Headteacher: Mr S Campbell
Teacher in Charge: Ms F Fitzwillian (Acting)
Designation: Speech, language and communication needs including social communication difficulties
Age range: 4 to 11
The Unit at St Mary’s supports children with difficulties in the areas of communication and interaction. They may have speech and language delay, impairments and disorders (including those associated with hearing impairment). The objective is to help them acquire the necessary skills to become independent learners and access the broader curriculum within a mainstream class, given appropriate support.
The unit caters for children from the foundation stage through key stage 2 (4 to 11 years). Children enter the unit on a full-time basis except those under statutory school age, who attend for the morning session only. There is unit provision for up to 10 children across the infant and junior sites.
Although an all-through primary school, the infants (ages 4 to 7) are based in a building in Amyand Park Road, and the juniors (ages 7 to 11) in a building on the Richmond Road. On each site there is a classroom and an office. The children share toilet, playtime and lunchtime facilities with the mainstream classes. Both classes are situated on the first floor of the school building and there is access by lift if required.
The unit has a full-time teacher, a full-time teaching assistant and part-time teaching assistant on each site. In addition, the unit is supported by a part-time specialist, speech and language therapist (2.5 days per week) who works with children on both sites.
The unit caters for children who have communication and interaction difficulties in the area of speech, language and communication, including social communication, and associated behavioural difficulties.
The unit admits children that already have a statement of special educational needs and have been referred by the special educational needs panel. The unit is available to any child regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion.
Each child has an individual education plan (IEP) based on their needs set out in their statement. Parents or carers are invited to attend termly meetings to review progress made against the targets on the plan and set new targets. Whenever possible the children are encouraged to be involved in choosing targets for the IEP.
Parents or carers are also invited to attend the annual review of their child’s statement where progress is reviewed against the objectives in the statement. Parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and other people working with the child are invited to submit a report summarising the child’s progress and make suggestions for future targets and support.
Children’s progress is monitored in the short-term through daily observations which may be recorded in the teachers’ planning.
There may also be more formal assessments in line with the school assessment policy. Children may also undergo specialist assessments administered by the speech and language therapist, educational psychologist or other outside agencies. Parents are always kept fully informed of their child’s progress. The information gathered is used by the teachers and therapists to target appropriate support.
Children follow the foundation stage or national curriculum appropriate for their age wherever possible. Work in the unit mirrors work in the mainstream classes in order to ease integration. Work in the unit focuses on the pupil’s needs set out in their statements. The emphasis is on fostering language development and communication skills, including social communication. Children work individually and in groups to develop key skills and build confidence to cope with a variety of social situations.
The unit provides opportunities for the children to build positive relationships with other children and adults. Staff encourage the children to make choices and to develop as independent learners. Children have a well structured day with familiar routines to help them predict what will happen next. This is supported by a visual timetable
Close liaison between the unit, home and mainstream classes is essential for supporting the children and ensuring a consistent approach. Unit staff are available to talk to parents or carers before or after school most days. In addition, children have a home-school diary where comments can be recorded by teachers or parents about progress or significant events. As well as the annual review of their child’s statement, parents are invited to attend parents’ evenings, assemblies and other school events.
The school has good links with the school nursing team, social services and the educational welfare service. Parents and teachers may call upon their advice in order to support children in the unit.
St Mary’s School is a voluntary aided school and as such the children in the unit share in the Christian ethos of the school. The school has a strong link with St Mary’s Church.
The children will usually be included with children in the mainstream school for playtimes, assemblies, whole school singing and school or class events. In addition, they are linked to one of the mainstream classes to encourage opportunities for social inclusion. They can join these classes for some sessions as appropriate to their language needs, self-esteem and confidence. The unit staff work closely with class teachers to plan inclusion opportunities and ensure that the children’s learning and social needs are met.
Children will usually transfer from the Foundation stage and key stage 1 (at Amyand Park Road) to key stage 2 (on Richmond Road). However, they do not automatically have a place in the Key stage 2 unit. Teachers liaise closely with each other to ensure a smooth transition from infants to juniors. There are many opportunities for children to visit classes and assemblies on each site so they are familiar with all the school. Children’s IEPs, records and assessments move with them. At the end of key stage 2 children will move to an appropriate placement for secondary school aged children. This may be to a mainstream class, unit or special school placement.
The teachers in the unit and the year 6 teachers have good links with local secondary schools and can liaise with staff to ensure that the children have a smooth transition and positive start at secondary school.
Should children have made sufficient progress to transfer to a mainstream class (at St Mary’s or elsewhere) there would be a review of their statement. A structured programme would be devised and implemented to ensure a successful transition.
Amyand Park Road,
Telephone: 020 8892 5840
Fax: 020 8744 9027
Telephone: 020 8892 7849
Fax: 020 8607 0420
Updated: 1 February 2011