Support for Students with Autism
As an inclusive school we seek to cater for all of our students, regardless of their needs. Approximately twenty of our students on roll currently have a diagnosis of autism or are believed to be autistic and are currently seeking a diagnosis, from Year 7 through to Year 13. Students with autism follow the same curriculum as other students but also have available to them the following, more specific support, to ensure they excel in a mainstream environment.
The school works closely with Roundabout Drama therapy service, based in Croydon, to provide weekly drama therapy to students with autism.
Drama therapy is a form of psychological therapy which uses drama related techniques such as storytelling, metaphor, play and movement, improvisation, puppet and music, to support people to understand themselves and make positive changes in their lives. Its creative flexibility makes it an appropriate intervention for people of all ages from children and adolescents through to older adults.
Accessing the support is dependent on whether or not the student is willing to work with the therapist and is therefore always optional for the students.
Every half term the Learning Support Department invites students with autism to the C block for a hot chocolate morning. This is supervised by one of our Learning Support Assistants who has oversight of supporting students with autism. Students come together to spend an hour together to talk and interact, sharing frustrations and coping strategies to manage attending a mainstream school. For the younger students, it is encouraging for them to see students with autism in our sixth form, preparing to go to University.
Transition from Year 6 to Year 7
Moving from a primary school environment to a secondary environment is a huge step for any eleven year old, but especially so for those with autism. We provide a visual tour of the school in conjunction with the local authority's Autism Service to help familiarise autistic students with their new surroundings. Photographs of key staff are also shared with students in advance and the school runs a SEND Induction day, for students with autism, before other Year 6 students are invited in.