HARP Hendon Autism Resourced Provision
Watch, and re-watch the HARP video to gain useful information from staff and students.
HARP opened in September 2008 as Barnet’s first resourced provision to support Autistic students in a mainstream secondary school. We aim to give all our students the level of scaffolding and support they need to allow them to access mainstream classes and to be involved in the social aspects of school. Our students have individual timetables and they study within HARP and in their mainstream classes in the appropriate ratio, according to assessed and agreed personal, social and educational need.
For some students it may be appropriate to study one or more academic subjects in HARP in order to receive individually tailored curriculum content or delivery.
Some students study a reduced curriculum to accommodate other priorities: in HARP we provide speech and language therapy, some occupational therapy, Personal Social and Relationships Education and pre- and post-tutoring. We also offer ‘catch-up time’ and support to students who find it difficult to complete homework at home. The HARP curriculum comprises Personal, Moral Development and Social Understanding.
Within the Harp-based Personal Social and Relationships curriculum, all students are also encouraged to identify their own strengths and interests within the context of exploring Autism and the achievements of Autistic people, both historical and contemporary. We explore the operating systems of neurodiversity and neurotypical or allistic individuals as different and of equal value.
In HARP we see it as crucial to understand the nature of each student’s strengths, interests and difficulties and the impact of these on the individual’s encounters, functioning, understanding of, and interactions with, the world. We aim to bridge the divide between the perceptions, motivation and experiences of our students and the expectations of school and wider society and to guide and support mainstream staff and students to understand, adapt to and accommodate different the interactions and learning styles of our students.
Each student has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), agreed with parents/carers and the students themselves, outlining how we plan to meet their emotional, social and educational needs and attain the outcomes as described in their Educational and Health Care Plan.
We undertake to:
- Tailor each student’s learning package to meet their individual educational, emotional and social needs.
- Develop an Autism friendly environment, providing structure to make HARP a predictable and safe place, to reduce levels of anxiety
- Support students to develop social understanding
- Help students to develop a positive and realistic self-image, self-esteem, independence, confidence and resilience to cope with the expectations of a neurotypical world.
- Help students to gain understanding of people and how they think, feel and operate; to form positive relationships with others
- Develop - via staff training – Autism friendly teaching and interactions throughout the school
- Develop positive relationships with parents, carers and other professionals
- Offer to each individual ‘the best of both worlds’: a balance between inclusive education and separate, individualised Autism- specific teaching
- Focus and build on the positive actions, interactions, interests and achievements of our students
- Give specific and detailed feedback and praise to ensure individuals fully understand expectations and the effect of their behaviour on other people
Volunteers from the classes in which there are HARP students receive both Childline Training and Autism specific training so that they understand our students’ perceptions, strengths and difficulties and are able to support them socially and in class. Following their initial training, they receive regular group meetings for ongoing training and support. The Peer supporters become close and committed allies and friends with whom to explore conventions and to enjoy school life.
Partnership with Parents
Parents and carers are encouraged to be actively involved in HARP and the education of their sons and daughters. In addition to formal meetings, we have an open door policy and regular and frequent contact is maintained via the telephone, email and Home-School books to exchange information and ideas and to gain a thorough understanding of the individual’s experiences and perceptions.
Transition and Induction
All students joining HARP will be invited to visit and spend time with us during Year 6, accompanied by a familiar adult, so that they feel secure and comfortable at Hendon prior to Transition Day, when they meet their new form group and friends. Students are given a Transition Book with information and photographs and they are invited to personalise their books with their own photographs and comments gleaned on visits. Care is taken to ensure that HARP students are placed with named friends from their Primary School where possible and with Form Tutors with an interest and expertise in Autism. Close contact between HARP staff and Primary schools and prior communication with parents ensure we have relevant information and a smooth transition.