The Interactive Base (IB) provides an appropriate learning environment for learners with complex learning difficulties and disabilities (CLDD). The aim of the IB is to provide a stimulating, engaging and sensory curriculum that is both broad and balanced. The IB groups offer a base for their learners which provides routine, consistent specialist staffing and encourages independence and communication.
The pupils within the IB are grouped in classes which may go across age groups and sometimes Key Stages to best meet their needs. However this is done, the staff within the IB groups ensure that they quickly develop a comprehensive knowledge of the young people. The knowledge gained can arrive from a variety of areas both within the Group and from outside agencies. It is important that this information is shared and reviewed with everyone who comes into contact with the young people. Therefore within each class base the staff produce a document, ‘All About Me’, for each pupil. These are displayed within the pupils’ room and ensure this important information is always to hand. ‘All About Me’ includes information relating to learning styles, likes and dislikes, emotions, positioning and specialist equipment as well as recommendations from a young person’s individual care plans such as feeding and swallowing, speech and language, physiotherapy, behaviour, personal care and medical needs. This information also ensures the relevant training for staff is in place to cater for all the pupils’ needs, whether medical or educational.
Due to the learners’ needs, it is imperative that excellent communication is maintained with their parents and carers. Home/School books are used precisely for this reason to ensure that we can communicate on a day-to-day basis regarding a young person’s health, engagement and interests.
Within the IB we encourage communication, independence and choice making at whatever level the pupil is working at. All learners are treated as intentional communicators. Intentional communication can be in the form of vocalising, eye contact, a gesture, shiver, cough or laugh, signing, the exchange of an object or symbol as well as dropping or grabbing of an object. This list is not exhaustive and as every young person is an individual, we make sure that we ‘tune in’ to each of our learners to encourage and extend their own communication strategies.
The curriculum is the medium through which learning experiences are matched to a child’s individual needs. Within the IB groups opportunities for learning are planned, focused and responsive to needs of the pupils. There are a variety of ways for the pupils to encounter the curriculum. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps. The pupils learn across a range of levels and for most, we will be looking at how they engage, respond and communicate. However, for some pupils our focus will be on skills more relevant to the individual subjects. As such, within the IB groups pupils receive part of the curriculum offer within their base and part of it within the main body of the school or Learning Centre. This ensures that the staff with the most appropriate experience and expertise deliver the pupils’ learning and that opportunities for social interaction with other pupils are included. If deemed appropriate, a young person may access more of their curriculum within the main body of school and access bespoke sessions in the IB.
Each young person is offered a core curriculum which ensures that skills in English, Maths, ICT and Living Skills are incorporated. The curriculum also offers an extensive range of experiences including:
- sensory cooking/food technology sessions
- body awareness, sensory massage and Sherborne
- Drama therapy
- Physical Education (gross motor, fine motor, personal programmes, Outdoor Education, rebound therapy, hydrotherapy, swimming)
- community engagement
- Creative Arts
Throughout the timetable, staff facilitate opportunities for standing, walking, seating changes and physical movement in order to promote physical well-being.
In Key Stages 4 and 5 pupils are able to access increased variety in their learning through their Options choices. In order for the young people to access the most suitable and engaging options, close communication between parents and carers and staff is ensured.
The Interactive Bases are all about bespoke opportunities for our young people to interact, engage, experience and learn whilst having FUN!