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The SILC Main Site

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Students on the SILC main site have a wide range of learning needs as well as communication difficulties including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and associated behavioural and emotional difficulties.  This site has many specialist facilities including a hydrotherapy pool as well as specialist teaching areas for some subjects: home technology, a multi-sensory rom, ICT and art. The SILC main site is divided into three sections, each catering to the specific needs of its students. These are the Semi Formal Teaching and Learning Group, 14-19 Teaching and Learning Group and the Complex Communication & Autism Teaching and Learning Group.

The Semi-formal Teaching and Learning Group

The students who are based within the "semi-formal" curriculum are taught a wide range of National Curriculum subjects using a topic based approach. Every student has an Education Health and Care Plan.  The EHCP is a student's long term plan that is used to develop their Daily Learning Plan (DLP).  A DLP outlines the targets an individual student is working on each half term.  Such personalised planning ensures differentiation and learning are matched to the needs of each student.  This ensures all receive a highly personalised approach to learning, enabling them to make very good progress.  The teachers and support staff set appropriately challenging targets.  A variety of resources, activities and strategies are deployed to help students overcome their barriers to learning.  They make progress in all areas including literacy, communication, numeracy, behaviour and personal and social development.  Staff also strive to help students become as independent as they can be.  Every class has a weekly life skills trip into the community which helps students develop independence skills such as handling money, road safety and using public transport.  Teachers utilise their specialised subject knowledge to teach foundation subjects such as Music; Religious Education; Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education; Drama; Modern Foreign Languages; Art and Technology.

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What the students say

  • ‘The Bungalow has helped me improve my attitude and behaviour by treating me positively.’
  • ‘The Bungalow has helped me to control my anger because people have treated me fairly and not abandoned me when I have lost my temper.’
  • ‘Being in Orange Class is great. The staff are helpful and the work is interesting.’
  • ‘I enjoy the Functional Skills’ Tasks. I like the 1 to 1 support I receive when I need it. I have good relationships with the staff.’

What the staff say

  • ‘Every day is an exciting day, doing activities with students. It is great to see students get enjoyment from them.’
  • ‘I think that since starting the restorative approach, the department has become calmer and more communicative, leading to fewer behaviour problems. The circles we use help resolve problems.’
  • ‘I really enjoy the bungalow. The students try hard to get on and have shown amazing progress in their attitude and self-esteem.’
  • ‘Every day is different. The relationships we have forged with the students are excellent.’

Provision for Students whose primary need is Social, Emotional, Mental Health

The provision for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs was created in January 2011 to meet the needs of students who were having a difficult time in their schools and education settings due to the impact of their social, emotional and behavioural needs.  In time it has developed from a provision to meet the needs of Key Stage 3 into a department which meets the needs of young people from 11 – 19.  In Key Stage 3, the provision is referred to as ‘The Bungalow.’

 Students are given the opportunity to take a lead in the planning of their provision.  They consider the pathway they would like to take, and make decisions about how they will reach their goal. They follow individual programmes for literacy and numeracy and they work on managing anger and their personal, social and behavioural skills in a variety of settings both in and out of school.  As well as accessing a variety of sporting and leisure related activities, students have worked in the Jamie Oliver Kitchen in Bradford; at ‘The Big Swing’ Project in Eccleshill, Bradford; at the Lazer Centre in Bramley, Leeds and many other places. 

Students in Key Stage 4 and Post 16 study Functional Skills and receive accreditation if they pass the course. Students are given opportunities to take part in internships and work experience placements in a variety of settings such as cafes, offices, a local bus depot and the school kitchen.

What makes the behaviour provision so special is its restorative approach.  Staff and students work hard to put relationships and community at the centre of every interaction.  Students learn how to repair any harm in a way that maintains relationships and allows both parties to move forward.  They build trust and get to know each other through daily circles, and use the circle format to find solutions and explore difficulties.  This is very challenging for many, but they are supported in the process continuously. Students and staff have pioneered this work, and they are becoming used to visitors coming to see just how effective it is!

The Complex, Communication and Autism Teaching and Learning Group

The Complex Communication and Autism (CCA) approach is nurturing, responsive and individual to the needs of its students. The core of the CCA approach focuses on the fundamentals of communication and the teaching of skills for social communication.

Intensive interaction is a key concept that is used on a daily basis. Bids for communication through intensive interaction are planned. All students have personalised learning plans with a focus on communication (delivered through intensive interaction). Staff observe, actively participate and reflect on these sessions. This approach teaches students the fundamentals of social communication. 

A key aspect of the curriculum in the CCA Teaching and Learning Group is learning through play and experiential learning. Creativity is an essential part of the curriculum. To engage students, sessions are fun and ‘hands-on.’ This is essential to develop relationships, emotional health and wellbeing and communication skills.

Using principles taken from the Early Years Framework many sessions are open ended to enable students to explore, experience and engage with people and their learning environment. All learning spaces are designed to be emotionally and physically enabling. Learning through play and using ‘hands-on’ real life experiences give students opportunities to effectively interact with peers and adults. 

The approach in the CCA Teaching and Learning Groups is very therapeutic. Positive relationships are developed through regular sessions that are sensitive to the needs of students. Sessions are calm. Students have access to low stimulus and arousal times to help reduce anxieties and support the development of positive relationships. Using specific targets from the Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) framework, students are supported to manage their own emotions. Staff plan for and support emotional regulation.

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The understanding of sensory processing is very important in lesson planning. The sensory processing needs of students are considered throughout the day. Staff observe what leaners seek and avoid and how this can affect students’ emotional state. Staff are reflective and observe how to understand the cause of behaviours. Innovative strategies are planned to help support students in routine and non-routine activities.

Students are regularly prepared for the unexpected changes that occur on a daily basis within the environment. The physical environment, resources, senses and feelings are considered to support students to cope with external factors. Targets taken from the SCERTS framework are used to support staff to share emotions and seek strategies to regulate them.

 

Key concepts of the approach

  • Intensive interaction
  • Use of symbols    
  • Signing
  • Objects of reference
  • Audio and visuals; such as photographs, PECs, BIGmacks and iPads
  • Sensory integration

Multi Agency Working

Staff work holistically with parents, carers, Speech and Language Therapists, Social Workers, Physiotherapists and medical staff to support students.

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