The pupils in Chimes have difficulties accessing the classroom and group learning for a variety of reasons including anxiety, self-regulation, social communication and sensory processing. These pupils require a bespoke approach to their learning and time in school.
The aim of the Chimes provision is to provide a safe space where pupils can access an engaging, creative, and bespoke curriculum, linked to individual needs, targets and their EHCP. To provide a developmental culture fuelled by high aspirations, orbiting a communicative core that will prepare our young people for adulthood.
In Chimes, we deliver a bespoke programme for all pupils based on their needs and interests with the EHCP at the centre. The overall purpose of the curriculum is to prepare pupils for adulthood through a positive and supportive framework. Families are also supported, and strong pastoral care is provided to help improve the outcomes of our young people.
Prior to starting at Dawn House School, families and core team staff are invited to a placement meeting to discuss the needs of the child. This is particularly important as many have suffered adverse childhood experiences such as trauma and have failed in one or more educational settings. Families have the chance to share likes and dislikes and help the core team to have an overview of what is important for and important to the child prior to starting school.
All pupils have support from Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and the Wellbeing Team. Therapy input looks different for each pupil, depending on their need. The Therapy Team use a prioritisation document which helps to identify individual need on a half-termly basis. At any given time, a student may receive direct 1:1 or small group SLT, OT or Wellbeing input. All pupils in Chimes also receive embedded and indirect Speech and Language Therapy and Wellbeing Input.
In Chimes we aim to enable the pupils to access education in a sensory rich and nurturing, focused environment which promotes regular movement, play and an interactive approach to learning. This enables pupils to regulate their sensory systems appropriately to ensure they are in a calm yet alert state helping them to access their education.
Staff also consistently use interventions and resources such as: visual timetables, the Zones of Regulation, consistent staffing, a safe space and regular home-school communication to maximise therapeutic provision. The structure and routine that this provides will allow the key building blocks to promote self-regulation when in and out of the school environment.
The Learner Mentor plays an integral role in the transition of students to Chimes. This includes attending placement meetings to gain better understanding of the student, to agree the transition plan. Following this the Learner Mentor works with the Lead Practitioner in Chimes to produce a personalised timetable, coordinates (and matches) staff according to individual needs and skills. Once the student starts attending Chimes, the Learner Mentor is the main staff member to meet and greet the student and ensure that they are emotionally regulated in order to access their provision. Many of our students benefit from a lengthy transition and as part of this, the Learner Mentor offer a Zoom session weekly for students who are not in school full-time where this can be managed. Once the student is well-established in their Chimes routine, the Learner Mentor sets targets and a provision plan to support their wellbeing and enable them to fulfil their potential. The learner Mentor works closely within the wellbeing team yet is “on the ground” and therefore better able to react to lapses in the student’s wellbeing in a timely manner. This could be anything from de-escalation from a trusted staff member to a more in-depth targeted intervention plan.
The Learner Mentor, combined with the Chimes Core Team, makes wellbeing referrals as and when needed. These are escalated to the Wellbeing Team and discussed in Wellbeing team meetings. Following this, an appropriate provision is planned and co-ordinated to fit within the student’s personalised timetable.