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Designated Special Provision (DSP) for Students with Autism

Admissions

Admissions to the DSP are made through the Royal Borough of Greenwich SEN department. The DSP has capacity for 16 students. 

Vision

The DSP is a nurturing environment which is outward facing. We spend time getting to know our students very well, so that we can help them make a successful transition into the mainstream.

We believe that teaching students with autism enables teachers to question and perfect their communications skills with all students. Subject specialists with an interest in teaching children with autism are encouraged to spend some of their time teaching in the DSP. Our DSP teaching team consists of one lead teacher, one SEN teacher, one level 5 teaching assistant, one level 2 teaching assistant and a team of subject specialists from the mainstream.

We advise all mainstream teachers on best practice when teaching students with autism and work closely with the mainstream teachers of our particular students.

All teaching assistants (TAs) and non-teaching staff are given detailed information about how to support our students. TAs and DSP staff run training sessions for all staff.

Our aim is to ensure that The John Roan is an autism friendly school, since an autism friendly school is friendly for everyone. We were one of the first schools in the borough to be awarded The Autistic Education Trust’s Standards, which gives us recognition as an autism-friendly school.

Facilities

The DSP is based at the Westcombe Park site (WP) and includes a classroom, a computer suite and a multi-sensory room. We also have an annexe at the Maze Hill site (MH).

Subject specialists teach our students in the DSP and in specialist rooms such as the food technology rooms, the gyms and the science laboratories. We use the libraries, canteens and playgrounds on both sites. We look forward to using our sensory garden, which we hope to open in 2017.

Daily visits are made to the Maze Hill site, to ensure that our students can socialise with their peers during tutor time, at break and at lunch. From the beginning of September students attend registration with their mainstream tutor groups several times a week and attend their year group assembly once a week.

Provision is made for DSP students who might find the canteen and playground overwhelming. DSP students go into lunch early and are gradually introduced to busier periods in the dining hall at a speed which suits the individual student. Those who want to, can take advantage of the lunch club at Maze Hill on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays if they wish. Our students can also use the computer rooms at break and can join film club, which takes place during lunch on Mondays and Fridays. Students can also join clubs such as choir, which run at lunch time, or join in with activities in the library. We have a base room at Maze Hill for students who like to spend break and lunch times quietly.

DSP students are encouraged to take part in activities open to their year group or house, such as school trips, house events and competitions run by subject areas.

The First Half Term

For the first half term, students are taught in the DSP. The DSP curriculum is the same as the mainstream curriculum, and is differentiated according to the needs of our students. Some subject specialists deliver lessons in the DSP, and the lead teacher and HLTA of the DSP deliver all other subjects.

The focus is on preparing for a successful transition into the mainstream.

Joining the Mainstream

Each student decides which mainstream subjects s/he would like to join, and in which order.

Each student’s progress in each mainstream class is monitored on a regular basis. We aim to avoid U-turns, but also have the capacity to be honest and adaptable if the transition into a mainstream subject proves to be problematic. In that case, the situation is carefully assessed, the best interests of the student are agreed and a new plan is put in place in consultation with the student and parents or carers.

Progress Through Key Stages 3 and 4

We continue to monitor our DSP students as they progress through school and adapt our support for each student as needs change. We remain entirely flexible, so that students can withdraw from mainstream or join mainstream classes at any time. Students study as many GCSE subjects as is appropriate for them. Alternative pathways are offered as necessary. Our aim is that by the end of Year 11 all DSP students have achieved their full potential in all aspects of their learning, both socially and academically.

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