The therapeutic class is a bespoke class for pupils who are finding accessing ‘mainstream’ Addington classes challenging and showing this through extreme challenging behaviour, lack of engagement, who are at risk of exclusion or who may be at risk of needing a residential placement in the future. These pupils social, emotional and sensory needs are extremely complex and challenging.
We have a high adult to pupil ratio to ensure that the environment and curriculum is enriching, engaging and nurturing. All the pupils have 1:1 adult support, with the flexibility of 2:1 support if needed during the day. The classroom staff use the same interventions and strategies that are used across Addington but we have an even greater focus on communication, emotional regulation and independence skills. We have a generic whole class timetable to create structure and routine for the pupils. However, within this each pupil’s learning and outcomes are highly individualised. Where needed individual pupils will have their own personalised visual timetable as well, to help break down the down day even further. We allow for child led engagement and learning, curiosity and supporting demand avoidance. Classroom staff think ‘outside of the box’ to encourage engagement with their personalised timetable supporting their fluctuating needs throughout the day.
The pupils have areas within the classroom where they complete their personalised activities(academic tasks) independently or with 1:1 support , a relaxation area where they can have massages, relax and do Yoga exercises and explorative areas which are set up at varying points throughout the day. All the pupils also have access to our self-regulation room, which is located opposite our classroom. This is a space where the pupils can use calming and/or alerting OT equipment to help regulate them.
We encourage our pupils in transferring their skills taught in class to different environments through accessing the community when we feel that individual pupils are ready. For example, some pupils within the class walk to the local shop to buy snacks or ingredients for cooking. We also are luckily enough to have links with Camp Mohawk and Jealotts Hill which currently we attend weekly. Our PE sessions are often based out in the community too. Our TA has recently trained as a Forest School Leader and we have begun to utalise her skills and ethos within the Therapeutic class too.
As well as individual and 1:1 activity we encourage group participation throughout the day such as sensory stories, sing and sign and Attention Bucket. We promote independence throughout the day by encouraging and supporting the pupils to do skills on their own by fading out physical/gestural prompts and repetition. These independent skills are individualised to each pupil. Communication skills are promoted throughout the day using total communication approach. We believe that all of our pupils have a voice and therefore their communication aids have a specific area within the classroom so the pupils know where to find them whenever they want or need them.
When pupils first start in the therapeutic class they will begin on a zero demand timetable which enables us to assess the pupils needs and build up relationships. Once relationships have been built then we will begin to increase the level of demand. There is no set time for when this will happen, we follow the pupils lead.
We are committed to supporting all of our pupils to fulfil their potential in a therapeutic and nurturing environment that is challenging, creative and safe. The class is committed to inspiring communication, emotional regulation, attention, engagement, learning and enjoyment for all by promoting respect; nurturing the positives and developing life skills.
Our Aim/Long Term Goal
Our ultimate aim for the pupils in the Therapeutic class is for them to re integrate back into ‘mainstream’ Addington classes weather that be for specific lessons across the week, part or full time. Below are our aims for the pupils whilst they are being supported in the therapeutic class
Areas of Learning
Our curriculum is based around 5 areas of learning which link with their EHCPs. These areas are: My Cognition and Learning, My Interactions & Communication, My Exploration & Engagement, My Emotional Regulation and My Independence and Life Skills. Within these areas we teach a range of skills in a bespoke and therapeutic way. These skills are detailed in our Schemes of Work for each area of learning.
All the learning opportunities that are offered in the therapeutic class are highly individualised and based on repetition so all the learners can anticipate and increase/develop their level of understanding and engagement. We are a dedicated team that is always looking for new therapeutic approaches to support the pupils within our class and across the school.
We use a thematic approach to our leaning which allows learning opportunities to be presented in a stimulating and immersive way. We follow the same themes as the sensory and complex needs department. When we feel that a pupil is ready they will be matched with an appropriate link class to begin integration.
Personalised Learning Plans
We have a vast range of learning needs and attainment in the therapeutic class. Each child has a Personalised Learning Plan (PLP) to ensure that their targets are individual, short-term and cover a breadth of learning areas. These targets are devised from the child’s EHCP outcomes, therapy plans and SCERTS. They will be reviewed and updated at least every half term. These are worked on throughout the day.
Each pupil in the class will have a detailed curriculum passport containing important and detailed information about their current skills and strategies to support them and what requirements are needed within the school setting to nurture and develop effective and meaningful learning. This working document will accompany the learners for the remainder of their school career and is updated regularly.
Pupils in the Therapeutic class will be assessed alongside Addington assessments like other classes across the school, using Onwards and Upwards – literacy, maths and PSHE. They will also be assessed through the SCERTS programme, behaviour analysis and demand levels. Each pupil will have an evidence file/learning journal, which will show small steps of progress throughout their time in our class as well as the use of Earwig our whole school evidence capture app. This ensures that we have a holistic approach and capture all the steps of progress each individual pupil makes.