On Tuesday 26th February in Redhill, Gillian Hutton, headteacher of Foresters Primary School in Sutton spoke about her school. The school has an 'opportunity base', or autism unit, which currently has 42 children. Gillian spoke for around 40 minutes and then proceeded to take questions from the audience. A review of her talk is included here. Her presentation was also recorded and is now available to listen to in RealAudio format. In order to listen to the talk, you must have RealPlayer installed on your computer. You can follow the instructions on the BBC Radio 4 website on how to download the free version of the player from RealNetworks. The recording is broken down into 5 sections. Each section covers a topic or a question. Just click on the title or topic that interests you to start listening.
Read the review of the evening
On February 26th Gillian Hutton came to talk to our Redhill meeting about including children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) in mainstream school. Gillian is head of Foresters Primary School in Sutton which has a unit, or 'opportunity base' for 42 children with ASDs which opened in September 1998.
At first the base was in a temporary classroom but the school has now been extended so that it is part of the main school, not separate from it, and the children are regarded as Foresters pupils just like the rest.
Having the base has been of great benefit, not only to the children with ASD but to the whole school. Teachers have learnt to work visually and use less language, and this has benefited all the pupils. The children who do not have special needs have learnt about tolerance and different kinds of people.
Gillian told us how proud she is of the school, it's pupils, staff and parents for the way they have made inclusion so successful. Whilst there is still a lot to learn, and the system is not right for every child, overall it has been a very rewarding experience for all.
Listen to RealAudio recording
Review is © 2002 Sara Truman. Our thanks to Gillian Hutton for giving permission for the recordings to be made available
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