Head of Department - Mrs M Hussey
What is meant by the term 'Autism Spectrum Disorder'? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder which affects social interaction, language and communication. Students with ASD may have difficulties in the following areas:
- Interacting with others appropriately, and understanding the perspective of other people.
- Using both non-verbal (body language and gesture) and verbal communication.
- Generalising what they have been taught to other situations.
- Thinking imaginatively
- Sensory processing
- Emotional understanding
The Communications Base is part of Princes Risborough School. The purpose of the Base is to provide classroom support, differentiated teaching where appropriate and targeted provisions, such as SALT and social communication skills development, to students who have been identified as being on the Autism Spectrum. All students attached to the Base are included in the academic and social life of Princes Risborough School and there is close liaison between mainstream and Communications Base staff to ensure this works successfully.
The Base is located in a purpose-built suite on the main school campus. It offers a calm and structured environment from which students go out to join their peers in the classroom and other settings during the school day. The Base is there to ensure that students attached to the Base have full access to the National Curriculum, receiving their education wherever possible together with their peers in the mainstream classroom.
On the rare occasion where integration into the regular classroom is not deemed appropriate for an individual or small group, the lesson takes place within the Base. Our aim, however is to integrate the students wherever possible, providing the level of support appropriate to their needs.
Staffing and Provision
Support in the classroom, and occasionally subject teaching within the Base if appropriate, is provided by a committed team of a specialist teacher and learning support assistants. A Speech and Language Therapist is part of the team working with students for whom this provision is specified in the Education, Health and Care Plan. She also devises, monitors and evaluates the Social Communication Skills development. The therapist works closely with Communications Base staff, setting appropriate targets which are then worked on with the students by Base staff as well as the Therapist.
Students' academic and social progress, and the provisions in place to meet their needs, are monitored by Communications Base staff and provision is adjusted accordingly where necessary. This is overseen by the Head of the Base.
Working With Parents
Partnership with parents is a vital aspect of our work in the Communications Base. Sharing information and perceptions will enhance our understanding of the students and subsequently our ability to support and further their development. Frequent contact is maintained through email or telephone.
Visits to the School
The Communications Base welcomes visits from prospective parents. Please contact the Teacher-in-charge, Mrs Morag Hussey, to make an appointment.
Head of Department - Mrs L Williams
Teaching and Learning
The Outreach Room
This room is used for mentoring and social skills work with students. It is also the area where outside agencies come to work with students.
Head of Department - Mrs S Hine
The school is fully committed to offering pastoral support to all pupils. In most instances, this is undertaken by form tutors, teachers and Heads of Year. In some cases pupils may need additional support to deal with specific emotionally challenging situations or help with displaying positive behaviour; the Pastoral Team are available to offer this support. The teamwork alongside Heads of Year and the SEND team to ensure that the correct interventions are put into place to allow for academic success whilst also supporting the emotional needs of pupils.
The team consists of the Pastoral Manager, 2 Raising Achievement Officers who are assigned to year groups and an Attendance Officer. The team run tailored interventions for identified small groups or individuals which are reviewed regularly. They will also mentor as appropriate and offer wise words and guidance as necessary.
Despite the strong team, complex and extreme situations require additional professional support. Therefore, a key role of the Pastoral Team is also to work with External Agencies, ensuring that the appropriate teams are working with the individuals or families.