The Windmill Centre
The Windmill Centre is an Autism Resource Provision (ARP) attached to Millbank Academy. It provides care and education for children aged 4–11 years of age who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition and an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Our inclusive and stimulating setting offers space for 10 children. All staff at The Windmill Centre are highly experienced, and our unit is a locally recognised centre of excellence for children with autism. As such, we are oversubscribed, and entrance to the unit is through compliance with strict criteria.
The Windmill Centre offers a curriculum which reflects the mainstream school curriculum, but which is also tailored towards the individual child’s needs.
Children in the unit are taught in a supportive and stable environment and have access to personalised learning in small-group or 1:1 settings. These intervention sessions focus on supporting children in areas which they may find more challenging.
Opportunities to learn and practice social, communication and emotional regulation are embedded throughout the school day. In addition to their academic targets, pupils at The Windmill Centre have individual outcomes focussed on developing their skills in these areas.
To support these outcomes, we use a variety of teaching approaches and methods including; the SCERTS framework; TEACCH; the Zones of Regulation; Attention Autism; Colourful Semantics; Language for Thinking; Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations; and Social Skills. We also believe in the importance of children integrating with their peers and being immersed in the wider school environment.
Therefore, in addition to being a member of the unit, each child at The Windmill Centre is on roll in a mainstream class. The amount of time a child will spend with their mainstream class will depend on their independence skills and academic ability. Wherever possible, the child will join their class for special activities, trips and projects.
We believe that this serves many purposes: it helps children at the unit to develop their social and communicational skills with children of their own age, as well as allowing them the chance to expand their friendship groups. It also breaks down barriers, allowing children from both the mainstream and Windmill settings to interact with each other in a diverse and inclusive environment, thereby promoting respect and discouraging discriminatory attitudes.
The Windmill Centre has five full-time members of staff, comprising of a centre manager/ specialist teacher and four teaching assistants. A part-time speech and language therapist works at the unit for 1.5 days each week, and other professionals may assess and offer advice for pupils as and when required (such as occupational therapists or educational psychologists).
The Windmill Centre is located in the centre of the mainstream primary school, and benefits from both separate facilities and shared access to the facilities offered by Millbank Academy. The unit consists of two small adjoining classrooms (used for 1:1 or group work), a therapy office and an individual toilet. Children enjoy access to an interactive whiteboard, computers and iPad tablets to support their learning.
Children from The Windmill Centre also share many facilities with the mainstream school, such as the playground, school hall, kitchen, computer suite, and science laboratory.
This set-up ensures that children are fully included within the mainstream school day.