Specialist Education

Before moving to Cambian Spring Hill School


David was diagnosed with autism in February 2012.


Prior to joining Spring Hill School, David was receiving home tutoring through an alternative provision.  Although historically he had been progressing well across all areas of the curriculum in a mainstream secondary school, this placement unfortunately broke down at the start of year 8.  The increase in pace of social interactions as David got older was just too fast and complex for him to manage, impacting on his self esteem and confidence.


David struggled to conform to an image that he and his ‘friends’ considered to be ‘normal’ and this led to significant distress, presenting both at school and home.  David’s struggles resulted in two fixed term exclusions from school relating to his own health and safety and that of others, causing significant damage at the school and self harming. On one occasion where he felt unable to cope at home, he sadly made an attempt to end his life.


How Cambian Spring Hill School has supported David


David took some time to settle into life at Spring Hill School and within his first full term he was involved in 10 recorded incidents resulting in him requiring  additional 1:1 support.  With this additional support David has become better able to manage social situations, becoming a popular member of the peer group and he managed to form and maintain frienships.  He has developed resilience to situations he would have previosuly found challenging and is now able to remove himself from potential incidents or disruption. 


David is a competitive youngster and this would lead to aggression if he did not win games and activities. He is very set on rules and if he perceived rules were not being followed he would become angry or distressed.  He found it difficult to understand and follow standard classroom rules and this resulted in him shouting out.  David processing time can be longer than that of his peers and he would put his hand up and forget the answer he wanted to give and this added to his frustration.  When distressed, David struggled to communicate effectively which would see him becoming increasingly agitated.  During these times he could not listen to or consider information or reasoning.


Over the last academic year, his speech and language therapist has continued to offer a universal level of service for David. David has been reluctant to engage in direct work with the speech and language therapist to review his communication skills through formal assessments, however the therapist has liaised and consulted with colleagues in the clinical and education teams to support their work and share information about his progress. In addition, the speech and language therapist has undertaken periodic observations of David in class and the wider school environment; he is reacting positively and has since been observed:


  • Expressing his ideas with ease.
  • Making comments, requests and instructions in relation to his own needs.
  • Using extended sentences to convey ideas, opinions, comments and questions to others.
  • Modifying his voice volume and pitch easily (habitually using a loud voice in everyday conversation).
  • Making good use of written/ visual tools to support understanding of what to do in order to work more independently.
  • Showing interest in other people’s actions and choices: he will now ask follow-on questions or comments in conversation.
  • Manages change most effectively with rehearsal, reassurance and pre-preparation.


David still has access to 1:1 support throughout the education day but this was recently reduced due to his significant progress in relation to self-management of behaviours and increased levels of resilience. 


Feedback from David’s Mum


"We visited many Schools before choosing Spring Hill School for David and one of key points we really liked about the school on our tour was the calm atmosphere it had.  No staff shouting at children (which we did see one in one school where we couldn’t get out quick enough). 


I have to say with regards to David's placement at Spring Hill School both his Dad and I are over the moon with the level of support he is receiving. 


David’s transition to Spring Hill was brilliantly managed.  He had been out of School for about 7 months before joining.  He had a few hiccups at the start but calls home were done in an understanding, non-judgemental and sympathetic way, which was very refreshing!


I wish in hindsight David had joined Spring Hill from the get go.  It is such a shame children have to be at a crisis point before they can receive the specialist services a school like Spring Hill can offer.


I also have to say how lovely it has been to hear from teachers and staff about how they like David and what a good sense of humour he has. As a parent of a child with difficulties I used to dread and feel physically sick going to pick David up from his Primary School and used to get so stressed and bogged down with all the negative comments about him.  Having such wonderful understanding staff is paramount to the success I feel of the wellbeing and progress David has made and it’s much less stressful for us as parents."


Positive Outcomes for David


David is a bright boy who is keen to sit his GCSE’s and has already expressed interest in pursuing A-levels and sports related courses.  He has regular 1:1 meetings with an independent career’s advisor as part of his bespoke timetable. Initially, David was reluctant to fully engage in these sessions due to his apprehension about revealing personal information; however, as time has gone on he has opened up more and discussed the option of attending open days and taster days at local colleges.


David also accesses a weekly work experience placement which is providing him with invaluable experience and skills in preparation for adulthood.



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