A new addition to the Prior's Court School
timetable is creating an effective and
engaging beat for our young people.
Weekly drumming workshops were launched in the first term
of this academic year to enhance the already strong arts
provision within the school curriculum.
The 30-minute-long workshops, held on-site and led by
Autism Practitioner and musician Tomson Chauke, use
Conga-style drums, with the aim of the sessions being
for our young people to learn a rhythm which they can
recall and recite, while giving them the chance to express
themselves musically and creatively.
Helen Franks, Prior's Court Education Lead (Years 3 to 10),
said: "The arts provide a powerful means for our young
people, many of whom are preverbal, to communicate and
"Tomson has previously been heavily involved in other
musical-based activities at Prior's Court, including the
production of our song Let Me Shine and the Let Me Shine
Festival, as well as with the Prior's Court Band, so he was the
perfect person to run the sessions.
"We have previously seen positive effects on our young
people coming from one-on-one workshops Tomson has held
- which helped to form the Prior's Court Band - so we were
keen to extend this to some of our younger students."
Virtual Reality providing
Prior's Court young people are being given the
opportunity to enjoy new experiences and accustom
themselves to real world situations, without leaving
the comfort of their classroom.
Thanks to a generous donation, our education
department has purchased four Virtual Reality (VR)
headsets for use by our young people.
Currently, the headsets are being used:
• To accustom young people to scenarios they are
likely to encounter outside of school which, due to
being affected by autism, they may find stressful or
anxiety-inducing - such as being on a bus or at an
• To provide relaxation for young people via sensory
• To give our young people experiences they may not
be able to otherwise access, such as skiing.
A 360° camera allows our staff members to record
environments inside and outside of the school grounds
to provide a wider range of scenarios with which our
young people can familiarise themselves.
Young people began using the headsets at the beginning
of this academic year, with some filmed recently by the
BBC and Thomson Reuters for news broadcasts.
Nuno Guerreiro, computing teacher at Prior's Court
School, said: "A key part of our computing curriculum
is about working with other departments across Prior's
Court to use technology to facilitate our young people's
wider learning and developing their independence.
"VR headsets provide a valuable contribution to this
approach - from preparing our young people for
'everyday' scenarios they may encounter outside of
school and familiarisation with locations they may visit
on work placements, to using the sensory experiences to
complement the work of our occupational therapists.
"We are very excited by the opportunities VR can
New beat in school