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Westminster Special School

College Park School Federation of Westminster Special Schools
& Bi-borough Inclusion Service

Research & Development

Research and Development in College Park School

In College Park School, we are ambitions about ensuring that the latest evidence based practices are implemented in our curriculum. College Park School is a member of the Pan London Autism School Network- Research, that provides links between schools and autism researchers form a range of universities. This research based practice link enables us to identify and develop topics of research that have positive impact on the educational experiences of autistic children and young people. We are currently involved in a number of research projects, conducted by the school staff and in collaboration with university researchers.

Research and Development in College Park School Academic year 2021-2022

This year, we welcomed the new researchers to College Park School and supported their work as well as the work conducted by the staff members in College Park School.

  1. Dr Joseph Mintz and his colleague Seray Ibrahim from the Institute of Education-University College London conducted the study regarding communication and interaction styles between autistic pupils and their teachers in order to give an evaluation of what type of teacher interaction is likely to be most effective for each learner. This research had direct impact on the class teams’ understanding of personalized interaction styles and how they can support pupils’ learning and engagement in lessons.
  2. PhD candidate Laura Paulauskaite and her supervisor Professor Carol Rivas from University College London are developing a list of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) outcomes and effective RSE programs for pupils with intellectual disabilities.  Three teachers and one parent from College Park school have participated in a workshop examining possible outcomes of RSE for pupils with intellectual disability. This had an impact on further developing teachers’ ability to set clear and relevant RSE outcomes for pupils with autism and intellectual disability.
  3. Our new teacher, Effy Zachou, is doing her research based PhD at the City University focusing on exploring emotional underpinnings of anxiety in autistic children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. Effy’s supervisor, Professor Sebastian Gaigg visited College Park Parents’ coffee morning and presented his work on mental health and autism to our parents. Professor Gaigg’s presentation was very informative and well received. Emotional regulation packs were also shared with the parents to be used at home, ensuring consistency in implementation of successful emotional regulation strategies across home and school for the pupils. A group of parents and teachers will participate in the next year consultation meetings with Effy in order to inform the course of her research.
  4. Assistant Head for Secondary, Simon Bennett is completing his MA in Special Needs Education and conducting research for his dissertation examining the main factors that influence young people with ASD experience of transition from an SEN school to College and the effectiveness of the preparation work in supporting this experience in school. 
  5. Assistant Head for Primary, Tanja Zeljic, is doing her research based PhD at King’s College London under supervision of Professor Francesca Happe, exploring the vulnerabilities of girls with autism with a focus on social interaction and social cognition. The aim of this research is developing new evidence based school interventions for girls for autism in order to improve their educational outcomes.

In addition to these specific research projects, action research is carried out termly by all teachers in College Park School. The SCERTS spotlight case studies are pupil focused case studies where teachers and class teams are able to discuss and implement specific autism strategies to support emotional regulation of the students and to ensure they meet their EHCP outcomes. The SCERTS case studies were developed by the PLASN-R group and Speech and Language Therapists Emily Rubin and Scot Greathead.

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