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