Shenton Primary School

Empowering and nurturing young minds to achieve excellence

Designated Specialist Provision

Atlantis Classroom

What do we mean by Designated Special Provision, (DSP)?

A DSP is a specialist provision, it is not a mainstream school, it is not a special school. It is in the middle and suits children who require elements of both.

At Shenton we are fortunate to have this provision as part of our mainstream school. It is a bridge that provides children with the security of learning at their own pace and ability. It gives them time to develop the foundation skills they need to access mainstream aspects of education, including, social communication, interaction management of emotions, and independence.

The majority of learning is carried out in a small group and 1-1 where necessary. This supports intensive learning in the style, or approach each of the children may need.

Information you will find on this page: 

  • Vision & Aims of our DSP
  • Staffing
  • The Learning Environment
  • Curriculum & Provision
  • Inclusion
  • A link to our 'Provision Statement'
  • Parent Partnership
  • Admissions Criteria 
  • Transport Application Link
  • Moving on
  • A short video

Our Vision

‘Our vision is at the heart of inclusion across the school, we strive to ensure that all children, regardless of the need or disability, will achieve their full potential’.


Our Aim is to provide children with:

  • A safe, nurturing environment where they are happy.
  • The targeted advised provision recommended to support their progress and development both personally and academically.
  • Purposeful activities surrounded by a learning environment that encourages communication & interaction skills.
  • Carefully planned opportunities to integrate into the mainstream aspects of school life as they become ready. Most importantly, we aim to provide education and experiences for children who require something more and something different; That gives them a sense of belonging within the whole school community, based on our strong school ethos of respect and inclusion.


Our staff in the DSP are a team of qualified, warm and highly passionate teachers and teaching assistants. They have had relevant training to support children with Communication & Interaction Difficulties and Autism. The team are experienced in mainstream education and inclusion of children with a variety of SEND needs.

We recognise that first and foremost, it is essential to build a positive relationship with the children, so they feel safe and secure. This is where our dedicated staff, learning environment and knowing enough about the child, even before they arrive, greatly supports the settling of children & this positive relationship.

The Learning Environment

The DSP is based within the main school to ensure it remains part of the school community and contributes to raising awareness, acceptance and celebration of differences.  It also allows for elements of mainstream experiences to be subtly weaved into the children’s day.

The learning spaces comprise of two purposeful areas,

  • The ‘Atlantis’ classroom which provides a low distraction learning environment.
  • The ‘Utopia’ sensory room, a calming area with specialist sensory equipment.

Both rooms have been carefully planned, fully equipped, and resourced to effectively meet the needs of the children for both learning and calm/quiet time.

The spaces are in close proximity to the fully equipped accessible toilet and the outdoor playground.

Curriculum & Provision

The Shenton DSP caters for children with Communication and Interaction Difficulties with a possible diagnosis of Autism.

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum, which is appropriately modified to meet the individual needs of the children. Planning, preparation, and delivery ensures that the following foundations are in place for children to retain and build on their learning:

  • Engagement and enjoyment
  • Communication and understanding
  • Personal and social development including increasing awareness of self, their own emotions, and relationships with others.
  • Independence, including life-skills.

 Although the daily routine is structured, each child has a personalised timetable of learning based on the outcomes in their Educational Healthcare Plan, (EHCP) and Autism Education Trust, (AET), Progression Framework. This ensures professional advice & recommendations are in place.

Other approaches that we may use to promote independence is back chaining, structured learning and task plans, (taken from the TEACCH approach).

With the children having Communication and Interaction Difficulties, there are a variety of communication systems that may be used. The recommendations will be taken from their EHCP along with advice from ongoing professional involvement.

Some of the communication systems that we may use are:

  • Picture Exchange Communication System, (PEC’s)
  • Makaton
  • Signs & symbols
  • Visuals – timetable / choice boards
  • Colourful Semantics

 Whilst we offer a broad balanced & exciting curriculum to suit each child’s needs, we also provide equally important opportunities for children to develop their abilities and personalities using a variety of activities.

As in the mainstream school, links are maintained with external agencies to ensure continued support and advice for the children’s progress. 

The SEND policy in the main school continues to apply to children in the DSP, with the same expectation of following the statutory guidance outlined in the Special Needs Code of Practice.


Staff based in the DSP, work in collaboration with our mainstream staff so that the learning can influence consistency, provision and practice beyond the specialist classroom.

With the DSP being a bridge, children are given opportunities for inclusion within the wider school, (with their ability year group). This is reviewed regularly and planned in when we feel that the child has developed the skills & attention to access parts of the mainstream school day, such as, assembly, break times, lunchtimes, PE or even trips, (at whichever stage of development they are at). This arrangement ensures that the children are recognised as part of the whole school community.

To ensure consistency in this area, we have created three inclusion pathways which enables and encourages each child to work towards his/her potential at their pace.

All three pathways include a high level of 1-1 and small group sessions where individual needs are met. Within all the curriculum pathways there will be an overarching emphasis on, effective communication, positive interaction, independence and life skills, autonomy, recognising and managing feelings and emotions.

Detailed Provision Statement can be accessed here: Shenton DSP Provision Statement

Parent Partnership

Parent partnership and communication is vital to settling the children and supports staff to make any adjustments or keep in mind any useful information that will have an impact on their child. Currently we have home school books in place, however this could change in future to a more effective communication system.  

We believe it is important to keep parents well informed of their child’s progress. We communicate key aspects of the child’s day at school and would welcome any comments from parents in the home school books. 

Admissions Criteria

Shenton Primary school is not responsible for decisions or allocation of places in the DSP. Entry into the DSP is decided by the Local Authority consultation process.

Our DSP has places for up to 10 children, from Year 1 to 6, who already have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), which details the need for communication and interaction/autism. 

The Shenton DSP is not designed to meet the needs of children with highly complex, sensory, behavioural, physical or medical needs.

Attending our mainstream school does NOT give you greater priority of gaining a place in the DSP.


Please follow the link below to apply for transport once you have confirmed a placement for your child. A successful application will be dependent upon the distance between your home and school.


Please note, the transport application can take up to 6 weeks to be processed & finalised.

This may have an impact on the child’s start date, although you may wish to make your own alternative transport arrangements to bring them to and from school in the interim.

Moving On

Children at Shenton move to another setting by the end of Year 6 or earlier if a change of placement is required.

Any change of placement can be discussed as part of the EHCP annual review.

The options could mean transition into one of the following:

  • A complete mainstream school at Primary /Secondary level, (dependent upon the current phase they are in), if they have exceeded expectations in the DSP and spending a higher percentage of time in mainstream rather than DSP. 
  • A continuation of the DSP provision in an appropriate Secondary school - if this has suited the child well.
  • A transfer into a Special school – if the child is not making progress with links into the mainstream school.


Here is a short video about the type of things the children have been doing, this will be updated termly.

Designated Specialist Provision

Atlantis Class