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Intensive Interaction
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Lakeside School is a Special Needs School for students aged 2-19 years. Over a third of our pupils have Autism. Learning to communicate is the biggest challenge facing all pupils within our schools and it is also this factor that links all special schools throughout the European community. Our project is to send four staff on a one week work shadowing programme to Estonia and Belgium. Our aim is to train staff in our partner schools in the principles and show them how to practice a communicative approach known as Intensive Interaction. Our school is recognized as a centre of excellence for Intensive Interaction and is involved in exploring new approaches to communication for our students. The work shadowing programme is an ideal vehicle to explore possible options. Pauline Tofts is a trained Intensive interaction co ordinator who teaches staff how to practice this fundamental communicative approach,she will also support in the implementation. We have two partner schools in Estonia and Belgium, which are schools for students with severe special educational needs. Belgium has already completed two Comenius projects, Estonia has recently completed the KA1 work shadowing programme and they are keen to create international links. Due to the interest and requests from these partner schools Lakeside feels committed to support the training and implementation of Intensive Interaction throughout these Educational settings. This will give staff an opportunity to learn about best practice in other SEN schools internationally, look at areas of specialism , improve training provision, and learn through diverse culture / language opportunities. They will train colleagues in partner schools in the fundamentals of Intensive Interaction. Through the Lifelong Learning Programme staff will be given the opportunity to develop by researching this important area of the school's development plan, gain self confidence and continue to embed international education across all areas of Lakeside School. Staff will return to school and disseminate their results through presentations to the Senior Management Team, Erasmus + team and other staff. They will in turn be involved in the development of communication approaches for students throughout the school with their invaluable insight into SEN practice / curricula in Estonia and Belgium. Etwinning will be used as a platform for support, advice and sharing good practice. Lakeside school will benefit from the research and students and staff will be involved in new approaches. Staff taking part in the project will grow in confidence, and enable them to be more assertive in their roles. Results will shared within our local school partnership, with other special schools in Hertfordshire via email, networking and publications. Further publicity will be encouraged nationally through SEN journals and the national press.
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