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Improve Transition between Early Years Settings for Pupils on the Autism Spectrum

Case Study
  • Authored by: Chris Collins
  • Status: Approved

Introduction

What were your reasons for doing this type of development work?

In our school we were concerned how a child with Autism would cope with transition from the Nursery environment to a reception class. We already had a programme for transition but wanted to ensure all pupils had minimal disruption to their learning journeys. Staff wanted to know more about working with pupils on the autistic spectrum. We were interested in using the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) materials on Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum. At the same time we wanted to up-skill the whole staff on understanding learners on the autism spectrum and support a parent through transition of their child to reception. The school was given the opportunity to join a working group looking at the Primary Strategy resource The Inclusion Development Programme - supporting children on the autism spectrum. This opportunity gave an impetus to our work and a resource to support us.

Who might find this case study useful?

  • Teacher

Key points

Point 1

Improved transition between Early Years settings by developing learning environments for pupils on the autism spectrum

Point 2

Using the Inclusion Development Programme Autistic Spectrum for whole school and focused CPD

Contacts

  • Author: Chris Collins

What

What specific curriculum area, subject or aspect did you intend to have impact on?

  • All aspects
  • All subjects
  • Transfer and transition

How did you intend to impact on pupil learning?

·   Enable positive transition experiences for all pupils.

·     Minimal disruption to pupils on their learning journeys in the foundation stage.

What were your success criteria?

  • Staff self evaluation check lists showing improved scores.
  • Appropriate adjustments to Learning Environment and curriculum for pupils on the autism spectrum.
  • Pupils improved EYFSP scores.
  • Pupils enjoying and achieving.

What information or data did you use to measure progress towards your success criteria?

  • Learning walks / study visits
  • Logs or interviews
  • Observation outcomes

What did you do? What teaching approaches (pedagogy) did you use to achieve the intended impact?

  • Independent learning
  • Other

Describe the teaching approaches you used

To build positive relationships we held planning meetings earlier and gave all staff a role in the process. The Foundation Staff looked together at Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) – Supporting children on the autism spectrum: Guidance for practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Preparation for Transition included using the sensory check list for reception classes.  This highlighted the need for quiet/calm areas to be developed in the new classroom  for the child if needed. Photographs were taken for Social Stories book about school staff and school routines.  This book was read to the pupil at home and in school. The key person used made observations of the pupil in the Nursery setting and took photographs to establish  his favourite places to work, the equipment he used and the children he worked with/alongside. This was used to add equipment to  areas within the pupils new class. A behaviour check list was completed with parents and key staff to highlight the pupils needs to his next teacher.  Visual timetables are supporting the child within the setting. Teaching assistants have been empowered through the process to take the initiative with the identified child as they understand their individual needs and the resources to support better.

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What did you do? What approaches to CPD and learning for adults were used?

  • Classroom enquiry
  • Learning conversation
  • Lesson observation
  • Mentoring
  • Modelling
  • Partnership teaching
  • Training

Describe the CPD approaches you used

The Senco joined an LA working party looking at the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) – Supporting children on the Autism Spectrum materials. She delivered a whole school CPD session on how to use the materials and the Staff in school filled in the self evaluation check lists. This highlighted areas for further development. The Reception Staff wanted to look at the materials together so that they could raise their knowledge of pupils with autism as a pupil with this diagnosis would be joining them soon. The teachers and TAs met each week to look at the Early Years materials which included a booklet and CD Rom. Staff held learning conversations and more experienced staff initially led the CPD sessions. The staff carried out observations of the pupil in his present setting and fed back what they had seen and the adjustments made.
Staff held meetings with with parents/other professionals. Staff were shown how to carry out a Learning Journey walk and sensory audit  in teams. This highlighted adjustments that needed to be made to the classroom. A member of staff modelled how to use the Skills and behaviour check list. Staff looked at Social Stories and visual timetables together and a TA explained how she had used these in the past. Other TAs then made these for the pupil. The information gathered by each member of staff was relayed to others in the weekly meetings. These were embedded in everyday work.

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What CPD materials, research or expertise have you drawn on?

Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) - Supporting children on the autism spectrum: Guidance for practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage
http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/173893?uc=force_uj

Primary and Secondary Inclusion Development Programme – supporting pupils on the autism spectrum http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/173574

Seamless transitions Supporting Continuity in Young Children's Learning http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/85135

Continuing the Learning Journey http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/84402

The Self Evaluation Check list for the learner from the IDP materials to give a pre and post CPD overview of knowledge and skills and any improvements of these.

Using the expertise of colleagues from other schools through LA IDP development group.

Who provided you with support?

  • External agency
  • Senior management

How were you supported?

The Senco met with an LA adviser/IDP Leader and teachers from other schools as part of a working party looking at Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) – Supporting children on the autism spectrum. They looked at the materials together then wrote action plans to show how they intended to introduce the materials back in school. The SLT encouraged the Senco to deliver Inset to the whole school and then to work with the Foundation Stage in more depth. The working party met several times to discuss how things were going in their school and to advise and support each other. Being part of the working party gave the Senco access to expertise from the LA/other schools and the impetus to use the materials in this way. The working party fed back to Sencos throughout the LA at a forum describing how the materials had been used in their school.

Impact

What has been the overall impact on pupil learning?

  • Pupils confident about moving into the reception class.
  • Individual pupil and all pupils are calmer and more settled in current setting.
  • Pupil knows key person.
  • Anticipated improvements in EYFSP for the individual.
  • Anticipated improvement in EYFSP for all children.

Thoughts you think are relevant to overall impact on learning

  • Pupils are able to know the routines and staff prior to moving class.  
  • Staff confidence about provision and taking initiative as they have improved knowledge of autism and the individual child.
  • Visual timetables and improved learning environment impacting on all children.

Quotes you think are relevant to overall impact on learning

I have noticed that **** writes my name over and over (from key worker).

Quantitative evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Periodic teacher assessment

Qualitative evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Learning walks / study visits
  • Logs or interviews
  • Observation outcomes
  • Pupil consultation data
  • Pupils' work

Describe the evidence of impact on pupil learning

  • Minutes from meetings.
  • Observation Monitoring.
  • Learning Journey Walk.
  • Planning shows adjustments for pupils on the Autistic spectrum.
  • Discussions with parent.

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What has been the impact on teaching?

  • Enabling environment developed and positive relationships established.
  • Social Stories and Visual Timetables made and used prior to pupil starting in new setting.

Thoughts you think are relevant to impact on teaching

  • Staff have a wider understanding of the main areas affected in pupils on the autistic spectrum.
  • Staff made appropriate adjustments to enable pupils on the Autistic spectrum to access curriculum.
  • Individual needs of pupils on the autistic spectrum met through individualised learning program.
  • Teaching assistants taking initiative.
  • Teachers using strategies to support all children e.g. visual timetables and earlier transition meetings.

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Quotes you think are relevant to the impact on teaching

  • It was good that we could look at this together.
  • I feel much more confident about provision for pupils on the autism spectrum.
  • Now I understand why the visual timetables and photographs are so important.
  • I wondered why *** puts his hands over his ears sometimes, now I know.

Evidence of impact on teaching

  • Evidence from observation and monitoring
  • Teacher perceptions

Describe the evidence of impact on teaching

Staff self evaluation check lists show increased scores. Staff met pupils earlier and more often approaching transition.

Visual support materials available.  Staff have a wider understanding of the main areas affected in pupils on the autistic spectrum.

Staff made appropriate adjustments to enable pupils on the autism spectrum to access curriculum.

Individual needs of pupils on the autistic spectrum met through individualised learning program, minimal visual distractions, structure and routines of the day and personal space identified.

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What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?

  • Effective transition seen as a element for enabling well being and improving standards.
  • Transition dialogues begin earlier in academic year.
  • Key person role developed and identified earlier to parents and pupils to support transition.  
  • School leadership acknowledge the the Inclusion Development Programme provides useful CPD.

Thoughts you think are relevant to overall impact on school organisation and leadership

  • Transition planning for vulnerable pupils.
  • Value of the IDP for Pupils/Children on the Autism Spectrum as a whole school CPD tool.
  • Leadership use IDP to empower teachers/practitioners at the Quality First Teaching level.

Quotes you think are relevant to overall impact on school organisation and leadership

  • This is a great model for transition between classes.
  • It is important that vulnerable pupils work with the TA in the term before transition.

Evidence of impact on school organisation and leadership

  • Changes to transition.
  • Earlier meetings for transition within Foundation Stage.
  • Followed up with visits by staff to work with child in current setting.
  • Follow up CPD using IDP materials planned.

Summary

What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

  • Key person identified and working with pupil in Nursery.
  • IDP as a catalyst for change.
  • IDP as a CPD tool to give confidence and knowledge to staff.

What key resources would people who want to learn from your experience need access to?

IDP Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum

Sensory audit within the resources of the IDP

Behaviour check list within the IDP

Being included in the LA working group on the IDP Autism Spectrum and meeting and talking with colleagues from other schools through this

Seamless Transitions - supporting continuity in young children's learning http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/85135

Continuing the Learning Journey
http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/84402

What CPD session and resources were particularly useful?

Introduction to materials - a CPD session for all school staff using the Primary/Secondary IDP materials.  This meeting enabled all staff to consider their understanding of the Autism Spectrum and allowed the school to set priorities. http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/173574

Staff also used Self Evaluation Check list for the learner.  This enabled CPD to be then focussed and tailored.  Also allows impact to be shown at the end of the CPD process.

 

Sensory Audit - this was used by Foundation Staff to audit provision in nursery and reception and then adjust according to the child's needs. 

Being included in the LA working group on the IDP Autism Spectrum and meeting and talking with colleagues from other schools through this.

If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where would they start and what would the essential elements be?

As leader of CPD use the IDP resources and learn the materials yourself before you start.

Start with the self evaluation check list that is within the IDP resource.  

Plan CPD from the IDP units identified in the check list prioritising areas for development.  Or, as in this case, focus action/CPD on specific child/children.

If at all possible work with other schools.  This adds to the knowledge base and increases impetus to develop actions to conclusion.

Ensure it is part of the School Development Plan as this secures senior leadership commitment and dedicated CPD time.

What further developments are you planning to do (or would you like to see others do)?

We plan to use the materials with other teams across the school in more detail because we focused most on Foundation Stage in this work.  It will empower practitioners and support the learner on the journey through school.

Start the next phase of development with Unit 7 Curriculum Priorities and Inclusive Practice within the primary/secondary resource.

Date edited by author

Sat, 08/01/2011 - 13:47

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