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Autism Base

At Oaklands we have a resource base for pupils with a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition. There are two special resource base classes, each with 1 teacher, 1 HLTA and 1 teaching assistant. Each class can accommodate up to 7 pupils, with a total of 14 places across the setting. We recognise that each child is an individual and it is our aim to equip each one with skills and strategies to enable them to access, enjoy and succeed in school, and reach their full potential. We promote inclusion across school life at Oaklands, with resource base pupils accessing a variety of learning and social activities alongside their mainstream peers.

We follow the National Curriculum, which is appropriately differentiated and personalised, tailored to meet each pupil’s individual needs. Pupils have individualised timetables, which are regularly reviewed, enabling them to access learning in the way which supports them to achieve good individual outcomes. Learning may take place within resource base or mainstream classes. Each resource base class has an individualised curriculum, which is weighted to address the social, communication and sensory needs of the pupils. Personal development underpins each pupil’s academic progress and is therefore celebrated with the same enthusiasm.

Within resource base classes, the environment and teaching approaches are adapted to incorporate thinking from a range of theoretical sources. Children have access to low arousal individual and group work spaces, additional visual structure, ‘down time’ and unstructured social times when they can practise their social skills. When establishing each classroom environment and groupings, the pupils’ individual sensory, learning, social and emotional needs are taken into account. The specialist teaching methods that are used within the resource bases classes are drawn from evidence-based approaches, such as structured teaching, nurture principles and anxiety reduction strategies such as SPELL. Our aim is to create a calm, structured, positive environment in which the pupils feel safe and secure and can develop both their personal and academic skills, supported by a specialist staff team.

When pupils integrate into the mainstream classes many of the strategies used within the resource base classes are adapted and implemented to ensure pupils succeed and access the learning. Our mainstream environments have similarly structured and nurturing focuses which mirror resource base practice.

Means of Referral to the Autism Base

Pupils are placed within the resource by the Somerset SEND team. All pupils have a formal diagnosis of autism and an EHCP which identifies communication and interaction as their primary need and names Oaklands in Section F (educational placement). Pupils who attend mainstream classes at Oaklands Primary School do not have priority admission to the resource base.

Families interested in specialist provision should initially discuss this with the SENDCo at their child’s current setting.