At West Lea, we differentiate in all our lessons so that the individual needs of pupils can be met, within the normal classroom environment. This includes questioning which is appropriate to their current understanding (Blank’s Levels), Makaton signing, task planners (to help pupils remember instructions) and the use of visuals, such as photographs, symbol and ‘real’ objects. Children are able to enjoy 1:1 reading, as appropriate, to help develop skills in reading. Children also work within an adapted curriculum, designed to meet the needs of learners and allow them to develop independence skills.
Sometimes, a pupil, or groups of pupils, will need to access some additional teaching to support their learning. This will involve the setting of targets, and will be reviewed on a regular basis. Often, this may last for half a term. This may be led by a member of the class team, with support from a specialist teacher. Examples of this include ‘lego therapy (take out lego therapy and replace with 'What's in the box?'’ (to aid communication and social skills), ‘speech bubbles’ (a series of drama sessions to promote team work) or ‘The Five Minute Number Box’ (a numeracy resource to develop maths skills).
Some pupils also access highly specialist activities outside of the classroom to support their learning. We have a range of English interventions available, including ‘reading mentors’ (older children reading to younger pupils, ‘Phonological Awareness Training’ (reading and writing activities) and 1:1 reading with a parent/carer (take this line out). We are also able to offer some specialist activities for pupils with difficulties of a dyslexic nature, and provide diagnostic dyslexia assessments for those pupils who require this. If your child is accessing a specialist intervention, you will be informed of strategies which you can use at home to aid their learning, as part of the intervention.
West Lea has a range of therapists who work across the sites. Our speech therapist, supported by our specialist communication teaching assistants, works with all classes as part of the total communication approach. We are proud to have been awarded 'Communication Friendly School' status by Elklan. This means that all staff have received significant training in speech and language, and some staff achieved accredited qualifications in this. Children’s speech and communication skills are developed at every point in the day. Staff use Elklan strategies to developing communication skills, and a high proportion of staff achieved accredited qualifications in Elklan. (take this line out)
Some children access specific speech and language groups, in addition to the classroom provision. Examples of this include 'social communication' groups (developing language and social skills), 'brick therapy' (developing turn taking and following instructions). The speech and language team also support with individual communication aids such as Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) and the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
We have two art therapists who are part of the West Lea team. Art therapy (was in italics) is a form of psychotherapy that uses art (was in italics) media as its primary mode of expression and communication. This can be particularly beneficial to children who have social and emotional needs. Some children who receive art therapy access it in a 1:1 session, whereas others work as part of a small group.
Our occupational therapists support classes with activities that support daily living skills, such as being able to manage different sensory conditions, and fine motor skills involved in dressing/undressing. As well as providing planning advice for staff, some children access specific occupation therapy sessions, such as learning to use a keyboard for typing. Our physiotherapists provide fun and motivational activities for children who require their support, and advise on equipment such as adapted bikes and play equipment. In addition, there are also some groups run by the physiotherapy team, such as learning to bide adapted bikes.
The school also works closely with peripatetic teachers to support our learners, such as the hearing impaired and visually impaired team. Some children have access to music therapy to support their cognitive, psychological and emotional wellbeing. Other professionals, such as educational psychologists or psychiatrists, support our children, staff and families, to ensure that every child receives the support they need to succeed in life and be the best that they can.
Here are some photographs of some recent sessions…