The Ocean Centre is made up of 2 classes, Atlantic (Reception Class and KS1) and Pacific (KS2). Each class has a capacity of 8 children and all children should have a statement of autism before gaining a place in the centre. Applications to the Ocean Centre can only be made through the SEND department at the Local Authority and not through the school.
Each class has a class teacher and at least 2 teaching assistants. The centre leader has taught in a mainstream school and a special school specifically for children with autism and the majority of staff have experience of working with children with autism in previous posts. All staff receive training on managing and supporting children with autism.
Children are taught all the subjects they would learn in a mainstream setting. All lessons are differentiated to suit their needs. Language and social skills are addressed in every lesson e.g. getting children to ask or request paintbrushes, turn taking, as well as life skills such as getting dressed using cutlery and road safety.
Integration programmes are devised by the centre leader each half term. The number of sessions children attend in the mainstream school depends on their needs and abilities. A member of staff from the Ocean Centre supports children in the mainstream school.
Speech and Occupational Therapists work with individual and groups of children and class staff continue this work throughout the week.
At lunchtime children are settled into the hall by their class teachers who stay with them for 5 minutes. If children are not managing in the dinner hall they are able to have lunch in the Ocean Centre. There are two lunchtime supervisors who look after our children. They can spend their playtime in the Ocean Centre garden or spend sessions in the mainstream playground. A class teacher joins the garden at 1 p.m. and stays with the children for 15 minutes helping them tidy up and calm down for class.
Coffee mornings occur once a half-term. A topic is discussed each session followed by a less formal discussion between parents.