THE ISLAND PROJECT SCHOOL
The Island Project School was set up to provide a school for children and young people with autism. It was founded by parents whose children had previously been taught at home using Applied Behaviour Analysis ("ABA").
Without functional communication, adults with autism can be isolated from their family, community and even carers. Without clear and early intervention, children and young people may grow into adults with no communication or independence skills meaning that they become the most dependent, and sadly most vulnerable group whilst needing the largest amount of support. If, as a school, we can give young people a means of communication plus independence skills, we can give them a better quality of life, whilst reducing their long-term dependence upon their community.
Unfortunately, whilst Local Authorities have a legal obligation to provide appropriate education for all children, they do not have the space, funding, or expertise to provide appropriate education for all pupils. This applies particularly those with complex communication needs and associated difficulties, or for those who have ABA on their EHC Plans.
In the West Midlands, there were no ABA schools when the Island Project was founded, and this remains largely the case. The School was founded using the principles of ABA, and the Pyramid Approach to Education which gives pupils an effective means of communication using the Picture Exchange System.
The School recognises that having an effective means of communication, putting in place strategies around managing sensory difficulties, and the development of independence skills are key to enabling children and young people to successfully access education and a better quality of life in the future. In recognition of this, all pupils at the School have input from a Multi-Disciplinary Team which includes Behaviour Analysts, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists specialising in Sensory Integration.
The School originated with three pupils in a small unit in Balsall Common. It was founded as a charity, and within a few years, had outgrown its original building and moved to new premises at Diddington Hall in Meriden.
In 2024, the school is due to move to new premises at Jerrings Hall Farm, Tanworth Lane, Solihull, B90 4DX