In September 2013 Queensmill opened a secondary inclusion unit at Fulham College Boys School.
The unit contains students primarily from Queensmill and our unit at Fulham Primary but also students who have entered in Year 7 from other primary schools in Hammersmith and Fulham who are served by our Primary Outreach worker.
As with the model set up at Fulham Primary School, students in the unit remain on the roll of Queensmill. All staff at Q4@FCB are Queensmill staff, and led by a Queensmill Deputy Headteacher. Queensmill staff continually trains and works collaboratively with all FCB staff in autism and work with FCB students throughout the school year to help them to understand the challenges faces by our students by their autism.
Pupils learn to become more independent learners within a mainstream setting with the support of structured routines and activities throughout the school day. These are clearly presented to pupils at their level of reading and understanding, using visual learning supports where it is beneficial to the learner.
At the most recent Ofsted inspection in 2015 it was reported that at Fulham College boys:
“The School keeps students safe. Students behave well in lessons and around the school. This helps them learn well.
Students achieve well over time. Students with different needs are well supported. Attainment in vocational subjects is high.”
The two schools work harmoniously together to create a fantastic environment for students with autism that enables them to work on a mainstream site and have access to an autism-specific base whilst they still need it.
Pupils gain access to individualised sensory integration programs, helping them to independently achieve a calm and alert state throughout the school day. They have regular sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist, class teachers are also advised by an Occupational Therapist. This multi-disciplinary approach provides a rich and varied curriculum for pupils within the unit and provides opportunities for students to focus on learning a range of independent skills. Pupils also have the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular lessons such as gardening and yoga.
There is a high adult: child ratio to encourage pupils to make high levels of progress and to support individuals within mainstream inclusion lessons. We have a brilliant partnership between the Queensmill unit staff and the Fulham Cross teachers which has enabled pupils to feel prepared and supported throughout all learning experiences. The amount of mainstream inclusion that is accessed in individual for each pupil, depending on their interests, ability and learning style.
FCB also has a Studio School, whose students focus on learning the skills needed for the building and performing arts trade. It therefore made great sense to employ the students from the Studio School to re-furbish and redecorate the rooms allocated to the unit. These are within the building where the music, ICT and art departments are housed, and comprise 2 large classrooms, one lobby, one staff room, one additional area that will be used as a sensory room and student toilets.
We are very excited by the successes of the current Q4 students and know that their experiences and opinions will help shape the unit and inclusion further. The future of these young people is exciting with planning and consultation under way to decide how best to use the FCB Studio School to create an enriching and vocational KS4 curriculum.