At Inglehurst Junior School, the Designated Specialist Provision, or 'Learning Zone', is a valued and integral part of the school community and caters for up to 18 children aged between 7 and 11 years with autism and social communication difficulties. The Learning Zone is complimented by further learning areas, such as ‘The Sensory Zone’ and ‘The Learning Pod’. In these areas the children access the early years, P1, P2 curriculum alongside continuous provision. This is also where targeted interventions can take place. The vision and ethos of the Learning Zone is to ensure that the individual and specific needs of each child are met. This will then enable them to have access to, and be included in, mainstream classes and whole school activities (including trips outside of school with their mainstream peers). This ethos of inclusion is considered a strength of our school. We strive to create an environment that embraces a world of difference.
How do I apply for a place in the ‘Learning Zone’?
The Learning Zone is for children who already have an Education Health Care plan (EHCP) or are undergoing assessments to apply for one, which details the need for Autism, Communication and Interaction. Inglehurst Junior School has not got control over who is admitted and children requiring a place will need to apply through the SES (Special Education Service) admissions route either at their EHCP meetings or at their panel meetings.
For more information or for a look round the school please contact the Office.
The staff within the Learning Zone are highly qualified and experienced in working with children with autism, speech and language difficulties and social communication difficulties. Respect for the young person and an understanding of their needs as an individual is central to our philosophy. Staff have high expectations of both themselves and the students. The team works together to support each young person’s needs and their individual characteristics, challenges and talents inform how we provide the best support and educational experience possible.
The DSP staff are caring, creative, calm and supportive with the ability to think flexibly. We recognise the need to reduce anxiety for our students through ensuring that we address their sensory issues, provide a structured environment and develop communication, self-advocacy, social interaction and flexible thinking skills. Each of our young people is seen as an individual bringing with them their own interests, abilities and challenges. The Learning Zone team share their knowledge, experience and resources throughout the school and work in close partnership with the whole staff team to ensure consistency and inclusivity.
The Learning Zone curriculum reflects the needs of the children within the provision. This includes a highly differentiated curriculum taken from the mainstream pathways ensuring that every child succeeds. The focus of the Learning Zone is to provide a meaningful and balanced curriculum while addressing the social, communication and flexible thinking needs of the children, equipping them with the life skills necessary to achieve their full potential both now and in the future.
The physical environment within the DSP, and the calm and ordered approach of staff, help to reduce anxiety, allowing our young people to learn in an environment that is both comfortable and appropriate. However, it needs to be recognised that the LZ is part of a busy mainstream school that all children access and that children move in and out of the LZ throughout the day. It is for this reason that we feel that children with significant sensory needs will not find the LZ suitable.
The children in the LZ will have access to the entire curriculum
and we offer a wide variety of differentiated lessons including:
Reading and Writing
PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education)
PE (Physical Education)
Art and DT (Design and Technology)
Depending on the needs of the children, we also offer specialized
and differentiated intervention groups throughout the week run by
the trained and experienced support staff in the LZ, these include:
Fine/Gross motor skill play groups
SULP (Social Use of Language Programme)
'Let's Talk' groups
Therapeutic Art and Music
Sensory Exploration and play
Social Communication sessions
Everyday Essential Skills.
Children from the LZ often attend lessons in mainstream classes where appropriate with their mainstream peers. Some children are able to access lessons independently while others require specialist support. All children receive the correct level of support needed to enable them to succeed and progress towards integration into a mainstream environment. Conversely, we often have children from our mainstream attend lessons and interventions alongside the Learning Zone children, both to meet their needs or act as role models to others.
Communication with home comes in a variety of forms, currently information is shared through the SeeSaw platform on a daily basis, also WEDUC, phone calls and in person where necessary. Parents/carers are actively encouraged to be involved with all aspects of their child's education. Children with an EHCP will have their reviews held on a yearly basis and will have individualised targets discussed with parents/carers and professionals.
Under certain circumstances, your child can apply for transport. If you require additional information, this will be provided in accordance with the Local Authority SEND transport service.
We recognise that the young people we work with often require support from a variety of people outside of school and that working together in a partnership is crucial. There is continued work to support our young people and their families as well as the wider autism professional community. Examples of some out our links include:
• Parents, carers and families
• Parent groups
• Occupational therapy
• Specialist Speech and Language Therapy Service
• Leicester Autism Forum
• University of Birmingham School of Education (Autism)
• Links with other schools
• Leicester Place and Interaction network
• Complex Learning Communication and Interaction team
• Educational Psychology service
• Behaviour Support Team
Don’t just take our word for it, here is a few words from some of our parents/carers, past and current:
“My name is Angela and my son Chimala attended the Learning Zone in year 3. After having a very challenging time at his previous school, Chimala instantly settled and changed into a new child shortly after joining the Learning zone. This was due to the patient, nurturing and understanding nature of the superb staff. They make me feel very secure and I feel confident that they have Chimala’s best interests at heart.
The staff have been sensitive and caring especially during these current times and Chimala is so happy and excited about going to school because he feels like a part of a great team of children and teachers. Chimala has been involved in talent shows, trips outside school and tried a range of activities since joining Inglehurst. He has made lots of friends, learnt life skills and the staff have accommodated his struggles.
I'd recommend anyone to take their child to this school if they have ASD. It’s the best thing I've ever done for Chimala."