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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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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