Somerset

'Family-style' class in Radstock for children at risk of exclusion

Anita and her foster son
Image caption Long-term foster carer Anita with Caydn, who's six

A 'family-style' classroom has opened at a Radstock school for children with behavioural issues who are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education.

The classroom is decorated like a family living room, with toys and soft furnishings.

St Nicholas C of E's head, Nicola Smith said: "They'd been rejected by previous settings, and they needed to know we were not going to reject them."

Children with behavioural issues can be referred to specialist units.

Outbursts among the children are now rare, and pupils are learning skills such as sharing and describing their feelings clearly, as well as the curriculum, Ms Smith added.

The new classroom - called the Midford Class - opened in September. Pupils learn social skills through playing, they eat meals with the staff, and join mainstream classes at their own pace.

There is also another separate 'calm down' playroom, and outside play area.

The pupils are a mix of ages up to year four.

Image caption Zaiban is in year two

Long term-foster mum Anita has been caring for Caydn for four years.

She said: "He's more calm, he still has a few issues and home life is much better, he's thriving.

"Caydn is actually now making friends, whereas before he couldn't make friends because children were a bit wary of him because if he saw something he had to have it, whereas children in this classroom are more understanding of him."

Image caption Teacher Joshua Moore with Huxley

Referring to her previous classroom, Niyasa, seven, said: "They made me do a lot.......a lot of writing. It was too loud in the classroom, and one day in the classroom I screamed - 'Be quiet!'

She added that in the new classroom, things had "got a bit better".

Image caption Headteacher Nicola Smith says they wanted to show children they would not be rejected