Specialist Base Provision


Copper Base – Resourced Provision Base for Children with Complex Communication Needs

A warm welcome to Copper Base here at Damers First School.

Our key aim within this specialist teaching base is to help every child develop their social interaction skills to a level where they can learn in a mainstream class, interact successfully with their families, friends and teachers and contribute as independent, confident, happy members of the school and wider community.

Our Pupils

Copper Base is a 10 place base for children experiencing significant communication difficulties impacting on social interaction and social inclusion. The children in Copper Base are all able to access a suitably adapted mainstream curriculum.

Specialist advice is sought from all of the professionals involved with your child to indicate whether this provision would be suitable for your child and whether they would benefit from being in a mainstream environment, but require more intensive support than would normally be available in a mainstream setting.

The children that access Copper Base all have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that identifies social communication needs as the primary need. Places within the base are allocated by a panel of professionals who determine whether a child’s needs meet the admissions criteria for the base and whether this provision is suitable.

Key Staff

Tom Bracey
Base Leader

Copper Base is led by Tom Bracey our SENCO.

The base leader works closely with the base teacher, mainstream staff and many outside agency professionals to ensure that children within the base access a broad and balanced curriculum and that barriers to learning and social inclusion are proactively removed.

The base leader leads the Annual Review process for all children and works closely with parents to ensure a holistic approach to children’s provision.

Sarah Kenny
Base Teacher

The children are taught by an experienced specialist teacher, Sarah Kenny.

The base teacher ensure that every child’s needs are individually planned for during their learning time within the base and within their mainstream lessons. They provide highly personalised programmes of teaching and are available to observe and support in mainstream lessons to ensure that all of the essential skills learnt within the small group environment are transferred into the wider context of the mainstream classroom and beyond.

Targeted specialist teaching is delivered in order to develop key skills, with a particular focus on social communication and social understanding. Staffing, support levels and adaptation of resources and activities are planned to encourage maximum independence for each individual child. Staff throughout the school recognise their joint responsibility to support pupils within Copper Base.  They support both educational and social inclusion and facilitate joint planning between the Copper Base team and the mainstream class teams.

Emma Norris
Senior Teaching Assistant

Jane Gardiner
Senior Teaching Assistant

Karen Berry
Teaching Assistant

Kate Gore
Teaching Assistant

Specialist teaching assistants support in the base and within mainstream lessons where needed. They also deliver individual programmes under the guidance of the base leader and outside agency professionals eg: speech and language programmes, sensory diets, occupational therapy programmes.

Sarah Mills
Speech and Language Therapist

The children have weekly access to a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist that work within the base.

The Speech and Language Therapist delivers highly specialist programmes as an integral part of the curriculum. This is a highly valued part of our provision within Copper Base and the development of these basic skills enables the children to develop as effective communicators within school and beyond.

All staff at Damers promote strong inclusive practice and demonstrate an understanding of the specific needs of pupils with CCN. The school promotes a feeling of belonging and ensures that pupils feel safe and secure and recognise themselves as valued members of a whole school community.

Individual Child Led Planning

When a child starts at Damers in Copper Base, consideration is given immediately to any actions that need to be taken to facilitate a pupil’s inclusion. Activities and expectations are suitably adapted to take into account individual needs. Planning for potential difficulty is proactive, so that all staff are able to respond appropriately if any difficulties occur.

The exact level of integration within the mainstream classroom will vary according to individual needs. Individual timescales will vary, but children will learn alongside their mainstream peers for a part of the school day and the level of integration will increase over time. Integration opportunities will be varied and will not necessarily mean whole class inclusion all of the time.

The continued suitability of placement will be considered at annual reviews of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) and if necessary during interim reviews. The base leader, base teacher and the Headteacher attend all Annual Reviews.

Home School Communication

Home school communication and a strong relationship with families is integral to the way we work at Damers and especially in Copper Base. We believe strong partnership is essential to enable children to gain the most from not only their school experience but also their home life.

Alongside the more formal meetings that take place, we also hold regular catch up meetings, and provide home school communication books to ensure a consistent and shared responsibility for your child’s learning journey. Parents are actively encouraged to engage with the Copper Base staff to ensure that all relevant information is shared and contributes to a holistic picture of the children, so that individual provision can be tailored.

We welcome visits to Copper Base by appointment.

Please contact Tom Bracey (Base Leader) via the school office (office@damers.dorset.sch.uk or 01305 264924) if you have any further questions about our base provision  or if you would like to arrange a visit to the school.

We are incredibly proud of our Copper Base provision – thank you for your interest.