Kensington Queensmill School
Kensington Queensmill School opened in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in September 2021. Kensington Queensmill meets the needs of children and young people aged 2-19 years, who have ASC or Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). When full, the school will provide provision for a total of up to 80 pupils. All pupils at the school will have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for their commitment to providing the best for local children and young people with autism and severe learning difficulties. We are thrilled at the opportunity to extend our resources and practice to a wider group of children who have sought places at Queensmill but haven’t been able to secure a place. We very much look forward to working collaboratively with the local community, not least our new neighbours at the existing Barlby Primary School.
The main site Askham Road accommodates students with moderate to complex autism from 3-19. Purpose-built for children and young people on the autism spectrum, the site is designed to deliver a spacious, low-arousal learning environment that: ‘minimises unwanted distractions of noise and colour and this contributes very well to the relaxed environment in which the pupils learn,’ (Ofsted 2014).
The early years setting is situated on the first floor and comprises four classrooms and dedicated early years play area. Children are taught in class sizes of up to nine children and typically supported by a teacher and four or five teaching assistants. Children are admitted to the school after a diagnosis of autism as early as three years old and most make excellent progress as a result of highly committed, experienced staff, well-versed in core interventions such as TEACCH, PECS and Sensory Integration approaches.
The primary and secondary departments are based on the ground floor. The primary phase comprises six classrooms, organised according to TEACCH principles and accommodating sensory integration areas within each room. Each classroom has immediate access to outside play areas. Primary classes are typically organised into groups of up to nine children and a team of five teaching staff. In addition to opportunities for a sensory circuit within the classroom, children have access to a multi-sensory suite: wet play, soft play, audio-visual and sensory integration rooms on the first floor. High staff ratios enable individual children or small groups to access these therapeutic and stimulating resources to undertake specifically designed sensory or communication programmes overseen by qualified occupational and speech and language therapists.
The secondary phase consists of seven classrooms and is also based on the ground floor. The majority of rooms have immediate access to outside spaces and a short distance to the multi-sensory suite. With a strong focus on functional independence and life-skills, students are frequently in their immediate Shepherds Bush community as an integral part of their learning.
On the top floor of the building is dining room, training area and staff offices. Meals are freshly-prepared each day by our award-winning chef and students have access to two low-arousal dining areas in which to have their meals. Queensmill School is fortunate to have four directly employed-occupational therapists based on site and accommodates a further eight LA employed therapy colleagues on the second floor. With this level of expertise, we are committed to and take pleasure in hosting, a number of training workshops and events for staff, professionals and parent/carers.
Please watch the video below to see more of what happens at the main site at Askham Road.
The pupils while remaining on the Queensmill School roll are educated full time in FPQU.
Fulham Primary Queensmill Unit (FPQU) is comprised of three Queensmill autism specific classes and is based in Fulham Primary School “an inclusive, positive and caring climate for learning where each pupil is treated as an individual.” (Ofsted September 2012)
Each class has the capacity for 10 students and the classes are spread across the school and situated adjacent to their link mainstream class. Each unit class is staffed by a teacher and four teaching assistants all of whom are trained in autism approaches and strategies by Queensmill (QS) and monitored by senior QS staff.
While the classrooms are designed to support the very specific learning needs of students on the autism spectrum, with visual supports, areas for work stations and sensory circuit equipment, they are not as highly structured as those on the main Queensmill site reflecting the developmental level of the pupils.
At FPQU pupils follow the Fulham Primary curriculum, differentiated to meet their needs, so that they can, where possible, integrate with their parallel link mainstream class for different subjects. They attend the same music, and PE lessons and after that participate in other subjects on an individual needs basis. This might include taking part in one element of a lesson and then returning to the unit class to build on the learning at an appropriate pace and level. This fluid approach is facilitated by the collaboration between the teachers in the unit and the link classes and allows the pupils, with TA support, to move seamlessly between each class even within a lesson.
Across the school day pupils are offered opportunities to play together, eat together, to attend whole school assemblies together and to access exciting events such as special whole school activity days, visiting drama groups and school trips including the residential year 6 trip to Wales.
Some pupils with a diagnosis of ASD join the unit from other primary schools within the Tri-borough but many, with the agreement of parents, move from Queensmill School to FPQU when QS staff judge that the child is socially capable of benefiting from the integration opportunities available when on a mainstream site. These pupils are likely to have skills which enable them to successfully integrate with mainstream peers and access the mainstream curriculum for some of the school day, whilst also needing the calm, autism-specific environment of the unit classes.
The unit continues to be very successful and pupils make outstanding progress. Whilst receiving excellent autism-specific support, the pupils in the unit are encouraged to be as independent as possible. The unit allows pupils with autism the possibility to develop a range of social, language and academic skills in a smaller than average mainstream class and to access, with support, mainstream opportunities to practise and develop appropriate skills for the wider world.
The most recent Ofsted report commented that “The more able pupils who attend local schools make excellent progress. There are exemplary relationships between Queensmill staff and teachers from the mainstream schools which ensures that pupils have a seamless transition into mainstream classes.” Ofsted 2015
Fulham College Boys
The unit contains students primarily from Queensmill School and our unit at Fulham Primary but also students who have entered in Year 7 from other primary schools in Hammersmith and Fulham who are served by our Primary Outreach worker. As with the model set up at Fulham Primary School, students in the unit remain on the roll of QS. All staff at Q4@FCB are QS staff, and led by a QS Deputy Headteacher. QS staff continually trains and works collaboratively with all FCB staff in autism and with FCB students throughout the school year to help them to understand the challenges faced by our students who have autism.
The two schools work harmoniously together to create a fantastic environment for students with autism that enables them to work on a mainstream site and have access to an autism-specific base whilst they still need it.
FCB also has a Studio School, whose students focus on learning the skills needed for the building and performing arts trade. It therefore made great sense to employ the students from the Studio School to re-furbish and redecorate the rooms allocated to the unit. These are within the building where the music, ICT and art departments are housed, and comprise 2 large classrooms, one lobby, one staff room, one additional area that will be used as a sensory room and student toilets.
We are very excited by the successes of the current Q4 students and know that their experiences and opinions will help shape the unit and inclusion further. The future of these young people is exciting with planning and consultation under way to decide how best to use the FCB Studio School to create an enriching and vocational KS4 curriculum.
At the most recent Ofsted inspection in 2015 it was reported that at Fulham College boys:
The School keeps students safe. Students behave well in lessons and around the school. This helps them learn well. Students achieve well over time. Students with different needs are well supported. Attainment in vocation subjects is high.
Fulham Cross Girls
Fulham Cross Girls School have worked in partnership with Queensmill School to provide specialist education for children with autism within a secondary mainstream setting. In September 2015 the Queensmill Unit opened in Fulham Cross and it has been a huge success. It is currently a small class of year 7 pupils with a diagnosis of autism, and it will continue to grow in size every year. The pupils in this unit benefit from a range or autism-friendly strategies that are embedded within Queensmill’s approach, whilst also accessing a variety of mainstream lessons lead by Fulham Cross teachers who are specialist within their subject.
Pupils learn to become more independent learners within a mainstream setting with the support of structured routines and activities throughout the school day. These are clearly presented to pupils at their level of reading and understanding, using visual learning supports where it is beneficial to the learner.
Within our Queensmill classroom, which is situated in the design block at FCGS, we provide a low arousal learning environment to enable pupils to focus and progress. Pupils access some of their lessons within this classroom where we provide differentiated teaching and learning across all curriculum areas to meet the needs of individual children.
Pupils gain access to individualised sensory integration programs, helping them to independently achieve a calm and alert state throughout the school day. They have regular sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist, class teachers are also advised by an Occupational Therapist. This multi-disciplinary approach provides a rich and varied curriculum for pupils within the unit and provides opportunities for students to focus on learning a range of independent skills. Pupils also have the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular lessons such as gardening and yoga.
There is a high adult: child ratio to encourage pupils to make high levels of progress and to support individuals within mainstream inclusion lessons. We have a brilliant partnership between the Queensmill unit staff and the Fulham Cross teachers which has enabled pupils to feel prepared and supported throughout all learning experiences. The amount of mainstream inclusion that is accessed in individual for each pupil, depending on their interests, ability and learning style.
A statement of the range of needs of the children for whom it is intended that the children’s home is to provide care and accommodation.
Q House is a purpose built 4 bedded home designed to accommodate and support children between the ages of 8 – 18 with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Learning Disabilities and behaviours that challenge associated with the aforementioned conditions.
We are able to support children and young people on Fully Residential, Shared Care and Short Breaks placements. The range of needs for which care and support will be provided is the following:
- CYP diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum
- CYP who have a learning disability and autism
- CYP who may have some sensory impairments attendant with their autism
- CYP who are technology dependant for meals attendant with their autism
- CYP who are ambulant as the service is not adapted to support CYP with physical disabilities
- CYP will complex needs in regards to their behaviour and autism and have high support needs
- CYP with autism and complex health needs e.g. Epilepsy, etc.
Fully Residential, Shared Care and Short breaks will be provided for children and young people of both genders between the ages of 8 to 18, however we are able to continue supporting any child aged 19 if there is a clear transition plan is in place to assist in supporting them into an Adult provision. This will be clearly agreed by all significant parties involved in the planning, care and support.
All referrals are subject to a thorough referral process with a matching and impact assessment being undertaken to assess the suitability of the young person being referred in whether their needs can be effectively met within home.
Q House wholly believes that children in residential child care should be loved, happy, healthy, safe from harm and able to develop, thrive and fulfil their full potential.
Residential child care should value and nurture each child as an individual with talents, strengths and capabilities that can develop over time.
We believe that children and young people spending time at Q House should find it an enjoyable experience, one in which the service user can form positive attachments that give them a sense of inner security and worth and add to their emotional and physical well-being. The aim of our staff team is to understand and meet the needs of the individual service users in their care. Q House believes that consistency in care is paramount to service child-young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, to this end we will be committed to developing and maintaining good communicative relationships with the child young person’s home and school.
No service user is assumed to be unable to communicate their views and where appropriate, alternative communications systems are used e.g. Makaton, PECS and Sign a long as normally used by them. The service user’s opinions and those of their families or others significant to them are sought over key decisions, which are likely to affect their daily life and their future. Service user’s views and feelings will be sought through appropriate methods of communication, listening to the service users/young person, listening to their families and conducting appropriate meetings, reviews and discussions with staff and key professionals involved in their care.
Q House’s philosophy is to promote integration of the service users into the local community and society as a whole thus, reducing social isolation often associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Any specific work undertaken with the young people will be agreed by the placing authority/parents and any other professionals deemed appropriate.
Q House operates with an open door policy whereby children’s friends, relatives and significant others are able to come and visit at any time.
We ask that all visitors are respectful of any other child that is residing and to this end be respectful in terms of times they visit and understanding that every child has their own complexities.
Q House promote family contact and maximum home visits that work for parents and young people alike, finding compromise where necessary. Home leave can be authorized in conjunction with relevant professionals and family, for contact and transitional purposes. Individual plans for home leave/receiving visitors should be agreed through the review process and clearly recorded, including any restriction, these will be detailed within their Placement Plans. A timetable of visits should be arranged for each inter-review period, with additional visits only being arranged exceptionally.
For a full break down of what the Q House service will offer please click on the Statement of Purpose link below.
Please find links to other documents below which contain more information on Q House.
Q6 has been designed for some of the students graduating from Queensmill School (QS) at the age of 19 who need a QS-like setting to continue into Post 19 education.
Q6 will continue to use all supports for learning that have worked for children in QS, such as a highly structured, low arousal environment in order to make sense of the world, the use of TEACCH and PECS as and when needed, and the consistent use of functional behavioural analysis by staff who are highly trained in autism to ensure that students can demonstrate appropriate behaviours and ways of communicating their wants and needs.
Our focus at Q6 is on the learning and consolidation of independence skills based on both the agreed individual Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) outcomes and the Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) outcomes which are Independent Living, Employment, Community Inclusion and Health. We have experienced teaching staff and first rate resources to help each student on their journey. We deliver an accredited OCR Life and Living Skills programme based on the PFA outcomes, ensuring that students have access to meaningful and enjoyable volunteering or work experience placements, and have significant experience enabling our students to access and enjoy what the local community has to offer.
To accept our young people for who they are, help them to understand and manage their autism, and help them make their own decisions about the future and to thrive and flourish towards those next steps.