Our Quiet Learning Zone (QLZ) is a bespoke environment within High Peak School for our learners who may benefit from a quieter and more structured space to learn including those with an autism diagnosis on their EHCP. Those who come to the QLZ may have experienced challenges in a previous school setting which may have led to periods of time out of education. The aim of the QLZ is to re-integrate learners back into full time education and reignite their passion for learning.
Our QLZ class sizes are small, with around 6 children in one classroom. The rooms are low sensory environments with sensory lighting, soft play, sensory tools, sanctuary spaces, and are tailored to meet the individual needs of the learners within the group. The space is set apart from the main school and therefore feels quiet and nurturing with a focus on supporting the sensory needs of the children. There are supplementary sanctuary spaces available for those who need additional space to learn independently.
Each young person has an adapted, bespoke curriculum and follows their own tailored timetable. Break times and lunch/dinner times are scheduled within a separate ‘lunch and social hub’ to reduce any overwhelming situations for the children. There is also the option to eat lunch/dinner within their nurturing classroom if they would like to do so.
A set routine and clear structure is really important for our learners within the QLZ. Therefore we provide visual timetables and other visual prompts to ensure this structure is easy for everyone to follow.
The teaching staff and support staff are all specifically trained in autism and supporting young people with additional needs. The team within the QLZ are also responsible for providing autism training to the wider school staff team, based on their expertise and experience.
The young people in the QLZ follow the specialised Autism Progression Framework through the Autism Education Trust. This framework is a comprehensive interactive assessment tool for children and young people on the autism spectrum. It is designed to support staff in identifying learning priorities and measuring progress in areas that fall outside the national curriculum.
We have already seen fantastic results from the QLZ, including learners who have gained maths and English GCSE’s and seen a young person who was previously school phobic engage in lessons and flourish both academically and socially.
All of the children have access to the specific DBT Therapy pathway lead by the clinical team with input from an Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist and Clinical Psychologist.
Our outdoor learning programme is equally important for the QLZ group at High Peak School and the children regularly get the opportunity to learn outside the classroom through horticulture, sensory walks, and community based education. All of the children also have the opportunity to take part in the John Muir Award and DofE.
Specific social communication groups are available to our learners to develop their receptive and expressive language skills, learn to make friends and have fun. These sessions are led by our on-site experienced Speech and Language Therapists, who also develops individual strategies for the teaching and support staff.
The team at the QLZ work with parents/carers and provide termly updates and reporting, monitoring progress in line with the outcomes on the young person’s EHCP.
The main aim and overall focus in our Quiet Learning Zone is to support children to understand routine, structure, enjoy playing games, be able to turn take, form meaningful relationships, develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and discover and reignite a passion for learning.