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Our school is fortunate enough to include a Base for children with Autism, which is called Treetops. Treetops is one of the four Primary Additional Resource Bases (ARP) within the Borough of Merton.  We are one of four that is specifically for children who have Autism.

Admissions to Treetops are entirely separate from places in the main school – and are made through Merton’s Special Educational Needs Admissions Team. Joining the mainstream school will not advance admissions into Treetops.

 

Teaching and Curriculum

As our provision for pupils who have a diagnosis of Autism, Treetops is designed to provide a structured environment that is small, welcoming and inclusive. The staff team strives to give the pupils the maximum level of independence that they can achieve.

All pupils have access to core subjects (Maths, English and Science) and the Foundation subjects (all other subjects). We use a topic-based approach to learning, which engages children and helps them to build skills in learning and thinking. Please see Curriculum Overviews for the topics covered in your child’s class

The method of teaching within the ARP is based on the Attention Autism Approach, developed by Gina Davies, Speech and Language Therapist. This method ensures learning is engaging and motivating. The children are taught from the Primary National Curriculum, using a differentiated approach, adapted to the individual needs.

In Treetops, we also strive to enhance pupil’s social and emotional development, through specific PSHE and life skills sessions. We incorporate programmes such as Social Thinking and the Zones of Regulation into daily practice. The pupils attend weekly swimming, horse riding and Creative Art lessons as part of an enriching curriculum.

 

Other professionals

Treetops has a visiting Speech and Language therapist, who works onsite with the pupils. The children will have Speech and Language targets set twice per year, and a written report as part of their Annual Review. The Therapist and staff liaise closely regarding the pupils’ targets to ensure these are incorporated within daily teaching.

Treetops also has visiting Occupational Therapists, who work with children in a range of ways, which include both direct and indirect input. This enables OT programmes to be completed throughout the school day to support children’s access to their education. This ranges from scheduled movement breaks with specific exercises (e.g. sensory activities that range from low to high intensity depending on the child’s presenting needs), fine motor activities and resources to support writing skills. If your child has OT provision on their EHCP, you will receive Programmes and targets according to the amount outlined in Section F, as well as a written report as part of your child’s Annual Review.

Treetops works closely with Merton’s Educational Psychology team with an allocated Educational Psychologist. Children will be seen in Year 5 as part of the secondary phase transition. A referral may also be made if there is a change to your child’s needs or the provision that they require.

 

Access to mainstream lessons

The School is also committed to adopting an inclusive approach in all aspects of its work. We believe that where it is suitable for an individual learner in Treetops, access to mainstream classes can help to promote independence and social awareness. This can take several forms: shared playtimes, lunchtimes, assemblies, residential trips as well participate in selected mainstream lessons. All mainstream opportunities are planned for on an individual basis to ensure these experiences are both meaningful and beneficial for the child. Our Base is part of the main School building: not set apart from it and we seek to ensure that our practice reflects that geography.

 

Assessment

We assess Treetops learners using the greater precision offered by a system called Connecting Steps, from BSquared. It is better configured to record the smaller steps of progress that our learners make, to build a bigger and more accurate picture of each pupil’s learning and progress.

We use the SCERTS Model framework to assess social and emotional learning. This is used to create a profile of your child’s social and emotional competencies and highlight priorities for further development. As part of this, you will be asked to complete a form about your child’s social communication and emotional regulation at home. For each child, a SEN support plan is in place. This SEN support plan draws on the outcomes outlined in pupil’s EHCPs, the SCERTS profile and BSquared assessment. The targets are devised and reviewed in consultation with parents, on a termly basis.

 

Communication with parents

We believe collaboration with parents and carers is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes for pupils. We start the year with a ‘Meet the Teacher’ session to introduce you to your child’s teacher for the year, as well as gain an understanding of the expectations of the upcoming year. In addition to the statutory Education, Health and Care Plan Annual Review meeting, two parent meetings are held to discuss each child’s progress. There is also an opportunity to talk through your child’s end of year report. As many of the children travel to school each day on Merton transport, Home/school communication books provide an opportunity for parents and staff to communicate on a regular basis. We also welcome parents and carers to telephone or email the school

 

 

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