Welcome to the Autism Teaching Facility (ATF)!
This September in the ASD unit we had the largest number of new starters that we have had in a very long time, with seven new pupils joining us from all around Carmarthenshire. With this in mind, we thought it would be nice to take you through the process of what happens when new pupils join us in one of the three ASD classes in Pwll CP School.
Slowly does it
Pupils usually begin by visiting their new school weeks in advance, accompanied by a parent/guardian, where they will take a tour of the school, meet their new teacher and explore the wide variety of fun and exciting toys and equipment we have to offer. This meeting provides parents with an opportunity to ask questions, receive important information and set their mind at ease about the big changes to come. This is also important for people with ASD, as they can often find a change of routine and unfamiliar places to be quite challenging. This approach means that both pupil and parent are comfortable, assured and confident about the future.
As well as this, when pupils join their class in September, they will start with what is called a ‘transition week’. This usually means that the student will only do a half day (either mornings or afternoons) during their first week, then on their second week they will gradually increase the amount of time they are in school, until their first full day on Friday. This process helps pupils get acquainted with their new surroundings, new staff and new friends at a pace that suits them.
So, what actually happens during those first few weeks? Well, our main goal is to show the new pupils just how fun, exciting and interesting their new school is, as well as introducing them to the staff member that’s working with them. We do this through a process that is called “pairing”. Basically, it involves staff members building positive relationships with pupils through the medium of play. To the untrained eye it may appear that Mrs. Griffiths has spent the last hour ‘just playing’ in the ball pool, but what she’s actually been doing is teaching the child she’s been with that she is a really fun person to be around and that hanging out with her is the best because they get to do all these exciting things.
By doing this, it means that in the future when it’s time to do some academic work, the pupils are happy to come and sit with us because we have spent time building that co-operation and fostering a positive relationship. But pairing doesn’t stop there! It is an ongoing process that is interwoven into everyday life at Pwll, whether we are on the playground, at the park or in class.
We spoke to some of the children in the ATF classes about what they think about their school and this is what they had this to say:
When asked what his favourite thing about Pwll School is, Romeo (ATF 3), who has been in the school for a while, said “My favourite thing about Pwll School is being in class with my friends”
We also spoke to Eli (ATF 3), who just started with us this September, and he told us “I’ve made loads of new friends here”
And finally, another new-starter - Archie (ATF 2) - had this to say: “Pwll School is my favourite school ever!”
Other news! - A trip to the Gower for Years 3 & 4
Y3/4 went on the bus to Pwll Du Bay in the Gower! It was a sunny day and we walked through the forest which was very slippery and bumpy so we had to be careful. We tasted some blackberries on our way, they were delicious! We got soil and water samples from the river, it was very cold! We had lunch and then we went to the beach and had a paddle in the sea. We walked up a steep hill to get back to the bus and as a treat we had some ice lollies! Everyone enjoyed!
News from Years 5&6