Devonshire Academies Focus Provision
Devonshire Infant and Junior Academies have 10 Focus Provision places for pupils with autism across both schools. These places are available via the Local Authority who work with the Complex Communication and Autism Team, parents, pupils and school to determine that Focus provision is the appropriate placement for each individual (see below for more details).
Children are part of our mainstream school for as much as the school day as possible, but have specialist areas such as purpose built Focus Provision Rooms, Sensory Rooms, small group and Nurture provision which they can use according to individual needs.
As a school we endeavour to include parents the pupil’s education as much as possible and hold meetings each term. We recognise that parents are the experts when it comes to knowing their children and we value their support and input.
That their children are happy and want to be at school and feel that their views are wishes are valued.
‘He tells me ‘let’s go to school… he likes being here.’
‘School listens to me.’
‘School communication is excellent with me. All staff including receptionists always listen to me.’
Parents feel that school understand their children’s needs and provide excellent support.
‘School understands my child’s difficulties’
‘My child has been making very good progress in the last year…’
‘Since he has been getting FP support there has been a big change’
'FP staff picked up my child's needs quickly and reacted to them.’
Talking Mats Y1 Pupil
‘I like football. I can control my anger a lot better now in better ways. I enjoy coming. I could say a lot more but I’ll leave it there!’ (Y6 pupil)
‘I just love it! I didn’t have much entertainment at my other school. I didn’t have any entertainment in the classroom or in school.’ (Y4 pupil)
‘I want focus room…I want yellow pen, I want paper.’ (Y3 pupil)
‘I’m feeling happy. I like to play computers.’ (Y2 pupils)
Talking Mats Y2 Pupil
Pupils are settled, happy, and make excellent progress.
Outside agencies say:
‘Excellent support from the school’s SENCO who has a high level of knowledge and interest in ASD. Staff in school are extremely flexible in their approach to learning and are willing to take on any advice given. All school staff appear to have a good relationship with children within the school.’
‘School staff are quick to identify when they need additional support with a child and are excellent at implementing the advice from professionals. School SENCo is very passionate about meeting the needs of children with Autism and has an exceptional knowledge-base.’
We pride ourselves on the inclusive nature of our schools, children mix happily and are fully accepted into school life by staff and their peers. They integrate happily in learning and social time across both schools and we are happy to adapt and be flexible to ensure each child is settled and has provision to meet their specific needs and ensure they make excellent progress from their individual starting points.
Staff are employed and trained to work specifically with pupils within the Provision. They receive specialised training which includes PECS, Makaton, the use of symbols to support visual schedules and learning, objects of reference, Sensory Integration, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Social Stories, and MAPA (Managing Actual and Potential Aggression).
Each child has a designated key worker but will work with a range of staff to develop their social interaction skills and independence.
Staff will work with small groups or 1:1 with a child depending on need or activity. They work under the close supervision of our Assistant Head teacher and SENCO, Ms Barnsley.
Ms Barnsley is a National Lead for SEN and has expertise in the field of Autism, including a Masters Degree in special educational needs specialising in autism and is also a Local Makaton Trainer.
Timings for the day are the same as for main school, although we can be flexible to meet transport needs.
Each child has a specially designed learning programme which includes individual learning targets, social communication and interaction targets, sensory diets, forest school and specialised sports sessions. Every child has access to individual work station when needed. They have small group sessions which focus on communication and interaction, sensory integration, life skills and independence.
We encourage children to be included as part of their mainstream class and teacher and support staff will work together to tailor a curriculum to meet needs. Where a specific needs can be best met outside of the classroom, children will use the specially designed areas for this part of their day.
Specialist resources we can offer include individual work stations, sensory integration equipment, social skills programmes, PECS or communication books, visual time tables and now and next. We also have the purpose built focus provision rooms and sensory rooms.
Progress is carefully tracked through P levels, National Curriculum, AET progression framework, outside agency assessments and extended curriculum.
How does my child access a Focus Provision place?
Please do not apply through Local Authority Admission processes or directly to the schools. Firstly, discuss with your child's current school, or specialist working with them.
They must have an Education Healthcare Plan, and also have a formal diagnosis of Autism before a place can be considered.
During an Annual Review, agencies will discuss provision, and if appropriate a request for a Focus Provision place can be made through the Annual Review or Education and Health Care Plan Assessment to Sandwell SEN. This will then go to the resource panel who will review the request against their banding criteria for specialist provision. They will then make a decision whether they can offer a Focus Provision Place.
At this stage, SEN caseworkers, parents and Focus Provision schools will liaise to find the appropriate provision with spaces available.
Transition – Feeder schools and Focus Provision schools will work together with parents and external professionals to plan transition into the setting. This will be dependent on individual need.