School to School Support

Birch Wood Autism School Support 

We have extensive experience with supporting children and young people with communication and interaction differences. Our Autism Lead & Assistant Head Amy Dunstan leads a team of highly trained staff within the specialist Autism settings at Birch Wood. Amy has over 10 years experience working within the independent sector and continues to work closely with the National Autistic Society to gain our Autism Accreditation. All staff within our provision have also achieved AET level 3 training.

We offer an Autism support service for local schools and pupils and advice on provision development within Leicestershire.

For more details contact us at:  FAO Amy Dunstan

Birch Wood Early Years and Foundation Stage Network

Our EYFS network is run in partnership with the Paragon TSA and is led by Natalie our EYFS SLE. Natalie is an enthusiastic and reflective practitioner who is able to facilitate leadership and development in others. She has developed her skills and knowledge within an EYFS, SEN setting, and therefore fully appreciates the role that early education plays in developing a love of learning and the necessary pre-requisite skills for engagement.

For those that struggle, clear identification of needs and early intervention can make an enormous difference, closing the gap for children who may otherwise struggle in later stages of education. Whilst core skills for some children will be developed within a stimulating play environment, there are some groups of children who may not be able to access all types of play or communication.

Natalie is experienced in using a wide range of assessment tools and observations to identify particular needs and specific learning styles of children at a young age. She is skilled at devising and delivering communication and play groups which support development for all children, and help them to access mainstream activities to their full potential. As a subject leader, Natalie has been able to inspire a commitment in others, to ensure that all children have exciting opportunities to make progress.

When children are engaged, they will learn and Natalie has communicated with teams in her EYFS setting to make engagement a central focus. Learning is an adventure, and the early year’s classroom is a perfect setting to initiate a thirst for knowledge and fun in young learners. Natalie believes it is a privilege to spend time with children at this crucial and exciting time in their lives, as they begin to find out about the world and their own abilities. 

Natalie runs an EYFS network- check out our training offer to see when the next meeting is.

Positive Behaviour for Learning Training

 (info to follow)

Communication and Makaton Training and Support

(info to follow)

Pupil Premium Reviews

(info to follow)

SENCO Coaching and Support

(info to follow)


We support the right of parents to choose where their child is educated.  We acknowledge however, the challenge for mainstream teachers when they are asked to teach children who are working at significantly earlier levels than their peers. We aim to provide support to our mainstream colleagues in order that these inclusive placements prove successful.

The aims of outreach support are to:

Support mainstream schools in meeting the precise and specific needs of pupils with complex learning difficulties

Help teachers and teaching assistants feel more confident in their day-to-day work in the classroom

Build this confidence through being able to talk to, observe and work alongside skilled practitioners from special school settings

Further develop partnership between special schools and mainstream schools in a strategic, planned and transparent way

Prevent failure and promote a climate of success

The pupils for whom support can be requested are those:

Who challenge the confidence and skills of teachers and support staff as a result of their special educational needs.

The kind of help may include:

Modelling of learning and teaching and opportunity to practise,

Advice on teaching, learning, assessment and target setting,

Advice on appropriate resources and information, signposting

Makaton sessions training

Advice about how to manage the education of pupils with specific conditions and syndromes,

Guidance at transition times,

Enabling teaching assistants/teachers to watch and try out teaching techniques, and to build their confidence in working with children

Advice and strategies to support:

  • Dyslexia,
  • Autism,
  • Challenging Behaviour
  • Communication & Interaction
  • Social & Emotional Support
  • EYFS Advice

Mainstream schools will need to use their own resources to release staff to work with special school staff.

Outreach Support is best met when schools can share their learning/new skills across a wide range of staff to meet the needs of children with special educational needs

In all cases, requests for support should be made by the Headteacher of the mainstream school or his/her representative, to the Outreach Co-ordinator of their local Special School/academy.

It is envisaged that an initial meeting will take place to discuss the level of support and the form it will take.  The initial visit is free (up to half a day); strategies, advice, case work and examples of packages of resources linked to areas of difficulty will be discussed. The visit may include an observation and the on roll school is responsible for informing people and gaining consent where appropriate.  A copy of the Summary of Support will be sent to the Headteacher/SENCo of the mainstream school.

After the initial visit/ outreach work there maybe additional packages of support that schools can access at a cost. Schools will need to discuss and commission this individually with Special Schools/Academies.


All special Schools/ Academies in receipt of outreach funding will have to:

  • Send an annual letter to all local school highlighting the outreach offer
  • Ensure the outreach offer is easily located on their website
  • Ensure the request form is easily accessible on their website and there is a clear request pathway
  • Have a named and designated co-ordinator for outreach
  • Produce an annual review to the LA on outcomes of outreach work

Outreach Flow Chart

Request Outreach Support