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Sensory Department

An Overview

The Sensory and ASC department is composed of two pathways and there are 6 classes. The classes range from Yr 3 – Yr 11 – this enables pupils accessing this department to have continuity throughout their time at Parkside. Class groups are smaller in size at approx 8-9 pupils with a higher staff ratio. There is a strong emphasis on promoting both communication and independence throughout – this is individual and bespoke to each pupil. Each classroom has a small sensory room and access to Sensory Integration equipment.

Pupils are placed in accordance with their sensory and learning needs – this is decided prior to arrival to the school, this can be changeable throughout their time at Parkside where we ensure to find the best fit for our pupils. There are subtle differences between the two pathways.

Two pathways: Sensory & ASC


This consists of three classes, Buffalo, Crocodile and Leopard. There is a strong emphasis on structure and routine within these classes. The TEACCH approach is used and bespoke to each pupil. There are accessible visuals that are built in to support pupil’s awareness of routine, transition and change. Each morning the class partakes in a morning routine to develop their understanding of the day ahead. Pupils have a range of communication strategies such as PECS and coreboards and staff are trained to support this, to promote a total communication approach. Signalong is used to support learning and a multi sensory approach is used through the topic based approach to curriculum & learning.


This consists of three classes, Elephant, Lion and Rhino. Elephant and Lion are both run in line with the TEACCH approach – pupils have work stations, schedules (where appropriate) and follow a highly structured, routine based day. Rhino has elements of TEACCH with a Sensory approach – this class is currently more a combination of the two pathways. Both Lion and Elephant teachers are TEACCH trained and all staff receive in house training. Pupils predominantly have an ASC diagnosis within this department. There is a high emphasis on developing life skills and preparing pupils for adult life. Like the Sensory pathway Signalong is used to support learning and a multi sensory approach is used where appropriate through the topic based approach to curriculum & learning.               

Assessment & learning: Pre-formal/Semi-formal

For pupils who are engaged in non subject specific study they access the Engagement model, a statutory assessment system for pupils learning from P1-P4.  This consists of 5 areas and supports pupils in monitoring their progress and allows for a holistic approach to individual needs. This approach is considered across the department and all staff are trained in the Engagement model. Pupils access Parkside steps and their overarching targets are taken from their EHCP outcomes.  Pupils Learning and sensory needs are carefully considered and supported through bespoke Sensory Integration approaches.