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Darley Dene Primary School

Our LAN Centre (Owls)

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

Owls class is our Language and Additional Needs Centre for 12 children aged between 4 and 7 years old. Owls is funded by the local authority and provides an alternative to a special school for those pupils with SEND who are unable to fully integrate into mainstream classes due to the extent of their developmental needs but who may benefit from inclusion in a mainstream class with high-level support. The Centre is able to provide a unique curriculum designed to integrate different elements of communication support (PECs, Makaton) as well as Speech and Language Therapy, Occupation Therapy, specialist music teaching and activities such as horse riding and cooking.

The LEA’s purpose in providing this alternative provision is to explore the potential of each pupil for mainstream inclusion and to prepare for 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 learning and health needs which defy easy categorisation, although language and learning needs are common to all.

Owls class is led by a class teacher as are all the other classes in school. Alongside this teacher there is an extensive team of support staff giving a ratio of 1 adult to every 2 children. In order to meet the LEA’s admissions criteria, children have to have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and the high level of support staff ensures we can meet the individualised targets that are written into these plans. The centre is overseen by the Inclusion Leader and the Headteacher.

You can take a read of our weekly teaching and learning summary to find out what our children have been getting up to through stimulating and engaging activities. Please click on 'Teaching and Learning Weekly Summary' in the right hand side menu or click here to find out more.

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 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