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Designated Specialist Provision (DSP)

Why do we have a Designated Specialist Provision?

We have a DSP so that we can:

  • give the children a safe, supportive environment where the children can feel happy and make progress. 
  • provide children with the opportunity and encouragement to develop their communication and interaction skills. 
  • provide children the opportunity to integrate with their peers and the wider school community by accessing the learning and facilities in the mainstream school. 

Who learns in our Designated Specialist Provision (DSP)?

Our DSP can take up to 10 children, from Year 1 to Year 6, who already have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), which details the need for communication and interaction or autism.

Children likely to be offered a place, but not exclusively, are children with: 

  • Communication difficulties. 
  • Interaction difficulties. 
  • Children with an autism diagnosis or who are on the ASD pathway. 

The DSP is unable to cater for children with complex sensory, physical and medical needs. 

Where is Our DSP?

The DSP is located from the Ventor Street Playground. It can be found in the Wakerley building. The name of the class is Discovery Class.

The Wakerley Building at Spinney Hill Primary School

Discovery Class

What does our curriculum look like?

In our DSP we provide children with specialist teaching with a focus on developing communication and interaction.

The environment is structured so that children feel supported to feel secure, develop their confidence and achieve great things.

We also aim to provide as many inclusion opportunities as possible alongside their mainstream peers. 

The curriculum is based around individual children’s needs and targets identified in their EHCP and the Autism Education Trust (AET) Progression Framework. The teaching is delivered through small group, 1 to 1 sessions and whole group activities. 

The classroom is set up to be a calm and ordered environment, helping to reduce anxiety for the children who are in our class.

We follow a structured timetable which follows the same pattern every day. Some of the lessons/whole group activities we have are: 

  • Funky Feet: Multi-sensory learning which develops fine and gross motor skills, encourages children to follow instructions and join in a group activity
  • Dough Disco: Where children develop fine motor skills
  • Rhyme or Story time: Where the children learn to engage in a group activity. 
  • Play Interaction: These are 1 to 1 sessions where a child engages with an adult, playing something that they like, in a structured way. Through these interactions staff can encourage and build children’s language, or ways of communicating, and it is a good way of helping the children with their interaction skills. 
  • Fun Time. These activities help children to interact, make eye contact, take turns and join in with each other
  • Attention Autism: These are sessions that develop children’s level of engagement in learning
  • Thematic approach to learning. Learning is structures around a theme or topic to develop an understanding of the links between different curriculum subjects
  • Life Skills. These activities help them to learn about looking after themselves to become more independent.
  • Talk Programmes: These are small group sessions to develop children’s communication skills. They will have the opportunity to work with children from other classes in the school

How do we support children to communicate?

We use objects of reference to help children follow instructions e.g. show a bowl at snack time

In Discovery Class we also use visual aids (signs & symbols) on a daily basis to support communication, understanding and learning. 

Each child has a visual timetable and we work with the children to help them transition from one activity to the next, which supports their understanding of the school day. 

We introduce for children Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) cards in our class. Each child has a PECS folder full of pictures of things they like and dislike, which they use to communicate with staff. 

We use ‘Now and Next’ boards to help children who need the day breaking up into smaller segments, and we use choosing boards for many of the activities in the classroom. 

How are the children included in the life of the school?

The DSP is a highly valued and integrated part of Spinney Hill Primary School community.

After settling into Discovery Class, the adults will plan opportunities for children to be involved in the life of the school.

This might include assemblies, special events, play times, trips, going to the library and visiting different parts of the school. This is all carefully planned so the children are happy and secure. Adults from Discovery Class support the children.

Different adults from across the school will visit Discovery Class to get to know the children. This might be to read a story, share an activity with a small group or just be there to be recognized as a familiar face.

Children will have specific lessons in the DSP, but will also aim to access other classes in the school. Children will receive support to access classes, ensuring the needs of the children are met. We aim over the time a child spends in the DSP, that this time increases.

How do we involve parents and carers in engaging in your child's learning?

At Spinney Hill Primary School, we value working alongside parents to support them to engage in their child’s learning.

We recognise that there may be transportation reasons why we do not see parents every day.

It is important therefore that we find different ways to communicate with parents.

We will use our School App to keep you update with school news and share your child’s learning.

We will organise opportunities for you to visit, join in workshops and other events.

Staff will be available prior to the start and at the end of the day to catch up with you in person or on the telephone about anything that needs discussing.


Who will teach my child?

The teacher for Discovery Class is Sarah Wyatt.

There are also three teaching assistants who are:

Jigna Chauhan

Hannah Lewin

Shahida Haris

The Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion, Bernie Ranzetta will also support teaching in the DSP.

The staff in our DSP all have specialist training in the area of autism and communication and interaction needs.

How often will my child's EHCP be reviewed?

As all the pupils in the DSP have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they will have a statutory review once a year to review and set outcomes, shorter-term targets and transport needs. These are attended by your child, parents or carers, staff from the DSP and representatives from outside agencies e.g. the Learning, Communication and Interaction Team. If it is felt that a change of placement is needed for example when moving to a new school, the annual review will be held in the autumn term of that academic year. The Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion (Bernie Ranzetta) will support you through the review process.

What outside agency support can my child receive?

The school is able to access support on behalf of your child from outside agencies. These might include some of the following:


Family Support Worker

Our Family Support Worker is Leona Wallace


Educational Welfare Service 

Our Educational Welfare Officer is Bijal Stapleford


Other teams include:

Learning, Communication and Interaction Team (Autism)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health Team

Hearing Support Team

Visual Support Team

Educational Psychology

Speech and Language Therapy

School Nursing Service

Community Paediatrician


Please contact Bernie Ranzetta or Sarah Wyatt on 0116 2737047 if you would like help in accessing any of these services.