As a school, Longdon Hall is seeing increasingly complex students within our cohort, particularly those with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition, as a result we have introduced a more specialised learning programme, which is referred to as the ‘The Provision’. Pupils with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) have conditions that coexist. These conditions overlap and interlock creating a complex profile. The co-occurring and compounding nature of complex learning difficulties requires a personalised learning pathway that recognises children and young people’s unique and changing learning patterns.
Within the Provision cohort pupils present a range of issues and combination of layered needs e.g. mental health, relationships, behavioural, physical, medical, sensory, communication and cognitive. They need informed specific support and strategies to engage effectively in the learning process and to participate actively in classroom activities and the wider community. Their attainments may be inconsistent, presenting an atypical or uneven profile. In the school setting learners may be working at any educational level, including P Scales and national Curriculum.
At Longdon Hall School creativity and independence are expected and encouraged, everyone has the opportunity to grow, develop and extend their understanding of their own individuality and uniqueness. To achieve this, we firmly believe in:
- ensuring our curriculum is diverse, but also places great emphasis on the core curriculum areas and developing individual skills
- encouraging personal, social and emotional growth and a deeper awareness of cultural, moral, and spiritual values
- preparing all pupils for the opportunity, responsibilities and experiences of life
- supporting every pupil’s ability to participate and drive their own learning so that they can explore, question and challenge
- inclusion whenever possible
- encouraging and supporting staff to be committed to a professional development and to sharing communication
Teaching and Learning
Teaching and learning are fundamental to the Longdon Hall School. Our pupils with ASC have a wide range of complex needs. This requires us to adopt and develop a range of appropriate teaching and learning strategies. However, we are not only concerned with the gaining of knowledge and skills but also with the development of the whole child. We believe in the importance of giving our pupils a positive self-image and the confidence to enable them to function effectively in their environment. We believe pupils learn best when they:
- Are happy
- Are interested and motivated
- Achieve success and gain recognition
- Are given tasks which match their abilities and experiences
- Clearly understand the task and what is expected from them
- Are confident, feel secure and aware of boundaries
Teaching and learning at Longdon Hall School is the practice carried out by all staff to ensure all pupils acquire knowledge, skill and understanding. Learning is the process through which the pupils can develop their knowledge, skills and understanding to the point where they have retained and generalised what has been taught (embedded learning). Teaching and learning is carried out in a context which is relevant and meaningful to all pupils with ASC to ensure effective learning and appropriate accreditation.
All staff work in such a way that the learning environment is one which is calm and consistent, visually clear and structured, with clear communication to students about what is expected of them, both as individuals and in small groups. This ensures maximum information processing throughout each day allowing pupils to realise their full potential.
To support teaching and learning Longdon Hall School pays significant attention to the National Autism Standards provided by the Autism Education Trust (2012). The Autism Education Trust emphasise the following considerations to support teaching and learning for pupils with ASC.
There are four main areas of difference that are particularly important for staff in school to understand and pay attention to because most pupils with ASC will have individual educational needs to be met in these areas.
Pupils with ASC will have different levels of support needs in relation to:
- Understanding the social interactive style and emotional expression of staff and peers (PSED) – just as it is difficult for staff and peers to understand the social and interactive style and emotional expression of pupils with ASC.
- Understanding and using communication and language (Communication) – both verbal and non-verbal(e.g. gesture, facial expression, tone of voice etc.)
- Differences in how information is processed (Sensory & Cognition) can lead to a strict adherence to routines and rules and/or difficulties in planning and personal memory. Pupils may have difficulties in predicting what will happen when a familiar timetable or activity is changed. Conversely, such styles of processing can lead to strengths and abilities in a number of areas (often related to factual memory or areas of interest and motivation).
- Differences in the way sensory information is processed (Physical & Motor) often leading to over-sensitivities (often to external stimuli such as lighting, smells, or sounds), and under-sensitivities (often not noticing internal feelings such as pain, body awareness and hunger, until they becoming overwhelming). It should be noted that sensory sensitivities can lead to extreme levels of stress and anxiety in unfamiliar or over-stimulating environments.