Special schools - Thomas Wall Nursery - Dragonflies Assessment Base complex social communication difficulties

Record details

Name of school
Dragonflies Assessment Base
Address
The Federation of Thomas Wall Nursery & Children's Centre & Robin Hood Infants School
Robin Hood Lane
Sutton
Postcode
SM1 2SF

Journey Planner

Contact
Gill Quirk
Telephone
020 8642 5666
email
gquirk@suttonlea.org
website
http://www.twn-rhi.org.uk/
About the school
• Dragonflies is an Assessment Base for pupils with complex social communication difficulties. Children attend either morning or afternoon sessions for two and a half hours. Dragonflies class has places for up to eight children in each session.

• Dragonflies is based in Thomas Wall Nursery, which has two nursery classes and caters for 52 children each, using morning and afternoon sessions. Thomas Wall Nursery is federated with Robin Hood Infants, a three form entry school.
Supporting children
We plan a personalised curriculum for your child as appropriate. Resources and the environment are adapted in order to support the needs of children with social communication difficulties, which may include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is taught and is adapted to meet the needs of the children. The class operates a TEACCH style approach, based on clear boundaries, routines and structures in a relatively distraction-free environment. Staff are experienced in working with children with communication difficulties and use clear, simple language, supported by visual timetables and visual cues. An Intensive Interaction approach is used where appropriate in order to develop children’s interaction and communication skills. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used with children when needed to support their language and communication needs. Signalong is also used. Children have opportunities to experience relaxation strategies, including TacPac (a multi-sensory communication programme, based on touch and music) and Tatty Bumpkin yoga. There is also a Sensory Room, where children have opportunities to relax and develop their social communication and interaction skills. Dragonflies class has four members of staff, consisting of a teacher and three assistants. There is a ratio of one adult to two children so staff are able to provide individual support where needed.

If you wish to discuss any concerns, you may contact:
• The Class Teacher/Dragonflies Manager/Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) – This should be your first point of contact. The Class Teacher will undertake the role of monitoring progress of a child and liaising with key staff about interventions needed.
• The Head teacher who is also the Teacher of Children Looked After (CLA) and Designated Safeguarding Lead
• The SEN Governor
Assessing child progress
Assessment in our school covers all aspects of a pupil’s educational and personal development and offers all pupils an opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do. Staff make continuous, informal assessments of children’s progress in the aforementioned areas. Methods of assessment are matched to the tasks and techniques and include:-

• Discussion with parents at initial Home Visit.
• Ongoing observations throughout each session of the child at play, following class routines, copying adult-directed tasks.
• Sutton Early Years Social Communication Assessment Team (SEYSCAT). This team comprises a paediatrician, Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist (SLT), Occupational Therapist (OT), Dragonflies teacher, and an ASD Early Years Practitioner. This team meets regularly during the Autumn and Spring terms to assess the children’s needs in the areas of social communication and language, imagination, cognitive development, self-help, gross and fine motor skills, and sensory processing needs. Where children have not been previously assessed by a paediatrician, the SEYSCAT assessment may be used to support the paediatrician in making a formal diagnosis of the child's social communication needs.
• Children’s attainment in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is assessed using the B Squared assessment tool. A report is sent home at the end of the year, and this describes the child’s progress in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.
• All children have Individual Education Plans (IEPs), which are set in liaison with class staff and the SLT/OT. These contain targets in relevant areas, including social communication/language, imagination, self-help, motor skills and sensory processing. Parents are given a copy of IEPs and are invited to discuss them with class staff.
• Parents have access to meet with the SLT or OT when required to discuss their child's needs and development.

If there is any cause for concern, teachers will request a meeting with the parents or seek advice from other colleagues such as a member of the Senior Management Team or outside agencies, such as the Speech and Language Therapist."
Informing parents and carers
Parents receive copies of their child's IEPs. These are considered working documents, and they are continuously reviewed and updated every two months. They may also contain targets provided by any of the services previously mentioned. Parents are invit
Progress updates
Parents' meetings are held twice a year - once in the Autumn Term and again in the Spring Term. Parents are invited to meet with the child's Key Person or Teacher in order to discuss how the child is settling in and to discuss progress and/or any areas
If a child is not making progress
The teacher will invite the parents to a meeting to discuss any areas of difficulty or lack of progress. Key issues will be identified at this meeting and support strategies developed. These may include:
• monitoring the child's progress both at home and nursery, e.g. using a behaviour recording chart in order to highlight any areas which may be causing particular difficulty and thereby impacting on the child's progress.
• support from nursery staff in supporting parents to develop strategies at home.
• support from additional outside agencies, where appropriate, e.g. ASD advisory worker, SLT, OT.
Curriculum
We plan a personalised curriculum as appropriate. Resources and the environment are adapted in order to support the needs of children with social communication difficulties, which may include ASD.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is taught and is adapted to meet the needs of the children. . Specialist strategies and interventions, including the Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS), may be used with children where appropriate.

Dragonflies children have daily opportunities to join the mainstream Nursery for outside play. Each Nursery and Reception class has access to outside covered areas and to the garden area. Each class and outside area is set up to ensure all the children can access the free flow curriculum.
Adapting for child needs
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is taught and is adapted to meet the individual needs of the children. The staff plan collaboratively to ensure all children’s needs are met through the curriculum delivery and differentiated tasks allow children to achieve their own potential.

Staff are trained to become skilled at differentiated tasks to suit specific needs and their planning takes account of individual pupil needs. The class operates a TEACCH style approach, based on clear boundaries, routines and structures in a relatively distraction-free environment. Staff are experienced in working with children with communication difficulties and use clear, simple language, supported by visual timetables and visual cues. An Intensive Interaction approach is used where appropriate in order to develop children’s interaction and communication skills.

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used with children when needed to support their language and communication needs. Signalong is also used. Children have opportunities to experience relaxation strategies, including TacPac (a multi-sensory communication programme, based on touch and music) and Tatty Bumpkin yoga. There is also a Sensory Room, where children have opportunities to relax and develop their social communication and interaction skills. Dragonflies class has four members of staff, consisting of a teacher and three assistants. There is a ratio of one adult to two children so staff are able to provide individual support where needed.

Grouping arrangements are organised carefully to maximise learning opportunities for all. Additional adults may be used to help individuals, with a gradual move towards independence being the intended outcome. Some interventions may change as progress and needs are monitored regularly in order to maximise and evaluate their impact.
Teacher flexibility on child needs
There is a high level of adult support for the children so that teaching staff are able to support each child individually.

The staff plan collaboratively to ensure all children’s needs are met through the curriculum delivery and differentiated tasks allow children to achieve their own potential. Staff are trained to become skilled at differentiated tasks to suit specific needs and their planning takes account of individual pupil needs.

Staff are trained in using specialist strategies, such as TEACCH and PECS, so that they are able to adapt their teaching according to the needs of the child. An SLT, SLT assistant and an OT work each work one day a week in Dragonflies and are able to advise staff on specialist strategies for individual children.
Additional support
Specialist strategies and interventions are available and may be used with individual children following SLT/OT advice and discussion with staff and parents The high level of adult support ensures that teaching staff are able to support each child individually as appropriate.

Every child has an IEP, written by the class teacher in liaison with the class staff and the therapists. This is shared with parents and reviewed every two months (at least). Advice offered through external agencies (Speech and Language therapists, Educational Psychologist) will be implemented in the form of IEP targets.

Specialist equipment may be used with children following the advice of the therapists and discussion with staff and parents. Use of this equipment is carefully monitored by staff.
Learning strategies
The Dragonflies classroom is designed to meet the needs of children who have social communication difficulties, including ASD. It is relatively distraction free and uncluttered. Specialist equipment, such as bear hug vests, may be used with children following the advice of the OT and discussion with staff and parents. Use of this equipment is carefully monitored by staff

Specialist strategies and interventions are used as part of the nursery routine. These are:
• TEACCH
• Emphasis on visual cues and reduced language
• Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)PECS
• Communications Temptations
• Signalong
• Music Therapy
• Speech and Language Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Intensive Interaction
• TacPac
• Tatty Bumpkin yoga
• Sensory Room

Specialist equipment may be used with children following the advice of the therapist and discussion with staff and parents. Use of this equipment is carefully monitored by staff.

This equipment, which, depending on availability, may be lent to parents to use with their children at home, includes:
• Bear hug vests
• Weighted lap cushions
• Weighted belts
• Body socks
• Wobble cushions
• Chew-its
• Therapy ball.
Meeting child needs
Teaching staff assess each child individually. Each child has a Key Person who works with the child and parents to develop a close understanding of the child's needs. The Key Person contributes to assessment and planning alongside the class teacher.

The high level of adult support ensures that teaching staff can work with individual children as required.

The SLT and SLT Assistant work individually with children so that they are able to identify and address specific targets.

The OT works individually with children to identify targets so that she is able to advise staff and parents on relevant strategies and interventions.
Access arrangements
All children at Dragonflies are below the age at which statutory tests and assessments are conducted.
Comfort, safety and socialising
• Strong ethos of pastoral care.

• A ratio of one adult to two children so that children are very carefully supervised.

• A home visit before the child starts gives the teacher and key person a chance to get to know your child.
Social and emotional skills
• Staff are trained in working with children with social communication needs and are able to provide appropriate support, e.g. modelling social skills such as turn-taking and playing.

• A ratio of one adult to two children so that staff are readily available
Learning for independence
Children are encouraged to develop independent personal hygiene and self-help skills by:
• identified targets on IEPs
• clear and explicit modelling where appropriate
• liaison with parents so that children may practise skills at home and school


Children are encouraged to learn independently by:
• TEACCH workstations
• trained staff are experienced in identifying the level of support needed
• carefully planned activities which motivate, consolidate and extend the children's learning
• staff plan motivating activities which encourage the children to engage
• reward systems where appropriate, e.g. sticker charts."
Perseverance and resilience
• trained staff are experienced in identifying the level of support needed and in encouraging children to develop their independent skills
• home/school liaison so that children are able to develop confidence in using skills in a range of different environments
Bullying
Anti-Bullying Policy and procedures – focus on vulnerable groups
Accessibility
Specialist strategies and interventions are used in class to support children during the session. Specialist equipment such as wobble cushions and weighted lap cushions are used to help children sit and attend.

There is a separate entrance for children in Dragonflies class so that they are able to wait in a relatively quiet environment.

Each session is structured to provide consistency and routine, so that the children can understand what is expected. Lessons are taught with an emphasis on the visual element and with reduced language so that all children are able to access them. Individual adult support is available when required.

There is a disabled toilet in the school reception area at Robin Hood Infants and one in Thomas Wall nursery.

All staff are aware of and familiar with the requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010"
Accessing lessons
Parents are invited to Parent Workshops so that they are aware of the strategies used to help the children access all lessons.

All staff are aware of and familiar with the requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010.
Who we work with
In order to be considered for a place at Dragonflies, children must be referred to the Dragonflies pre-com panel by a Health/Education professional, including SLT, OT, Health Visitor, Sutton Early Years SENCO, Portage staff. These professionals are required to complete a referral form in liaison with parents. The professionals must also complete a CAF. It is strongly recommended that parents, who wish their child to be referred, should visit Dragonflies first.

The referral form should be returned to Thomas Wall Nursery by April of the year in which a place is required. Referral forms are discussed by a panel of professionals, known as the pre-com panel. This comprises the Head teacher of Thomas Wall, the Dragonflies teacher/manager, SLT, OT, paediatrician, Educational Psychologist, Sutton Early Years SENCO, Sutton Early Years ASD Practitioner. The pre-com panel meets in May. (The dates for deadlines for referral forms and the pre-com meeting are set each year and all relevant professionals are informed). The pre-com panel members consider each child individually and allocate scores in the areas of social communication/language and general development. The pre-com panel is able to offer a place to children whose scores in these areas fall most closely within a given range. The referring professional is responsible for informing parents of the panel’s decision. If the panel is unable to offer a place, the relevant professionals meet to discuss alternative support for the child.

Agencies the school is involved with include :
• Sutton Early Years Social Communication Assessment Team (SEYSCAT)
• Community Paediatrics
• Educational Psychology Service
• Speech Language Communication Service
• Autism Spectrum Disorder Service
• Portage/PASC
• Dietician
• Special Educational Needs Team
• Early Years SENCo
• Occupational Therapy
• Sutton Disabilities Team
• Social Care
• Voluntary

All children are allocated to the Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist when they start Dragonflies. Parents are informed of this as part of the settling-in process.

All children are referred to the Educational Psychology Service when they start Dragonflies. This is done via a referral form with signed parental consent. The teacher and therapists are able to refer children to the Sleep Counselling Service following discussion with parents.

The SLT and OT may make medical referrals if necessary, following discussion with parents. These referrals may be to Community Paediatrics, Physiotherapy, Special Needs Dentist, Dietician.
How we work with other agencies
Sutton Early Years Social Communication Assessment Team (SEYSCAT) enables all the relevant professionals o work together to support your child. This team comprises a paediatrician, Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Dragonflies teacher, and an ASD Early Years Practitioner. This team meets regularly during the Autumn and Spring terms to assess the children’s needs in the areas of social communication and language, imagination, cognitive development, self-help, gross and fine motor skills, and sensory processing needs. A member of the team meets with parents following the assessment in order to feedback assessment results and to discuss the child’s future educational requirements. Following this meeting a report is produced, a copy of which is given to parents, and which, with parental agreement, the Educational Psychologist may use as a basis to request Statutory Assessment.

Children must be referred to the Dragonflies pre-com panel by a Health/Education professional, including SLT, OT, Health Visitor, Sutton Early Years SENCO, Portage staff.

Parents are invited to a series of Parent Workshops in order to find out about the strategies and interventions, which are used in Dragonflies. Areas covered in these workshops are: social communication needs, speech/language and communication, behaviour, toileting, diet, sleeping, play, sensory processing. These workshops are presented by a range of health/education professionals with the Dragonflies teacher. The SLT also runs workshops on PECS for parents of children who use PECS. All parents are provided with a visual timetable for use at home with their child. There is also a TacPac information session for parents.

The Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) works one day a week in Dragonflies. She assesses children, identifies individual targets, work with individual children, advises staff and parents on strategies. The SLT is also a member of SEYSCAT.

The Speech and Language Therapy Assistant works one day a week in Dragonflies. She works with individual children on targets which have been identified by the SLT.

The Occupational Therapist works one day a week in Dragonflies. She assesses children, and advises staff and parents on strategies verbally and through a written report.
Specialist services and expertise
Agencies the school is involved with include :
• Sutton Early Years Social Communication Assessment Team (SEYSCAT)
• Community Paediatrics
• Educational Psychology Service
• Speech Language Communication Service
• Autism Spectrum Disorder Service
• Portage/PASC
• Dietician
• Special Educational Needs Team
• Early Years SENCo
• Occupational Therapy
• Sutton Disabilities Team
• Social Care
• Voluntary

All children are allocated to the Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist when they start Dragonflies. Parents are informed of this as part of the settling-in process.

The Dragonflies classroom is designed to meet the needs of children who have social communication difficulties, including ASD. It is relatively distraction free and uncluttered. Specialist equipment, such as bear hug vests, may be used with children following the advice of the OT and discussion with staff and parents. Use of this equipment is carefully monitored by staff

Specialist strategies and interventions are used as part of the nursery routine. These are:
• TEACCH
• Emphasis on visual cues and reduced language
• Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
• Communications Temptations
• Signalong
• Music Therapy
• Speech and Language Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Intensive Interaction
• TacPac
• Tatty Bumpkin yoga
• Sensory Room

Specialist equipment may be used with children following the advice of the therapist and discussion with staff and parents. Use of this equipment is carefully monitored by staff. This equipment, which, depending on availability, may be lent to parents to use with their children at home, includes:
• Bear hug vests
• Weighted lap cushions
• Weighted belts
• Body socks
• Wobble cushions
• Chew-its
• Therapy ball.
Parental involvement
Parents are invited to a series of Parent Workshops in order to find out about the strategies and interventions, which are used in Dragonflies. Areas covered in these workshops are: social communication needs, speech/language and communication, behaviou
Helping your child settle with confidence
All children settling in to Dragonflies will have:

• Home Visit
• Key Person
• Staggered entry dates so that children are able to get to know the staff and classroom at a pace which suits them.
• Brochure, showing photos of the staff and classroom is given to the family at the Home Visit.
• New Parents’ Evening before the children start Dragonflies.

Children moving to Sutton Primary School Bases:
• Transition meeting is held for parents during the child’s first term at Dragonflies. Representatives from the Sutton Special Needs Team and from Parent Partnership explain the statutory assessment system and transition to primary school to parents.
• Coffee mornings for parents at Sutton’s Base schools.
• Transition meetings for parents at the Base school which their child will be attending.
• Staff from the Base schools visit Dragonflies to get to know the children.
• Transfer of information from Dragonflies to the receiving school. Dragonflies staff also offer to visit the new schools to advise staff on individual children’s needs.

Children moving to mainstream or out-of-borough schools
• Transition meeting is held for parents during the child’s first term at Dragonflies. Representatives from the Sutton Special Needs Team and from Parent Partnership explain the statutory assessment system and transition to primary school to parents.
• Staff from the receiving schools visit Dragonflies to get to know the children.
• Transfer of information from Dragonflies to the receiving school. Dragonflies staff also offer to visit the new schools to advise staff on individual children’s needs.
• Visual resources such as social stories or a transition booklet can be produced to ease any anxieties and provide a reference, especially over long periods such as the summer holidays. The SENCo will contact the new school’s SENCO to ensure that they are made aware of any special arrangements or support required.
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