Cherry Garden Outreach Support Service (COSS)
Cherry Garden School is Southwark’s primary school for children with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties and communication difficulties. Its outreach teacher Anna Parsons is seconded by Southwark for three days a week to support children with special educational needs in mainstream schools, who are working significantly below their peers. These children are referred through Southwark’s SEN department, or schools can directly request support for a particular child, using the referral form available on the Cherry Garden website (subject to approval by Southwark). Support for autistic children is provided through Southwark’s Autism Support Team. Once a referral has been approved, and when a space is available, Anna will come into the school for a series of visits (usually four, although this is flexible). She will observe the child and talk to the professionals concerned with him or her, and then suggest targets or strategies that will support the child’s learning. On subsequent visits, she can support in whatever way is most helpful for the school (for example planning with the teacher, modelling particular strategies or types of activity, training staff in programmes that will benefit the child, attending IEP reviews, working alongside the speech and language therapist or other professionals, supporting with assessment etc.). Anna’s reports of her visit are shared with the school and the local authority, and the schools can also pass them on to the parents.
Shona Morgan works one day a week to run training courses for Mainstream colleagues and is a regional Makaton tutor. Cherry Garden are also a member of the Southwark Schools Teaching Alliance. The alliance was established in 2015 and brings together schools and selected partners who share a commitment to working together to achieve a vision of an education system where children and young people are nurtured and challenged to flourish in all aspects of their life.