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Sybil Elgar School Prospectus

Accept difference. Not indifference.

Our school’s mission is to provide and develop a range of services for people with autism spectrum disorders, which are specialised, innovative, of a high quality and well resourced.

Social Care

Each student is encouraged to reach their potential and enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other young people. Ofsted 2008


to Sybil Elgar School It is a great pleasure to introduce such a caring and progressive school, which gives students every opportunity to learn and achieve through interesting and exciting lessons and activities. We hold our students in high esteem and know that our strengths come from the real partnership we have with our students, families and professionals. We offer secondary, further education and residential care for young people with autism. We always maintain excellent communication between all our staff. This means we can give every student a very high level of consistent care throughout their time with us. When a student enters our school, they become a member of our family. We care about each of them and put their needs and well-being before anything else. We provide access to the National Curriculum and an exciting Creative and Expressive Arts curriculum, whilst giving high

priority to the specific learning difficulties of each of our students. They are at the heart of everything we do. Together we strive for all our students to reach their full potential. We have created a warm and welcoming place where our students feel happy and safe. Our school is also highly structured. This enables each of our students to focus on their learning and to achieve. It is our innovative and creative approach to education that makes us special. We are always looking for new and enriching ways to inspire our students. This positive, dynamic approach prepares our students for a meaningful adult life. We give them the self-confidence and skills they need to live as full and equal members of society. Come visit us for the opportunity to see our facilities for yourself and meet the team.

Chloe Phillips Principal of Sybil Elgar School


Our school The Sybil Elgar School provides a range of services for children and young people with autism. We are an independent special school, owned and run by The National Autistic Society and monitored by OFSTED. We have three sites in west London which offer: secondary school provision for ages 11 to 16; further education provision for ages 16 to 19; and weekly boarding and short break provision for ages 11 to 19. We are committed to providing the very highest quality of care and education for young people with autism. We have an international reputation for being leaders in the education of young people with autism and work closely with our colleagues in The National Autistic Society. We are known for being an innovative and progressive school and are always looking for fresh, new approaches. This makes our school an exciting and dynamic place for our young people on their pathway to adulthood. We understand that your child’s safety, care and happiness are of paramount importance to you. We have extremely robust safeguarding procedures and practices in place. Everything we do is centred around our students. We provide a nurturing and high quality environment making sure that they feel safe and cared for. We are committed to the Every Child Matters strategy. We believe in and champion the rights of every child in our school to be healthy, safe and happy and to achieve and make a positive contribution. Our curriculum is enriched by a diverse range of trips, activities and events enjoyed by the whole school. The culmination of our school year is our annual gathering of all our students and families, both past and present, to celebrate and share achievements at our summer social and graduation ceremony. The afternoon is full of joy as families and staff take pleasure in being together in a friendly and accepting environment.


It is clear that the welfare of the students is at the heart of all that the school does. Ofsted 2008


Many thanks for all you do, your support, care and respect mean everything to our family. 4

Parent 2008

Our support Support for young people with autism and their families is fundamental to our daily practice. We truly believe in listening to families and in working together to find solutions and to ensure the best support. Our knowledgeable staff have established links with other services and we benefit greatly from being part of The National Autistic Society. We understand that good communication between school and home can be crucial to your child’s success at school and for your peace of mind. We encourage open two-way communication with all our families where we discreetly share key information. As a basis for this we have established systems such as home/school books, telephone slots, coffee mornings, parents’ evenings and parents in partnership evenings. We consult all families about contact with us so that communication can be tailored to individual needs, such as daily telephone calls. You will be able to make appointments not only with your child’s class teacher but also with care staff, the school Psychologist, the school Speech and Language Therapist and members of the senior team. Our Head of Care works closely with parents to advise in areas such as sibling support and respite. She offers help with entitlement to benefits and allowances and works closely with the family’s social worker. She is also very involved in the School Leavers Programme and will put parents in touch with local support groups. Our Transition Link Worker is based at our Further Education Department and supports students and families to explore options and to ensure that all our students secure an appropriate placement when leaving school at 19.


SPELL All services in The National Autistic Society use the SPELL framework to support people with autism. It’s a unique and well-established system, developed through nearly five decades of experience by our own professionals and practitioners. We work on the principle that every person with autism is different. SPELL guarantees that individual need is at the heart of everything we do.

SPELL stands for: Structure: People with autism can find change very frightening and sometimes struggle to cope in new or unfamiliar situations. Our safe, predictable and reassuring environments and activities give people with autism the opportunity to increase their independence, develop their communication skills and reduce their anxiety. Positive expectations and approaches: We build on the natural strengths and abilities of the people we support so that their confidence and self-esteem can grow. We identify the barriers that each person faces and work with them to overcome these and achieve their goals and potential. Empathy: We try to see and understand the world in the same way that a person with autism experiences it. This means focusing on individual interests and preferences, understanding what motivates, distresses or preoccupies each person and using those insights to help us deliver the best possible care and support. Low arousal: We respond to people’s sensory needs by providing surroundings and activities that are calm, focused and free from clutter and distraction. By using well-established relaxation techniques and introducing new sensory experiences in a gradual, supported way, we help people increase their independence in all aspects of life.


Links: The framework of support we establish for each person should carry over into all other areas of life. By developing a shared, consistent approach that links family, the wider community and other support services, we are reducing the difficulties faced by people with autism and moving together towards a world where they have the same opportunities as everyone else. The SPELL framework at Sybil Elgar is well established. All our staff receive ongoing training in SPELL and it is inherent in all we do. The National Autistic Society inspects us annually to examine our autism-specific provision.

A strength of this school is the enjoyment and achievement of the students. Ofsted 2008



Our assessment process Every student’s progress through the school is carefully planned, and this planning is underpinned by thorough and accurate assessment and reporting. Right from the start we carry out a comprehensive baseline assessment. Our multi-disciplinary team brings together this key information to formulate support strategies for your child. From the initial baseline assessment we create an individual profile for each student which we regularly review and update. These student profiles enable us to plan in detail and to recognise the student’s progress. The thoroughness of each profile helps us to value, acknowledge and celebrate all milestones, success and progress, however small. Our aim is to enable every student to achieve their full potential within all areas of our curriculum. To this end we regularly assess, record and analyse each student’s progress, and set targets accordingly. We encourage all students to be aware of their targets and to be part of the evaluation and assessment process.

Individual education plans (IEPs) An IEP contains a detailed methodology and strategy for each student. It describes what should be taught, how it should be taught and how frequently it should be taught. IEPs are agreed and regularly reviewed by teaching staff, parents, carers, other professionals and where possible, the child. The IEP is intrinsically linked to the Every Child Matters initiative and focuses on the following areas:

> communication > flexibility of thought > imagination > independence > social interaction. Staff teams are always happy to meet with families and discuss assessment, recording and progress.

The Speech and Language Therapist at the school has developed assessment checklists which are particularly relevant for autism. The school educational psychology team also assesses new students at the school. We assess sensory information for all students and this informs the practical strategies that we develop for them. assessment of students’ attainment is outstanding. In particular, it is impressive to see how involved the students are in assessing how well they are doing. Ofsted 2008


Our curriculum We believe passionately in equal opportunities and champion the rights of all of our students to access the breadth and quality of education, care and overall provision that every child is entitled to. We continue to develop our curriculum so that it meets the specific needs of our students with autism. The SPELL framework is intrinsic in everything that we do as are key themes such as empowerment, problem solving, cooperation and respect. Within this approach there is differentiation and flexibility to ensure a vibrant and dynamic teaching environment. All our students have opportunities to develop a variety of skills, knowledge and experiences appropriate to their age and needs. The multi-disciplinary team ensures that there is a holistic approach to each child’s education and care which addresses their communication, social, behavioural, emotional, sensory, physical and self help needs. In our Secondary School every child has access to a National Curriculum which we have modified to meet the needs of pupils with autism. All pupils have the appropriate access to English, Mathematics and Science as well as Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Art and Design, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Humanities and Food Technology. Lessons are taught by subject specialist teachers in designated classrooms. As appropriate all pupils are taught Modern Foreign Languages and Sex and Relationship Education. We have daily Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) sessions. At Key Stage 4 pupils are taught Careers Education. They follow the ASDAN Transition Challenge, which is externally certified, and we encourage them to participate in onsite work experience.


Pupils attend lunchtime clubs such as football, drumming and yoga and offsite activities such as horseriding, rockclimbing and swimming. We run trips throughout the year and a variety of special curriculum weeks such as Black History Week and Sports Week. In our Further Education Department students participate in an exciting curriculum that inspires and prepares them for adult life. The Academic Life Skills programme concentrates on improving independence and communication. It gives students the opportunity to gain external accreditation. Choosing Art, Drama, Dance, and Music and Movement gives students more confidence through practising what they enjoy doing. Our performing arts are exceptional: our students have opened the NAS International Conference, performed for the Countess of Wessex and danced at a cultural festival in Poland. An enrichment programme – whether this involves attending Acton College to learn digital photography or a private gymnasium – helps students take steps towards adulthood. In our Residential Provision students develop their skills for life in a structured environment and with the support of a dedicated group of professionals. They learn key social and life skills in addition to working on their academic skills.

The curriculum is outstanding and characterised by a high focus on personalising programmes of work. Ofsted 2008


Our facilities We have three spacious sites in west London which offer specialist services for children and young people with autism. Overall we can take up to 100 day students and up to 21 students as weekly boarders or on short breaks.

Secondary School Our purpose-built secondary school is in a single storey building near Southall surrounded by spacious playgrounds. The specialist classrooms and teaching areas support the delivery of our adapted National Curriculum and therapeutic approaches. Classrooms include an art studio, ICT suite, food technology teaching kitchen, music building, media and film production centre and design technology workshop. Other key teaching rooms include well resourced English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and PSHCE rooms. Most classrooms have networked computers and many have interactive whiteboards. Our secure, newly refurbished playgrounds are divided into four areas. Two have a variety of climbing and play equipment to encourage exploration, problem solving, social interaction and the development of sensory and motor skills. The others have athletics tracks, basketball courts and football pitches. We have the exclusive use of the adjoining fenced Swift Road Sports Facility during term time. This has astroturfed football fields, netball /basketball pitches and indoor changing facilities and a cafe. We provide a variety of wholesome freshly cooked meals. Older pupils run a school cafĂŠ to provide healthy snacks and money skills experience.


Further Education Department Our Further Education Department is on the campus of Acton College in a detached and secure building which provides a safe base for both onsite educational courses and therapies as well as community-based education. The students benefit greatly from being on campus and access facilities and sessions at Acton College with support. Students also benefit from being in the centre of Acton, with its shops, leisure facilities, parks and transport links. The atrium at the heart of our department is dramatically decorated with the students’ art. We use this daily for dance, yoga and physical activities, and for termly performances – and it is a natural meeting place for students to gather and to socialise. Well equipped rooms include the dance and movement studio, the multi-sensory room, the ICT suite, the library and the art studio and the recently refurbished teaching kitchen. The music studio has a wide range of equipment and recording facilities. The transition library has a mass of information about placements, housing and careers to help students and families. Students eat in our cafeteria and relax in their secluded courtyard and sensory area.

Residential Provision Our Residential Provision is in a leafy, residential part of Ealing close to Hanger Hill Park. It offers boarding provision for up to 21 students aged 11 to 19 years. During term time we offer both weekly boarding and short breaks. Short breaks can be booked on both regular and occasional bases, subject to availability. A short break service operates during some of the school holidays, on both a day and overnight residential basis. Our Residential Provision provides a safe, homely environment where our students thrive. The accommodation is in a large detached house with shared dining facilities and a secure rear garden. Each student has their own bedroom which they personalise to their taste and to meet their physical and sensory needs. There is a balance to ensure that all bedrooms are private yet sensitively supervised. Students can relax, socialise or watch DVDs in our living area which opens out onto the garden. In the popular teaching kitchen students make snacks, drinks and treats. Here and in the laundry area students learn key self-help skills. The newly refurbished student resource base contains a library and networked PCs. The catering kitchen provides nutritious suppers and breakfasts, catering for the dietary, cultural and sensory needs of the students. Our Residential Provision is only a ten minute walk from Ealing Broadway Centre, the students regularly use tubes, trains and buses as well as our own school minibuses. They visit local libraries, swimming pools, shopping centres, restaurants, youth clubs, museums and theatres.


Our therapies Visitors to the Sybil Elgar school are often impressed by our calm, positive and nurturing atmosphere where students explore problems and learn to express themselves in appropriate and safe ways. Our holistic approach takes into account each child’s educational, emotional, behavioural, social, physical and sensory needs. Our experienced and trained staff enable children to develop key life and functional skills, such as motor skills, toileting and eating. All students participate in expressive activities such as Art, Music, Dance, Drama and physical activities, including yoga and pilates, for both educational and therapeutic benefit. We teach all students a variety of self regulation and calming techniques as part of daily routines. Students develop emotional literacy and problem-solving techniques through a variety of structured activities and the respectful attitude of staff. Each site has a multi-sensory room where staff help students to explore different sensory stimuli in a controlled and relaxing environment. We understand the vital role that diet plays with the health, development and behaviour of your child. Our healthy eating policy ensures that all food is fresh and wherever possible free from additives, colouring and additional sugar and salt. Our catering staff offer support with special dietary requirements such as gluten free, nut free, casein free diets. Our full-time experienced Speech and Language Therapist works with all our students individually and in groups to develop their language and listening abilities. She works closely with all staff teams, supervising their communication activities and resources and ensuring a high quality continuity of approach. She helps families to ensure 24 hour continuity and provides bespoke resources.


We use STUDIO III principles and strategies to help us and our students with behaviour management. STUDIO III – a non-aversive approach to the management of challenging behaviours – takes into account the individual’s communication, environment, interests and abilities. All interactions are proactive rather than reactive and promote positive behaviour, self-regulation and self-management. Our psychology department is staffed by a Chartered Psychologist and two Behaviour Co-ordinators who are responsible for delivering a psychological profile for each student in the school which outlines key strengths and emerging skills. We use this information to identify areas where further support is needed and share it with parents, teachers and other professionals involved in their education.

Visitors to the school cannot fail to be impressed by the students’ outstanding personal skills, including their outstanding behaviour and attitudes to school. Ofsted 2008


Our admissions We accept referrals for children between the ages of 11 to 19 years. Children are referred to our school by their local authority, who will fund their place here. In line with NAS policy, we cannot accept applications for private funding. Once we have received all the relevant reports and application forms, we will visit your child at their school or at home or invite you to visit the school. Our multi-disciplinary team carefully observes prospective students and talks to families and professionals in their current placement, to ensure that we are able to offer the appropriate education and care. We then decide whether our school can meet your child’s needs, and if there is a suitable class and/or residential place for him/her. We take into account whether your child is compatible with the children already at our school and your child’s


level of functioning, any learning difficulties and the length of journey from home to school. Children are admitted when a suitable vacancy occurs in a compatible group rather than on a ‘first come first served’ basis. All our children have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. If your child has any additional needs we will determine any adjustments that may be needed. Once a placement has been confirmed we support you and your child with careful transition planning and integration into the school community. Over the first term we carry out a baseline assessment to assess your child’s needs. After six months we review the placement and meet to formalise your child’s placement and provision.

The National Autistic Society The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism. We were founded around a kitchen table in 1962 by a group of parents who were passionate about ensuring a better future for their children. Today, our UK-wide network of specialist schools and education services gives hundreds of children and young people the opportunity to grow and learn in a reassuring environment, with teachers and support staff who understand their needs. For over 45 years, we’ve built our success on the principle that every child that passes through our doors is unique. Each student has their own support programme based around their needs and ambitions. Together with them and their families, we’re building the better future that our founders hoped for.

The National Autistic Society 393 City Road London EC1V 1NG Switchboard: 020 7833 2299 Email: Website: Autism Helpline: 0845 070 4004 Advocacy for Education service: 0845 070 4002 Parent to Parent support line: 0800 952 0520

Havelock Road Southall Middlesex UB2 4NY Tel: 020 8813 9168 Fax: 020 8571 7332 Email: Website:

Sybil Elgar School

57 Corfton Road Ealing London W5 2HR Tel: 020 8998 5169 Woodlands Building Acton College Mill Hill Road Acton London W3 8RR Tel: 020 8752 9617

All details and information contained in this prospectus are correct at the time of going to print in 2010.

Accept difference. Not indifference. The National Autistic Society is a company limited by guarantee registered in England (No.1205298) and a charity registered in England and Wales (269425) and in Scotland (SC039427), registered office 393 City Road, London, EC1V 1NG.

Sybill Elgar Prospectus  

National Autistic Society, Sybill Elgar School Prospectus