have a diagnosis of Autistic spectrum Disorder. All children attending the Opportunity Base have a Statement or Education Health Care Plan and are placed here by the Local Authority. Children attending the Opportunity Base are educated in separate classes. The expectation is that they will benefit from some level of integration into mainstream. Opportunities for integration are looked at on an individual basis according to need.
  • The Opportunity Base runs alongside the mainstream school and wherever possible policies and procedures are the same but they may be adapted to meet the needs of the children in the base.
  • The school offer for the base needs to be read alongside the mainstream offer. Any additions or amendments to the mainstream offer will be set out here.

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

Assessment, Planning and Review/Partnerships for Progress

How does the school know how well my child is doing?
How will I be kept informed about how well my child is doing?
How regularly will I be updated on my child's progress?
Will I know if my child is not making progress and what will happen?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • The assessment tool PIVATS is used to breakdown National Curriculum areas further to show small steps of progress.

Curriculum and Teaching Methods ( including groupings / interventions )

What is the curriculum and how is it taught?
How will the curriculum be adapted to meet the needs of my child?
How flexible can teachers be in meeting the needs of my child?
Is there any additional support available to help my child reach his/her expected outcomes?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • The Opportunity Base has on site Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy for part of the week. This is decided upon according to need and the provision set out in the child's Statement or Plan. Direct therapy and/or advice may be provided. The therapists work closely with school staff to support the needs of identified children. They are available to meet with parents by appointment.
  • Classes within the Opportunity Base are much smaller (between 8-12) and have a higher adult ratio than mainstream classes. ASD friendly strategies are used within the classes - visual symbols, reduced language, less distracting environment, sensory programmes, emotions scale. Children attending the Opportunity Base should be able to benefit from some element of integration into mainstream and this will be looked at on an individual basis. Adults support children when integrating into mainstream but independence is encouraged and this may not always be necessary. Opportunity Base classes are located within the open plan environment of the school. Children within the base often have sensory needs and staff are trained to recognise these and provide appropriate support to help them self-regulate.

Access to Learning and the Curriculum

Are there any special features or strategies to help children learn?
How do I know my child's particular need will be met?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • There is a sensory room used to support children's communication skills and help with emotional regulation and relaxation.
  • Once a child is placed with us we will do our best to meet their needs. Very occasionally for some children it becomes clear that we are no longer the correct provision and we are unable to meet their needs. In these very rare instances we will work with parents and the local authority to find a more appropriate provision that parents are happy with. If we do have any concerns about placement we will always discuss this with parents at the earliest stage.

Tests and Assessments : Access Arrangements

What arrangements are available for pupils to access tests and assessments?
How will I know if my child qualifies for additional support or time to access tests?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • All children in the base are considered for inclusion in formal tests and assessments . Decisions will be made on a case by case basis as to whether they can access the tests or if any access arrangements need to be put in place.

Social and Emotional Support

How does the school help my child to feel comfortable and safe and manage social situations?
How does the school help develop my child's social and emotional skills?
What is the school's policy on bullying?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • Use of social stories to help develop understanding of social situations children are finding difficult and to prepare them for transitions.
  • Home school books are used to support communication for children in the base who arrive by SEN transport.
  • Intensive Interaction is available as a therapy on a needs basis.

Accessibility to Premises and Facilities

What facilities are in the school to assist children with disabilities move around the building and take part in lessons?
How do I know my child will be able to access all lessons?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

Working with others

Who does the school work with?
How are these accessed? (referrals; criteria)
How does the school work with other agencies?
How will I be informed?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • The school works closely with the borough's ASD service and may request support or advice for individual children.
  • The school is able to access on site Speech and Language Therapy and/or Occupational Therapy, where this is part of a child's statement or EHCP. Other children can be referred according to need.

Transition

How will the school help my child settle with confidence and manage change as they move between schools and year groups?

See the main Foresters Primary School SEN information report

  • Children starting in the base attend a familiarisation visit.
  • Planned programme of transition during summer term for children moving between classes.
  • Transition book for all children in base to prepare them for transition at end of year.