Excel is a low sensory open area with a comfy seating space, lift, toilets, office, classroom, life skills room, café area, separate playground and large open plan mezzanine. It also has a chill out room where students can go when they need a few moments to be on their own and relax or de-stress. The room has large bean bags in, plain walls, music and soft lighting is available to use. There are also a range of sensory toys and items, as well as a number of games, sports equipment and activities to use.
All of the students start their day together in Excel for registration. Here they complete their individual visual timetables, emotions scales, basic skills tasks (spelling, typing, reading or numeracy) or sensory circuits. They then discuss any changes to their daily plan with staff. This gives the students time to interact with each other and with staff. It also ensures that they are prepared for the day ahead. At break and lunch time Excel students get to integrate with mainstream students, if they wish, either in the main playgrounds, in Learning Support or in Excel. We also run a number of lunch-time activities and clubs to foster interaction between the students in Excel and also between the Excel students and others’ in the mainstream school. Clubs include gardening and sports. At the end of each day, students come back to Excel to review their day, discuss any issues and receive individual behaviour/reward points.
One of the main targets and achievements for the Excel provision is that all of the students in Excel follow the mainstream curriculum for 60-80% of their week. In order to do this, the students in Excel have 1-2-1 support for all of their mainstream lessons. When not in mainstream lessons, student in Excel also take part in a number lessons which focus on specific areas of difficulty for children with autism, such as; social communication, social interaction, emotional and sensory understanding, independent living skills and reading comprehension.