Six members of staff from Lakeside School visited Saint Gerardus School in Belgium for 4 days. We also met our colleague, who spent two weeks work shadowing within the school, sharing her knowledge of Intensive Interaction and learning more about teaching stories and communication.
We were greeted at the school by all the students and staff who made us feel very welcome. We learnt about the oganisation of the school and funding of the whole establishment. It was interesting to see how the multi-agency approach works, all within the campus of Saint Gerardus.
The school building was very well planned for the needs of the pupils, there was plenty of space for independent movement. All students were entitled to equipment to help them increase their mobility and access the curriculum. We visited Ter Heide provision which provides care for people with multiple difficulties. This highlighted the different approaches to SEN education in the UK and Belgium, which was interesting to see.
We had a presentation prepared by a secondary student in English, using his Tellus computer. He was a nonverbal student with multiple physical difficulties, who used his foot and hand to operate a computer programme to communicate with us. We were very impressed with this technology, and will investigate similar equipment in the UK.
Staff from Lakeside and the Podebrady, then taught a planned lesson around the theme of the Circus, through out the school. In the afternoon students presented their activities to the whole school. We said good bye to all the students and staff and thanked them for their hospitality.
Through out the visit we were made very welcome and enjoyed the planned hospitality from the whole school.