Read the review of the evening
Allocation of places
Linden Bridge is an autism-specific school in Worcester Park, with 120
pupils from 4 to 19. There are approximately four times as many
children wanting places as can be taken, and the decision about who is
offered a place is taken by a panel of professionals. As well as the
headteachers, the panel can include a psychologist, speech and language
therapist, education officer, care officer and Partnership with Parents
representative. They read all the reports about each pupil, and the
children who have Linden Bridge as their first choice will have been
seen by the school staff. The panel decides which children's needs can
best be met by each school.
Linden Bridge has separate primary, secondary, and 16+ provision, and
they follow mainstream school procedures and curriculum as much as they
can. So in the primary department pupils stay in the same classroom,
whilst in secondary they learn to move from room to room for different
subjects. Each class has 8 pupils who will all have their own targets,
which could be the same as a mainstream child for some subjects, but in
others a 10 year old pupil might be working to the national curriculum
targets for a 5 year old. The curriculum also covers the child's social
and communication needs, teaching skills such as eye contact, waiting,
and tolerance of others. The children enjoy subjects such as music, art
and cookery as well.
The school uses a variety of approaches to teach
their pupils, including one to one teaching and small group work,
Makaton signing, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), speech
and language therapy and the TEACCH programme (Treatment &
Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped
TEACCH is a system which uses structure to lessen difficult behaviour
and improve learning. This covers the pupil's environment, timetable
and workplace and helps by making life more predictable for the child
and therefore less stressful. For instance, at home a child may
understand that you are likely to get food in a kitchen or have a bath
in the bathroom, but in a classroom things are not as predictable.
Using picture timetables and prompts, working areas without
distractions, and systems such as always putting work to be done in the
same place, reduces stress and enables the pupil to be more independent.
The Further Education (16+) department is temporarily in two
three-bedroom houses at the edge of the school site but by the end of
the year it will have its own purpose-built rooms. There will also be
new boarding facilities on site. The school currently has 25 beds for
boarders, some of whom stay all week and others stay for 2 nights. The
overnight stays are for educational purposes, although they also enable
the family to have some respite. If pupils are particularly able in a
subject they can attend GCSE classes at a nearby mainstream school.
They are always accompanied by a member of staff from Linden Bridge.
One pupil, having taken GCSE and A level music in this way has since
achieved a degree in music and is now working as an organist. Ronwen
ended her talk by reassuring parents that things do get easier as the
children grow up and they develop and mature.
Listen to RealAudio recording
- Introduction; Ronwen Smith's background. History of Linden Bridge School; Current position regarding school numbers;. Length 4 minutes 13 seconds.
- Admissions Process; Panels; Dilemmas; Viable Class Groups;. Length 5 minutes 29 seconds.
- Boarding Provision; The school buildings; The Primary Department; The Secondary Department; The Further Education Department;. Length 7 minutes 6 seconds.
- The Curriculum; Academic Targets; Music; Integration with Mainstream and College; Life Skills;. Length: 5 minutes 58 seconds.
- Art; Home Economics; Computers and I.T.; P.E.; Numeracy Strategy; Length: 4 minutes 17 seconds.
Communication: Signing, Symbols, TEACCH, PECS; Classroom Routines and
Structure; One-to-one; Small Groups; Speech and Language Therapy;
Information Boards; Importance of Group Work; Sequencing and Rewards; Length: 7 minutes 26 seconds.