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ASD SRB Unit – Packham 

About us

Welcome to the ASD SRB webpage. We are a class of 10 children for pupils with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis (or who are on the ASD pathway) in key stage 1 and 2, who need specialist input to enable them to overcome barriers to accessing mainstream lessons. Our class is called Packham class after the famous Naturalist Chris Packham.  

An individual and gradual approach is taken to integrating the children into mainstream classes and they are assigned a main school classroom as well as the SRB classroom. The children benefit from a low stimulus work environment within the SRB which is attached to the main school and is a safe secure space divided into appropriate spaces such as chill out areas and learning environments adapted to the children’s needs. We access all areas of the main school including the playgrounds and outdoor spaces, halls and library. 

Why Apply

Applications should be made if the school-based interventions at a child’s home school are not proving effective in supporting their progress in line with their assessed ability. A higher ratio of adult to child staffing can support additional needs and provide interventions needed. Pupils are not required to have an EHCP (Education, Health, Care Plan) to join the SRB. 

How to apply

Schools can apply for a child to attend the SRB by completing the online referral form on the Norfolk Schools website: https://www.schools.norfolk.gov.uk/pupil-needs/special-educational-needs-and-disabilities/send-provision-services/specialist-resource-bases-srbs/make-a-referral. A panel meeting happens once every half-term to discuss suitability of a placement and to assign places should they be available.  

The first step in the application process is for the home school and the child’s parents to contact the SRB Lead Teacher (Miss Leach) to have a discussion and arrange an observation of the child in their home school. The home school will then be required to complete the SRB referral form by the deadline dates published on the Norfolk Schools website. Please note, a placement at an ASD base means the child moves on to the roll of the school; it is not a dual placement. 

Referrals and admissions to ASD bases are managed by a county wide admission process including half termly admission meetings. 

A discreet observation will then be made of the child in their home school before the panel date.  

Learners who access provision through the SRB will typically fit the following profile: 

  • Are in the age range appropriate to the SRB.  

  • Have a primary diagnosis of ASD, although related diagnoses could also be considered (irrespective of the terminology of the diagnosis the learner will exhibit significant difficulties in the triad of communication, socialisation and flexibility of thinking which hinder or prevent them from engaging in mainstream education) 

  • Are likely to hold an Education Health & Care Plan, but this is not necessary for placement 

  • May have emerging or unmet social, emotional and/or mental health needs in addition to ASD and will not be the main need.  

  • Have the underlying cognitive ability to access a mainstream school curriculum once barriers to learning have been addressed 

  • Would not usually meet the criteria for a complex needs school 

  • Have high levels of anxiety related to confusion and/or fear of what is happening in the immediate environment such that the ability to learn is severely compromised 

  • Have extreme difficulties in the understanding and acceptance of age-appropriate social rules governing, for example, turn-taking, collaborative activities and the sharing of adult attention 

  • Have a lack of awareness, to a greater or lesser extent, or even apparent disregard of personal safety and that of others 

  • Experience considerable, persistent and pervasive problems in establishing and sustaining relationships with peers 

  • The absence of other primary reasons or causes for these difficulties 

Our Staff

Our SRB is Led by Miss Leach, who is supported by Mrs Hearmon, Mrs James and Mrs Rosier.

Cornelia Leach
SRB Lead,
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead,
Norfolk Steps Lead Professional
 
Lorraine Hearmon
SRB Higher Level Teaching Assistant
 
Nicky Rosier
​​​​​​
SRB Teaching Assistant
 
Debbie James
SRB Teaching Assistant, Norfolk Steps Assistant Lead Professional
 

All staff in the SRB have a vast amount of experience in working with children who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder and have undertaken additional training to support their role. Miss Leach is a qualified SENDCo and all staff have specific ASD qualifications; Step On and Step Up training to de-escalate behaviours; training about emotional literacy, mental health and self-harm, anxieties, Social Stories, Zones of Regulations and more.  

All staff at the Nelson Academy have regular training on the Equality Act 2010. This legislation places specific duties on schools, settings and providers including the duty not to discriminate, harass or victimise a child or adult linked to a protected characteristic defined in the Equality Act and to make ‘reasonable adjustments.’  

The Equality Act 210 definition of disability is:  

“A person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if (s)he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to day activities.”  

Section 1(1) Disability Discrimination Act 1995  

This definition of disability in the Equality Act includes children with long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Children and young people may therefore be covered by both SEN and disability legislation.  

For more information about the Equality Act, the protected characteristics or duties on public bodies, please click here www.gov.uk/equality-act-2010-guidance.  

 

Timetable

Pupils arrive in school at 8.45am. 

The day starts with sensory circuits and morning work to get the children ready for the day ahead. At break time we have both time outdoors and indoors to play as well as snack time. The day school day finishes at 3.15pm. We have sensory breaks throughout the day which have been designed with an Occupational Therapist to give our children the correct level of sensory stimulus throughout the day. Children will also have individual timetables that sets out their time in their main school class and their individual interventions and support. 

Our SRB staff and main school teachers will use various strategies to adapt children’s access to the curriculum, this might include using:  

  • Visual timetables  

  • Writing frames  

  • I-pads, laptops or other alternative recording devices  

  • Clicker 7  

  • Tracking and supporting pupils on Norfolk Assessment Pathways (NAP)  

  • Peer buddy systems  

  • Positive behaviour rewards system.  

  • Dojo Points.  

  • Zones of regulation.  

Each learner identified as having SEND and in the SRB, is entitled to support that is ‘additional to or different from’ a normal differentiated curriculum. The type of support is dependent on the individual learning needs, and is intended to enable access to learning and overcome the barrier to learning identified.  

SRB Curriculum

In the SRB we follow the Nelson Curriculum the same as the main school, and we make adaptations to ensure the needs of the children are met as well as making academic progress. We include; social and emotional development though extended SEMH sessions and sensory activities to support self-regulation such as sensory circuits. The timetable is also adapted to give appropriate sensory breaks and small group interventions. 

As a class, we try to join in with the mainstream school as much as possible. We engage with whole school activities, as well as encourage staff and students to come to visit the SRB and see the work that goes on.  

All learners should have the same opportunity to access extra-curricular activities. At Nelson Academy in 2022-23 we are offering a range of additional clubs and activities. These can be found on our school website available here. 

 

Interventions

 

What is Forest School?

Forest Schools is a brand of learning that has a wide range of benefits. In the forest school philosophy, children interact with a natural landscape and each other to learn social and technical skills. There is a big focus on developing confidence, self-esteem, and independence. 

What are the key skills that it promotes?

Many, although not all, of the key skills developed by forest school can be linked to personal and social development. The main skill sets are the following:

  • Discipline
  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • A positive mental attitude
  • Self-esteem
  • Teamwork
  • Independence
  • Confidence

What are its other benefits?

  • Children learn how to live a healthy lifestyle
  • They form excellent relationships with others
  • They develop their speaking and communication skills at an accelerated rate
  • They learn to manage risks

  • They learn about the environment
  • They understand features of nature
  •  

What is Lego Therapy?

Lego-based therapy is an evidence-based approach that aims to develop social communication skills in autistic children, such as sharing, turn-taking, following rules, using names and problem-solving. Lego therapy interventions can be an option for children who have difficulties with:

  • Communication and language
  • Social skills e.g making friends
  • Expressing how they feel
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Sticking to a task
  • Teamwork
  • Fine motor skills
  • Understanding and following instructions.

Many benefits can be brought into the lives of young people and children through Lego therapy interventions, including:

  • Communicate with others effectively 
  • Use improved social skills 
  • Solve problems using different strategies
  • Identify and discuss their feelings
  • Persevere and be resilient when something isn’t achieved first time
  • Use improved fine motor skills
  • Understand and follow instructions
  • Work as part of a team
  • Effectively use spatial, visual, and analytical skills

In practice, children work in groups of three with each participant having a distinct role to build a Lego model collaboratively: 

  • Engineers use the Lego instructions and ask the Supplier for the specific pieces of Lego needed.
  • Suppliers gives the Builder the pieces.
  • Builders follow the building instructions from the Engineer to construct the model.  

 

What is Emotional Literacy?

Emotional literacy is a developed awareness and understanding of our own and others' emotions. This guides our thinking and is expressed in our communication and behaviour. Emotional self-awareness is the ability to know ourselves and understand our own feelings.

Teaching emotional literacy is important for developing self-confidence, for boosting self-esteem, for social and emotional development and for encouraging emotional self-management over impulse reactions. Developing emotional literacy aids a child's mental health as well as physical health as both are inextricably linked. There will always be pupils in school facing life challenges that affect their ability to engage with learning and some will require greater support than others to increase their emotional literacy. Emotional literacy support is an intervention programme, designed to support the emotional needs of pupils in school. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.

 

What is an ELSA and what is their role?

An Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) is a specialist teaching assistant who has attended a full ELSA training course delivered by one or more fully qualified educational psychologists. They are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils in school who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs, for example: anxiety, low self-esteem, reduced social or friendship skills, anger management, loss, or bereavement. Sessions are fun and we use a range of activities such as games, role-play with puppets or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness or arts and craft. We are not here to fix pupils' problems but what we can do is provide emotional support. We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they can share honestly, their thoughts and feelings.

 

What are Life Skills?

Certain skills may be relevant to you depending on your life circumstances, your culture, beliefs, age, geographic location, etc. However, in 1999, the World Health Organization identified six key areas of life skills:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills. This broadly describes the skills needed to get on and work with other people, and particularly to transfer and receive messages either in writing or verbally.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving. This describes the skills required to understand problems, find solutions to them, alone or with others, and then take action to address them.
  • Creative thinking and critical thinking. This describes the ability to think in different and unusual ways about problems, and find new solutions, or generate new ideas, coupled with the ability to assess information carefully and understand its relevance.
  • Self-awareness and empathy, which are two key parts of emotional intelligence. They describe understanding yourself and being able to feel for other people as if their experiences were happening to you.
  • Assertiveness and equanimity, or self-control. These describe the skills needed to stand up for yourself and other people and remain calm even in the face of considerable provocation.
  • Resilience and ability to cope with problems, which describes the ability to recover from setbacks, and treat them as opportunities to learn, or simply experiences.

The term ‘Life Skills’ refers to the skills you need to make the most out of life. Any skill that is useful in your life can be considered a life skill. Tying your shoelaces, swimming, driving a car and using a computer are, for most people, useful life skills. Broadly speaking, the term ‘life skills’ is usually used for any of the skills needed to deal well and effectively with the challenges of life.

Life Skills we cover include:

  • How to make a sandwich
  • How to tie our shoelaces
  • Trying different foods
  • Basic First Aid
  • How to look after our personal hygiene
  • Road safety
  • Budgeting
  • How to follow a recipe

 

What is Sensory Processing and how is it supported?

Sensory Integration is the process by which the brain receives, organises, and processes all the information received from the senses. The senses include touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, body position and movement (proprioception) and balance/position against gravity (vestibular). The information received from these senses help us to make sense of the world. Effective sensory integration and processing enables us to respond appropriately to different stimuli in our environment and informs our everyday functioning. An inability to effectively process, organise and correctly interpret sensory information is known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Children with SPD may find functional daily activities challenging. The severity of these difficulties can vary greatly.

If a child is having difficulties with sensory processing, we may see: 
  • A child who doesn’t like to be touched by others 
  • A child who refuses to engage in messy play 
  • A child who appears constantly anxious 
  • A child who is half asleep, needs to be prompted to engage in a task 
  • A child who avoids moving, climbing, swinging, or sliding 
  • A child who puts their hands over their ears and complains of noise 
  • A child who becomes easily overly excited 
  • A rigid, stiff, and tense child
  • A child who must always touch objects, people, constantly fiddles 
  • A child wh can’t sit still and constantly fidgets A child who likes to run around.

 

Such behavioural clues can indicate that a child is not fully ready for learning. This is where sensory circuits can help. 

 

What is a Sensory Circuit?

A sensory circuit is a form of sensory integration intervention. It involves a sequence of physical activities that are designed to alertorganise, and calm the child. The sensory circuit aims to facilitate sensory processing to help children regulate and organise their senses to achieve the ‘just right’ or optimum level of alertness required for effective learning. The circuit should be an active, physical, and fun activity that children enjoy doing. Sensory circuits are a great way to both energise and settle children so they can focus and engage better in the classroom. Many children can benefit from attending a sensory circuit, even for a short period of time. The activities can also be utilised at different times of the day as part of a sensory diet to help the child regulate.

Sensory circuits are designed to start with alerting activities, move to an organising phase and then finally to a calming phase. Doing the activities in the recommended order is vital. The right order results in a well-regulated, happy child. The wrong order may well result in a dysregulated, upset, or irritable child and have the opposite effect.

Alerting

The aim of this section is to provide vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation within a controlled setting. This prepares the brain for learning and the demands of the school environment. Example activities: Jumping/bouncing on a trampoline, skipping, running, rolling, and bouncing on a yoga ball, animal walks, step ups, star jumps etc.

Organising

This section includes activities that require motor sensory processing, balance, and timing. These activities help improve focus and attention. The child needs to organise their body, plan their approach and do more than one thing at a time in sequential order. Example activities: Balancing, climbing, log rolls, throwing to a target, wobble boards, weaving in and out of cones, throwing and catching, jumping through hoops etc.

Calming

The calming activities are very important as they provide input to ensure that children leave the circuit and return to their classrooms calm, centred and ready for the day ahead. Example activities: Proprioceptive and deep pressure e.g., yoga ball squashes, lying under a weighted blanket, massage arms/legs, linear swinging or rocking, heavy muscle work e.g., crawling through a tunnel, press ups etc.

For most effective outcomes, sensory circuits should be completed on a regular basis. Ideally, the circuit will take no more than 15-20 minutes. The children should spend up to 5 minutes in each section performing the different activities. 

It is important to consider that each child’s needs and tolerance levels are different. Some children may need more time in the alerting or calming sections to enable them to be more organised and prepared for the day’s learning. Children should be encouraged but not forced to participate in the circuit and must always be supervised.

 

Swimming

Many children with autism are drawn to water for its calming, sensory experience. In fact, a 2015 study found that children with ASD enjoy swimming significantly more than children without ASD. And while water can present a safety concern, water play and swimming also offer several benefits for children with ASD.

  • Leisure skills
  • Physical health
  • Creativity and imaginary play
  • Social time
  • Learning to be safe in the water and around it
  • Supports SPD
  • Helps to moderate levels of excitement or anxiety

Transition

Transition is a part of life for all learners. This can be transition to the SRB, a new class in school, having a new teacher, or moving on to another school. Nelson Academy is committed to working in partnership with children, families and other providers to ensure positive transitions occur. Planning for transition is a part of our provision for all learners with SEN.  Transitions will be discussed with parents, children and staff. Transition to secondary school will be discussed in the summer term of Year 5 to ensure there is time to plan and prepare.  

SRB Network

The Lead Teacher from Packham class attends the ASD SRB network meetings to liaise and share best practice with professionals working within similar settings and specialist provision. As part of this network, all staff working within the SRB can access specialist training. We have a specialist partner that comes in to support staff, observe and provide additional training as well as a designated Educational Psychologist and EHCP Coordinator. Please see the Norfolk site for further information: www.norfolk.gov.uk/srbs  

At Nelson Academy SRB, we are committed to working together with all members of our school community. Our SRB offer has been produced with pupils, parents/carers, governors, and members of staff. We welcome your feedback and future involvement in the review of our offer, so please do contact us.  

Parent Testimonials 

Read what our parents, past and present, have to say about the SRB and its staff. 

"The team at SRB have helped my daughter so much already, from settling sessions to knowing her triggers and being there for her. I can’t wait for her to start on her journey in September as I know now she is being understood and can’t wait to see her flourish! One word - amazing!"

"Being the parent of a child with ASD and school related anxiety, it can be hard to visualise how a setting will help them flourish, but the Nelson SRB team are nothing short of amazing! They are knowledgeable, understanding and compassionate in their approach to supporting the different needs of children with ASD. They take the time to listen to parents and work hard to build a caring and trusting relationship with not only the child but also with their family, creating a safe space for them to grow and learn and get the best from their education. The support my son has received has been second to none, I cannot fault the staff and I know he will miss them all dearly now he's moving on to high school." 

“Here’s my hand for a lifetime and a piece of my heart too, I wouldn’t have made it through year 6 without the help of you.”

“Thank you for all the help and support you have given to us over the last year. I will be forever grateful for your kindness, compassion, and the difference you have made to my child’s life. He is leaving Nelson Academy a kind, happy, confident child who is 100% ready to take on his next chapter. Thank you for the role you have played in getting him there, we wouldn’t have done it without you.”

“Thank you for all the help and support you have given to us over the last year. I will be forever grateful for your kindness, compassion, and the difference you have made to my child’s life. He is leaving Nelson Academy a kind, happy, confident child who is 100% ready to take on his next chapter. Thank you for the role you have played in getting him there, we wouldn’t have done it without you.”

“All the team in Packham are amazing. Heartfelt thanks for helping, guiding, supporting and just ‘being there’ for M over the years. You have made it possible for him to enjoy school and education again.”

“This class was the class where I met my first friends. The class where I was accepted for who I am.

“The team at the SRB have helped my daughter so much, from settling sessions, to knowing her triggers and being there for her. I can’t wait for her to start her journey in the SRB as I know she is being understood and can’t wait to see her flourish! One word AMAZING!”

“Being the parent of a child with ASD and school related anxiety, it can be hard to visualise how a setting will help them flourish, but the Nelson SRB team are nothing short of amazing! They are knowledgeable. Understanding, compassionate in their approach to supporting the needs of children with ASD. They take the time to listen to parents and work hard to build a caring and trusting relationship with not only the child but also their family, creating a safe space for them to grow and learn and get the best from their education. The support my son has received has been second to none, I cannot fault the staff and I know he will miss them dearly now he is moving onto high school.”

"My daughter was a school refuser with extreme anxiety before she transferred to the SRB. She is now happy and confident, surrounded by staff who know just how to support her, her class mates and the parents. The change is incredible and we as a family owe all who work at the SRB so much for everything they have achieved in such a short time."

"The support we have received is amazing. The children have jumped leaps and bounds and I cannot fault the SRB staff. The confidence and changes I see in my child now compared to when he first started at the SRB over three years ago is amazing and that’s all thanks to the staff for showing him that anything is possible."

"My daughter has only recently started at the SRB, but within 3 weeks of being there she now loves school and her confidence is growing. She feels able to say how she is feeling and accesses the sensory room and quiet areas when needed. The communication between me and the SRB staff is outstanding. Nothing is too much for them and they always put the needs of the children first. I can honestly say this is the first time in six years that my daughter is fully supported, understood and listened to. Her school experience has been changed for the better."

"Since starting in the SRB, my child has progressed massively in confidence in their own work and is now completing work which before we had never seen. The staff are very caring and nurturing, helping my child to learn in ways which a purely mainstream school is unable to accommodate."

"The SRB helps us in the way we need it and I feel calm and supported."

"The SRB has helped me to enjoy school and make friends. It is a safe place to be."

"The SRB is smaller and helps me to focus, there’s more staff so I can have help in the big school too so I don’t miss out."

Should you wish for any further information, please contact Miss Leach on 01366 383824 or via email cornelia.leach@nla.eastern-mat.co.uk

If you have specific questions about the Norfolk Local Offer please look at the Frequently Asked Questions by clicking here https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/children- and-families/send-local-offer