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"The school is an inclusive and welcoming environment where pupils are well supported to strengthen their learning and well-being." Ofsted 2018

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Autism Resource Base

At Allen Edwards’ Autism Resource Base, we strive to provide an environment where children and their families feel safe, welcome and supported.

Learning Environment

We aim to enable every child to become the very best they can be by nurturing and encouraging their individual strengths and interests, whilst giving them opportunities to learn new and exciting things in a safe and secure learning environment. Pupils are supported to develop and use strategies that help them to overcome and cope with challenges they are faced with, developing them into resilient young learners.

Learning in meaningful, engaging ways is of paramount importance in the classroom. We endeavour to ensure that the children are learning in an environment that encourages them to learn through play as well as giving them opportunities to access a full and enriching curriculum that prepares them for the ever changing world around them. Objectives are taken from the National Curriculum, Pre-Key Stage Standards and individual targets so that the individual needs of the children are met and the learning is tailored to their specific needs. We recognise the importance of beginning our children’s learning journeys at the starting point of the individual child and developing a curriculum to meet their needs.

Developing the children’s communication, language and emotional understanding to promote positive social skills is a key priority for us at Allen Edwards’ Resource Base. This plays a vital role in helping the children develop friendships as well as positive interactions, confidence, self-assurance and self-esteem. Giving the children the tools they need to communicate effectively in a range of environments to prepare them for their future success.


We want our children to thrive and achieve to their full potential so will always have extremely high expectations of them.


We aim to:

  • Improve their self-confidence.

  • Encourage them to become more resilient in their own learning.

  • Develop their independent learning skills.

  • Make progress from their individual starting points.

  • Engage in a range of topics: both relating to their interests and topics that are new to them to develop their understanding go the wider world.

  • Be confident when engaging in whole school activities like sports day.

  • Recognise and value their own strengths.

We recognise that all learning must be highly stimulating and fun to engage the pupils at all times. We want to nurture positive learning attitudes at all points and respond to the children’s reactions to tasks and themes, which is why our curriculum is constantly changing.

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Support from Professionals

  • Weekly Music Therapy with our trained music therapist, Sarah Howden

  • Weekly Speech and Language Therapy sessions, staff training and target reviews with our SALT, Beth Davis

  • Weekly Art Therapy sessions with Art4Space

  • Educational Psychologist

  • Lambeth Autism Advisory Service teacher, Edyta Zjawiony

  • Occupational Therapy

  • Drama Therapy


What is Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech and language therapy supports children to communicate whilst supporting them to develop their speech and language skills. Our speech and language therapists (SLT) work alongside our staff delivering training, assessing children’s needs, developing targets, supporting interventions as well as 121 or small group support with the children on their caseload. They will also work closely with parents providing drop in sessions, targets and advice where needed. In school, we work with the NHS Speech and Language Team and True Voices, who are private speech and language therapists. Beth Davis is our speech and language therapist for the resource base and she is in for 1 day a week.


In the resource base and across school, our SLT helps with a range of different speech and language needs:

  • Understanding: using and understanding language in social situations.

  • Verbal skills: understanding and using spoken language.

  • Non-verbal skills: communicating using signs and gestures, body language, turn-taking

  • Expressive skills: getting a message across, verbally or non-verbally

  • Comprehension or receptive skills: understanding of spoken language and sign

  • Voice skills: controlling volume, quality and pitch

  • Speech: pronouncing sounds and words

  • Literacy: developing an awareness of letter-sounds and language skills that are specifically related to reading, spelling and to understanding written text.

  • Attention and listening: developing strategies to increase attention and focus to support the children with their understanding.

Speech and language interventions are used across school as part of our Universal Offer for all children to support them with learning in their own classes; targeted interventions for those children who do not have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) but have been identified by staff as needing further support in one of the areas outlined above or as part of the SLT’s caseload as per the requirements of their individual EHCP.


Speech and Language Interventions that you may hear your child’s teacher discuss with you:


  • Lego Therapy: supporting children with their turn taking and social skills

  • Zones of Regulation: supports emotional regulation and understanding of children’s own emotions and those of others.

  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): communicating through pictures to support early language development in children with SEND. This is used across school where appropriate. In addition to the PECS used specifically for some children, visuals accompany displays throughout the school building and on signs to enable children to access all areas of the school.

  • Other interventions used include: Word Wanderers, Terrific Talkers, Higher Level Questioning, Conversations and Colour Semantics.


What is Music Therapy?


At Allen Edwards, we have a Music Therapist, Sarah Howden, who joins our staff for one day a week. Sarah has worked at Allen Edwards for many years and has supported lots of children in their journey at Allen Edwards.


We use Music Therapy to support children’s communication and language skills and social and emotional needs. Music Therapy draws on music to support children with initial language and spontaneous sound making. Music Therapy is also a great support for our children with emotional needs as it often provides a distraction for the mind allowing the children to process trauma and develop lifelong strategies that will support them to regulate their emotions.


What is Art Therapy?


We have worked closely with Art4Space, who are a local charity that provide Art therapy for children in Lambeth. They us art as a media of expression and communication. Art is used to support children with emotional regulation and processing to allow them to access home and school life more positively. Art Therapy is also a great way for children to relax and develop social skills in small group environments.


What is Occupational Therapy?


Occupational Therapy (OT) supports children who have physical, sensory or cognitive needs. It supports children to develop life skills that allow them to become more independent and carry out daily tasks that they might find difficult.


This might include support to help with:


  • Eating

  • Washing

  • Using the toilet

  • Fine or gross motor

  • Playing


Often children with autism present with motor, perceptual or sensory challenges. They may be oversensitive to touch, noise or sound.  Their attention and behaviour can be affected by these physical or sensory challenges.


Occupational Therapists provide specialist assessments to identify the underlying difficulties impacting on your child's function (for example motor, sensory or perceptual skills). They will then provide therapeutic intervention and recommend appropriate strategies to help children overcome these difficulties working closely with school staff and families so they are supporting all aspects of the child’s life to enable them to be as successful as can be.


In school, we use the Evelina Occupational Therapy Pack to support children in our Universal Offer. If the child needs more support, we will make a referral to the Evelina Team after discussions with parents. We also buy in days with an occupational therapist to support children with EHCPs in school.

What does an educational psychologist do?


We commission an educational psychologist (EP) to work together with children, parents and staff as well as other professionals to support school based interventions for the children to help them to make progress. This work usually focuses on consultation, assessment and intervention.


If we feel that your child would benefit from an assessment from the educational psychologist, we would arrange a meeting with you and the EP, the EP would meet with your child’s teacher and observe your child in class. They will then write a report outlining their findings and recommendations that we will then implement in school. This assessment may also be used to support an EHCP application.


We are constantly evolving the therapeutic work that we do at Allen Edwards and looking for new ways to support your children to thrive. If you think that there is a therapy or intervention that you think your child would benefit from, please come and speak with a member of the Inclusion Team and we will discuss this further with you

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What is Lambeth Autism Advisory Service?

At Allen Edwards, our Autism Advisory Teacher is Edyta Zjawiony. She has worked here for several years and has a strong relationship with our children, parents and staff.

She provides support in schools for staff to develop a greater understanding of autism and to empower staff to apply good practice. We aim to have an Autism Friendly environment across school so she reviews our universal offer as well as working with our Autistic children in school to provide support, advice and strategies to promote independence and help them reach their full potential


Here are some Autism Friendly Strategies used in school:


  • PECS

  • Social Stories

  • Work Stations

  • Visual timetables

  • Whole school behaviour policy linked to Red and Green Choices

  • Communicate in Print labelling across school

  • All staff have Attention Autism training with Gina Davis


Accessing Mainstream Classes

Our base is at the heart of our school community and the children currently share playtimes and lunchtimes with the mainstream children. We find that this supports social skills.


Across school, we have ensured that the school environment and all classes are Autism Friendly to support the children in those classes and allow children in the base to access mainstream when appropriate as well as ensuring that all staff are able to support children with Autism and understand their needs. All of our school staff are trained by Gina Davis in Attention Autism training.


As soon as they are ready, all pupils are included in some weekly mainstream sessions to help build their social skills and further enhance their learning experiences.


Our resource base children have weekly lessons with our trained sports coaches and fortnightly lessons with Lambeth Music School. This allows the children to build relationships with other adults in school in preparation for their futures.


What Parents Can Expect from Us

In order for the children to reach their full potential, it is vital that we work closely with parents.


  • We will have a stay and play session before your child starts for you to ask questions and for your child to meet the adults that they will be working with.

  • When your child starts with us, we will allow them to settle in and then we will meet with parents and carers to feedback on the child’s start in the base.

  • Termly meetings will be held with parents to discuss and review targets. This feeds into our ethos that the development of your child is enhanced by building relationships between all adults working with your child.

  • You will be invited to a yearly annual review to discuss your child’s progress.


Regular communication will be made with parents via Class Dojo, face-to-face contact at the start and end of the day, informal meetings where appropriate and a termly curriculum map outlining the learning that your child is taking part in across the curriculum.

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The Resource Base for Autism follows a separate admissions process to the main school. Admissions are processed by Lambeth SEN.


Admissions Criteria:

  • A diagnosis of Autism

  • A statement or EHC plan

  • The child fits the profile for resource base

If parents are considering a specialist provision for their child they should contact Nicola Harris (Assistant head for Inclusion) to arrange a visit to the school on or by calling the school office on 020 7622 3985.

It is of the utmost importance that parents make an informed decision with regard to their child’s educational placement therefore it is advisable that they visit a number and range of specialist provisions in order to assess where they feel their child’s needs would be best met.

Below is an outline of the application process:

For children already at school:


  • An annual review must be held and a change of placement needs to be discussed. The SENCO at your child’s current school will then submit a change of placement request in the annual review paperwork that will be sent to Lambeth SEND.

  • Lambeth SEND will then send the consultation paperwork to the assistant head teacher for Inclusion.

  • As part of the assessment process, we will arrange to visit the child in their current setting.

  • We will also invite you to Allen Edwards so that you can see our provision and ensure that it is the best fit for your child.

  • The assistant head teacher will send a response to Lambeth SEND within the specified period, stating whether or not we can meet their child’s needs. This will depend on the children currently in the resource base, spaces available and the needs of your child.

  • If there are no places available, we will offer to keep the child on a referrals list until a place becomes available.



For children starting in our resource base, we will tailor a transition to support your child and your family circumstances.


  • Your child will be invited for an initial visit to meet the staff they will be working with and familiarise themselves with the resource base.

  • They will be provided with a transition pack to support this process.

  • In most instances, we will begin with a staggered start: this prevents your child becoming overwhelmed with a new environment and new people and promote a successful start. It will also allow your child and the other children in the base to familiarise themselves with each other to ensure all children remain calm and happy in the provision.

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Support for Parents

We are always here to help and support you at home.


Ways we can help:


  • Be there to listen when you need support.

  • Providing strategies and resources that work in school.

  • Offering training to support you at home.

  • Sign posting to services (see list below).

  • Making referrals to relevant professionals or organisations.


There are a number of websites and organisations which offer information and support to families of children with autism:

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Take a look at our Curriculum

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Our programme of wellbeing

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Parent Hub

Useful information for Parents