School's idea shared across boroughPosted: 10th June 2020
Children with all levels of special educational need across Newham borough are being supported by skilled teachers from RDA.
The majority of the 26 students at the Designated Resource Provision at Royal Docks Academy have been staying home through the Coronavirus pandemic due to their health conditions.
Their four teachers and 15 support staff, trained to handle their personal care, behaviour and to help them to achieve their potential, have been finding new ways to support their students remotely.
One idea has been so well received by Newham Council, it is now sharing the resource with all families in the borough with children with any level of special educational need.
Zama Shozi, head of the PMLD unit, said: “We take photos of everything our students do at school as evidence of their learning and progress. We decided to use these images during lockdown to create our own personalised video audiobooks to help parents to continue reading with the children at home.
“You cannot find these kinds of books online. Our children are familiar with certain words, symbols and actions which we have incorporated into our original online books. We have also used images of them in character, so they can relate to the stories being told; it is also a way of letting them see the faces of their teachers and friends who they are missing.
“Our parents are learning more and more about what their children are capable of through activities we are setting them at home, such as these. As the parents share the stories, their child will make the connection with the language we have used with them and respond to the sensory approach, which is vital.”
Online books cover the stories of Romeo and Juliet, Desmond, Dracula and Rainforest and include worksheets for families to complete at home.
Mrs Shozi said: “They are brilliant.
“We are giving parents access to tools they would not otherwise have as we are using a specialist programme to produce the books.
“Our students cannot read, but they can associate with a picture or symbols which come up as the audiobook is played. It enables them to continue with the work they do in school in their home environment with their parents.
“Newham Council gets in touch to see how our vulnerable children are getting on and asks if we have anything we would like shared with other families in Newham. As a result, they have been sharing a link to our online books with all other schools with resource provisions. Children with special needs at any level, not just profound and multiple learning disabilities, are accessing this resource.
“It feels like we are making a big difference in such hard times. We are bringing smiles to our children’s faces. We could do the bear minimum and they would not challenge us, but we are their advocates and think on their behalf about what they would want to do. I have teachers willing to go the extra mile.”
Proud dad Shah Nawaz said of son Moeez: “He is busy and happy with his siblings. The change in Moeez we noticed is that he is vocalising more with parents as he is spending more time with parents during lockdown.”