The Bridge Integrated Learning Space (ILS) opened in temporary accommodation in January 2015 and moved to a permanent site based near the Angel Islington in June 2017. The ILS is set up to provide education for 25 students with autism and different learning profiles. These students were previously at schools that were not in a position to provide the right level of support and provision, and have come to the ILS to benefit from a wholly student centred approach towards the way in which they learn. The students at the ILS will generally have a profile that includes a combination of:
- Sensory Processing Differences; how we take in information, how we process that information and how we respond to it.
- Emotional Regulation Differences; how we manage our emotions, how we react to our feelings and how we understand others.
- Differences in Communication and Interaction; how we understand communication and express, how we articulate who we are and interact with the world around us.
The ILS has developed a unique and innovative approach which seeks to truly integrate the work of all of the people who care and support our students. The school works collaboratively with all different agencies and disciplines; to maximise positive outcomes for students and to support parents/families in engaging with their young people in order to keep them safely within the home and their community.
At the ILS, there is an unequivocal commitment to a holistic multi-agency team approach around each individual student, which has at its core the principle of “unconditional positive regard”. Working from this ‘student-centric’ position, the ILS prioritises sensory and emotional regulation and developing alternative forms of communication and social competence skills as these are well recognised in the evidence base as leading to best long term positive outcomes.
For many of our students, active participation and being present in their local community is a crucial component of their curriculum offer as this will always be an important aspect for lifelong learning Therefore the learning opportunities are located both in school and also outside of it for a significant proportion of our students’ time with us.
Our MIssion :
- To provide an unconditionally supportive provision for students who in the past would have typically had to leave their home to attend a residential school setting at a huge social cost to the family, to the young person and a significant financial cost for the local authority (ultimately the tax payer).
- To provide a provision that is close to the students’ home and family in order that they can stay living at home carrying on their lives with the people they know close to them in a place they are familiar with.
- To provide ongoing support for families, carers and parents to feel confident and self-assured in understanding and supporting their young people at home, and assist them in developing their resilience through periods of change and transition – especially changes brought on during Puberty and Adolescence.
- To provide a bespoke student centred approach around each young person, building on their strengths, their personal interests and the positive aspects of their learning profiles.
- Overcoming the potential barriers that our students may face when learning, and looking for new innovative ways in which to provide evidence of progress and development.
- To work from within a ‘Neurodiversity Approach’ that looks at the ways in which autism is experienced and understood differently in different cultural contexts. An approach that challenges a ‘deficit’ model of autism and instead values the skills and abilities of people with autism. This approach looks at how different ‘communities’ may develop and structure knowledge about autism differently and how ‘autism’ can be represented in different ways.
- To be an outstanding provider involved in evidence creation and sharing, on supporting young people and their families in the most effective ways that deliver authentic life long outcomes.
- To offer residential provision when needed, but to view this as a short term arrangement.
- To continue to support and work with the families of the students who are in the residential provision.