Attention Autism – Going on a bear hunt
Autism Base (AB) – Sprowston Infant Complex Needs Autism Base
ASC – Autistic Spectrum Condition
AB – Autism Base
PECs – Picture Exchange Communication system
KS1 – Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2 in school)
Star Base is a complex needs Autism Base class within Sprowston Infant School for children who are on the Autistic Spectrum. The base has a maximum of 18 children at any one time from YR – Y2 across 2 classes. ASC would be the child’s primary need but this does not mean the child will not have other secondary needs.
Applications would be made due to the school-based interventions at a child’s home school not being effective in enabling the learners to make progress in line with their assessed ability or it is felt that mainstream provision would not be able to meet the child’s needs. They do not need an EHCP (Education, Health, Care plan) to attend the AB. Unlike other ABs, Sprowston Autism Base has a proportion of places for children who would meet the criteria for specialist provision. This may mean they are unable to access the mainstream provision that we offer.
How to and who can apply…
Schools can apply for a pupil to attend the AB. They have to complete the online referral form on the Norfolk Schools website: www.schools.norfolk.gov.uk. The panel meet once a half term to discuss suitability of placement and to assign places when they are available.
The first point of action would be for the home school and the child’s parents to contact the AB to have a discussion and arrange an observation of the child in their home school from Emma Wyatt (AB lead teacher and SENCo). The home school would need to complete the AB referral form. Please see below the dates for paperwork submission.
If you would like to arrange a visit or for more information regarding the AB please contact Emma Wyatt (AB lead teacher) on 01603 429001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The approach to teaching and learning at the AB
In the Star Base we offer a personalised curriculum in which children will learn 1:1, in small groups and as a whole class (10 children). Staff are PECs, Elklan and Signalong trained to support children with their speech and language development.
The classroom has a variety of learning spaces and a sensory room:
Children have their own visual timetable and ‘now and next’ boards to support routine and changes. Each morning the children take part in sensory circuits and yoga.
The school day starts at 8:30am and ends at 2:30pm. If your child is collected by county transport they will inform you of their collection and drop off times. If you are dropping off/ collecting your child then please come to the Star Base garden and drop at the outside door to their class. Children will access all areas of the curriculum through practical activities differentiated to their need.
Observations, Assessments and Communication
Your child will have an online learning journey for Tapestry. Tapestry is a secure online Learning Journal to record photos, observations and comments, in line with the Early Years curriculum and KS1, to build up a record of your child’s experiences during their time with us. This system allows us to work with parents and carers to share information and record the children’s play and learning in and outside of the classroom. These observations, as well as children’s work, all feed in to our assessment system. For some children we will use NAPS, which is assessment of learning and helps us with effective target setting for pupils working below national expectations for their age.
What is Tapestry’s website address?
How does Tapestry work?
Tapestry provides each individual child with their own Learning Journal held online. Parents and carers are given their own log-in using their email and password (which is pre-set by us but can be changed by you to make it more secure). All our staff are given a secure log-in. They can then upload observations, photos or videos; recording children’s achievements and assessing their learning in reference to the EYFS curriculum.
Parents can change their settings so that an email is then automatically generated informing them when an observation has been added so they can have a look and add any comments of their own.
Once you have given us an email address, we will set up an account for you. Go to https://tapestryjournal.com/s/sprowston-infant-school on your computer.
Login using your email address and the password we give you. We strongly recommend that you change your password on your first visit.
You will receive daily updates on what your child is doing and can comment back to us. Please use this as the main communication between home and school. If you would like to talk to us please call and ask to speak to Emma, Angela or Laura (AB teachers) we can then either have a chat over the phone or arrange a time that is convenient for you to come in to school.
Pupil/ Parent voice
As above, parents are more than welcome to phone to arrange a meeting or a conversation over the phone however we also offer a termly meeting to discuss pupil progress. In addition to this we also invite parents in once a term for a ‘stay and play’ type session where they will participate in an activity with their child as well as having a chance to meet the other parents and talk to all staff. We have had positive feedback on these sessions as many of our children come to school by taxi and therefore parents don’t have as many opportunities to meet and make those links.
We always consult the children when it comes to both professionals’ visits and class based activities. Children are able to contribute in a way that works for them whether this is using visuals, drawing or talking with a familiar adult.
The Learning Environment
The children will work as a whole class and at their own workstations independently. The classroom has a break out room for small group work and also a sensory room. There is a large area for sand and water play as well as cooking.
The adults carefully plan the activities and set up opportunities for the children to explore. We will teach the children to tidy up after they are finished.
We play outside every day and the children love to explore! Please ensure your child has:
- A wet weather all in one http://www.waterproofworld.co.uk/waterproofs/trespass_button.htm
- Sun hat
These items need to be kept in school.
We understand that toilet training can be challenging and want to offer as much support as possible with this. We will start toilet training when your child starts school. We ask that if your child is in nappies you provide us with a stock as well as wet wipes etc. For toilet training we will also need a pack of underwear, a couple of spare trousers and a top. Please put this in a named bag. This will stay at school on your child’s peg.
We will use visual aids to support toilet training and are happy to provide you with a copy for home to ensure consistency.
We will order your child a hot dinner every day. We know that this can be a barrier for some children and so want to support as much as possible with this. We will slowly introduce new foods to your child and let you know how we get on. Sometimes we find that children will eat foods in school that they won’t at home and vice versa. If your child is particular over food you are more than welcome to send in a packed lunch in addition to the school hot dinner, but we will try with the hot dinner first.
Your child may access mainstream classes and this will be with a member of Star Base staff. Your child will only access the elements of mainstream that are appropriate to them and this may be in one class or across classes depending on their needs.
Staff will ensure you are informed of any special assemblies or parent events that your child is part of. Again these are chosen to meet the child’s needs.
We aim to go out in the local community and believe it is important that we develop life skills and that children know how to keep safe and manage social situations. We also go on trips out and ensure we provide a range of opportunities e.g. trampolining and forest schools. There may be a voluntary contribution asked for these trips to go ahead.
If your child accesses mainstream they may also attend some mainstream class school trips which are linked to the curriculum areas they access in mainstream.
We always celebrate your child’s birthday in class and play party games. Some parents like to send in a cake or party bag, as they are aware that their child would find a party outside of school difficult, but this is not compulsory.
Teachers from Star Base attend the ASC AB network meeting to liaise and share best practise with professionals working within similar settings and specialist provision. As part of this network we can access specialist training. We have a specialist partner from Fred Nicholson special school who comes in to support staff working with children, observe and offer advice and provide some training.
Please see the Norfolk site for further information: www.norfolk.gov.uk/srbs this will provide you with further information relating to the programme, details of AB specialism, key stage (and ages) catered for and name of AB.
If you would like to give us any feedback on the AB please contact the headteacher, Rob Edwards, on 01603 429001 or email email@example.com.
For applications please note: it is the responsibility of the child’s current school to call and speak to Emma Wyatt to arrange an observation. It is advisable do to this as soon as the application has been made. Due to high demand we are unable to do observations without an application being made.