Discovery DSP is located within Discovery Primary School and is a provision for primary school aged children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is a developmental lifelong disorder. Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can have difficulties with social relationships, language and communication, flexibility of thought and sensory processing problems.
Discovery Primary School opened in September 2008 and the DSP opened in September 2009. The DSP consists of one classroom called ‘Saturn’. At the moment it has provision for eight children who are supported by one teacher and Learning Support Assistants. The children are supported on a ratio of two children to one member of staff.
Saturn class is an integral part of the school and we work closely together with an emphasis on integration with every child being a member of one of the primary classes. Opportunities for integration include shared curricular activities in and out of the classroom, shared play and social activities such as assemblies and shared outings and seasonal celebrations. Children from the school are also invited to Saturn class to participate in curricular activities and to act as good role models through peer coaching and other activities.
We work closely with other professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists. As well as maintaining close links with other similar provisions in the borough. This enables us to share our expertise as well as develop practice.
We focus on building strong links with parents so that information about the child is shared through phone calls and the use of a home school contact books so that achievements and successes can be shared regularly. Parents are welcome at our weekly ‘Family Assembly’ and of course can make an appointment to come into school to discuss their child at anytime.
Saturn class Aims
In Saturn class we aim for our practice to be inclusive and recognise individual needs. We will address any needs that the pupils have with an emphasis on supporting the pupils to develop social relationships and develop communication systems with guidance from the Speech and Language Therapy service. We will help the pupils to cope with change and other flexibility of thought issues so that they can become increasingly independent. We will also have an awareness of any sensory processing difficulties that they may have and develop strategies that enable the child to participate in school life.
Saturn class provides a broad and balanced curriculum based on the National Curriculum that is differentiated to meet the needs of the pupils. During all teaching and play sessions there is an emphasis placed on communication, social awareness and social interaction and personal and social development as children with ASDs can have difficulties with these areas.
Each child has a personalised learning plan which is written by the DSP leader in liaison with the class teacher and Speech and Language Therapist. The personalised learning plan will have short term achievable targets that are assessed and evaluated on at least a termly basis as well as information about preferred learning styles and communication systems.
Information for parents and carers
Admissions and admission criteria
You can express a preference for your child to attend a DSP during the EHC needs assessment or annual review process. An application form will need to be completed. A termly Admissions Panel organised by Royal Borough of Greenwich SEND department will consider applications.
Children that attend Discovery Primary School do not get priority or the opportunity to access the provision without gaining a place through the correct procedures.
Equal consideration is given to pupils with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan as those pupils at SEN Support. The following criteria will be applied:
- Evidence of an ASD diagnosis
- Evidence of on-going input from the ASD Outreach Service, which suggest that more intensive specialist ASD input is needed
- Evidence of PLP’s showing specialist ASD interventions have been put in place and that progress has not been made
- Recent SALT evidence
Other documentation required
- Most recent Annual Review
- Other recent professional advice where appropriate (less than 12 months) – e.g. CAMHS, SALT, Learning, CSO, FAP, EH, FF
Children should arrive at school for 8.50am and the school day finishes at 3.10pm. There is also a breakfast club which is open from 7.45am and after school provision.
All children can wear school uniform which consists of a green Discovery School sweatshirt which can be purchased from the school office for £9.00 and black or dark grey trousers or skirt. Black shoes or trainers are preferred.
The children will also need a PE kit which usually consists of trainers, a T-shirt and shorts or a PE skirt.
Depending on circumstances there may be the option of having transport provided by the Royal Borough of Greenwich so they arrive by bus or by taxi with an escort. Pupils may also be brought to school by their parents or carers.
The pupils usually eat in the dining hall with their class groups. They can have a school dinner which costs £2.30 a day and is payable in advance at a cost of £11.50 per week or they can bring a packed lunch.
In Saturn class we aim to provide an individualised learning environment that caters for each child’s needs based on the SPELL approach (National Autistic Society).
Incorporating aspects of the TEACCH Approach (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children)
- clearly defined areas of the classroom for work and play so that the expectation of being in a particular area is clear to the child
- individual workstations for children where this is necessary
- the use of visual cues to help the child understand expectations of behaviour, for example sitting down in assembly
- pupils will be supported to be independent with the use of personal timetables
- using the strengths of the individual child to motivate them to learn and expand their experiences and knowledge
- children use a ‘work first and then choose ‘ system to promote motivation and acceptance of work times
- children’s successes should be celebrated in a way that is understandable for them
- look at the world from the standpoint of the child
- respect their interests and give them opportunities to expand their interests and experiences
- develop communication skills and give the pupil the opportunity to express opinions
- to provide a calm and ordered environment to reduce anxiety and promote concentration
- give children the time to process sensory information and be aware of sensory information that the child may find aversive or distracting such as noise levels and colour schemes
- Allow children the opportunity for quiet time throughout the day
- to communicate with parents and other professionals working with the child so that approaches are consistent, agreed and clearly understood by everyone
- there will be string links with the mainstream classes and children will have opportunities for integration throughout the week