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Darley Dene Primary School

Our LAN Unit (Owls)

We are proud to have Owls class as part of our school.

Owls is an LEA funded Infant LAN (Learning and Additional Needs) Centre and provides an alternative to a special school for those pupils with SEN who are unable to fully integrate into mainstream classes due to the extent of their developmental difficulties but who may benefit from some inclusion in a mainstream class together with daily social interaction, with appropriate support. The Centre is able to provide different elements of communication (PECs, Makaton) as well as Speech and Language Therapy, Occupation Therapy (where appropriate), specialist music teaching and riding for the disabled. An Educational Psychologist is attached to the school to work with the staff as required.

The LEA’s purpose in providing this alternative is to explore the potential of each pupil for mainstream inclusion and to prepare a smooth transition beyond the early years to the most appropriate educational setting. Since the Centre was established, many of the pupils have significantly more complex needs, which defy easy categorisation, although language and learning difficulties are common to all.

Admission Criteria

The Centre can admit 12 pupils aged between Reception school age and Year 2. The Centre provides for further assessment of each pupil’s needs, therefore the admission criteria are broad rather than prescriptive.

Pupils already present with:

  • Globally delayed development (usually around 2 years delayed at reception age)
  • Commensurate or greater delay in language development.
  • Difficulties in self-help and motor skills.

The Centre does not specifically provide for pupils with autism, although it is recognised that pupils admitted may have an impairment of social or communication skills at the mild end of the autistic continuum. The staff in Owls use strategies that are helpful to such pupils. Outreach can be accessed from Freemantles, the local school for pupils with autism.

Some of the pupils present with medical difficulties such as epilepsy or more complex syndromes and training is accessed when appropriate to meet the medical needs of these pupils.

Our Facilities

The Centre provision consists of a single classroom area and a separate enclosed garden, a therapy room and a sensory room. A qualified teacher with an background leads the resource with a team of special needs assistants. Where appropriate, the staff enable the children to join specific lessons within the mainstream classes.

The Owls’ classroom is part of the main school building. It has a well equipped classroom and a large all weather outside area. It has its own washing and toilet area to meet the needs of pupils who require support with self help.

Darley Dene Primary School