Our Ethos

    Specialist school for children and young people (CYP) diagnosed with autism and significant learning difficulties (SLD)

    Kensington Queensmill is specialist school for children and young people (CYP) diagnosed with autism and significant learning difficulties (SLD) from 3-19. The majority of CYP’s autism and learning difficulties are at the complex end of the spectrum but the school places at its heart, learning that is child/young person centred with an emphasis on accepting the child for who they are and helping them understand and cope with the world around them. From this starting point, we are able to help CYP make progress in acquiring academic, communication, social, regulation and life skills.

    Staff at Kensington Queensmill are highly trained in autism and associated impairments and learning difficulties and the school commits a significant proportion of its annual budget to training and maintaining staff knowledge and resources so that CYP learn in an environment that understands and is suited to them. The school is effective in personalising learning so that CYP have unique programmes that are motivating and CYP are thoroughly supported to make progress. When this progress occurs, we are committed to creating and adapting provision to ensure it can continue. This is achieved through our membership of a trust of specialist schools and resource bases including Queensmill (Hammersmith) and provisions at mainstream schools in Fulham.

    The school is the creation of a partnership between QCEST and Kensington and Chelsea local authority (LA). We are fortunate to have been provided a purpose-built, state-of-the art building for children and young people (CYP) with autism and SLD by the LA. The school meets the needs of CYP across the bi-borough (Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster) and has a strong financial and philosophical commitment to providing the very best for vulnerable CYP.

    Our partner school, Queensmill (Hammersmith), has well-established, highly effective practice embedded throughout. Ofsted have judged the school as ‘Outstanding’ in the past three inspections of 2007, 2010 and most recently in 2014, in the new build. The school has been accredited by the national autistic society and awarded the status of ‘cutting-edge’ practice in its most recent moderation, also in 2014. At Kensington Queensmill it is our mission to replicate this level of outstanding provision, adapted to the specific needs of the community that the school will serve.

    The school maintains a strong commitment to staff training and empowerment and the use of research to ensure expectional outcomes. It draws upon the training facilities and Research and Development board at Queensmill (Hammersmith) to ensure that it creates an environment that mirrors the overarching philosophy of being CYP led, ie, with practitioners tailoring learning and activities to best meet the accessibility needs of the CYP. Where there are difficulties we observe carefully, using our expertise in functional behaviour analysis to determine the purpose of behaviour.

    To develop and enrich communication we use familiar resources like PECS (picture exchange communication system), TEACCH and other strategies and resources. Our firm belief and positive experience of the efficacy of sensory integration approaches mean that CYP will have frequent and structured access to sensory interventions like sensory circuits and more.

    The school is committed to embedding the SCERTS framework which enables CYP to develop and consolidate core skills in social communication and emotional regulation, in settings and situations within and outside the classroom, which is an integral aspect of the SCERTS methodology. Our aim, using the SCERTS approach, is to extend the communication, independence, problem-solving and social abilities of our CYP.

    We are committed to supporting parents and carers understand and support their child with the most applicable and up to date knowledge of the condition of autism and evidence-based interventions. We offer an extensive range of training courses to enable this. Equally, we support colleagues and professionals in other settings to deepen their understanding of autism and effective methods of support.

    In keeping with our ethos of providing an environment where CYP are able to express and manage their autism in the company of highly trained staff who value them, the school’s policies on child protection and safeguarding, positive handling, equal opportunities, health and safety and assessment place the CYP, at the very centre, so that they are able to feel safe, can express themselves, develop skill s and become independent.