We have always followed a child centred philosophy to learning here at Castle Hill School. In the early days of the school’s inception Jean Parker began to run Intensive Interaction sessions with groups of students across the school. Staff and students worked together, under Jean’s supervision. Every week an aspect of interaction was highlighted and then work was shared and evaluated. Jean’s enthusiasm made this a very supportive and positive experience and staff quickly realised the benefits of the approach. Video evidence of these interventions were shared during workshops on Staff training days. Students who were considered ‘hard to engage’ were shown initiating interaction and sharing communication. Staff were speaking enthusiastically about their ‘WOW’ moments and Intensive Interaction was becoming part of everyday life at Castle Hill.

As well as working with staff, Jean also began to deliver sessions for parents and carers. Training was also offered to lunchtime support staff and health care workers. In November 2013 we were lucky enough to have a visit from Phoebe Caldwell, an expert practitioner in Intensive Interaction. After spending a day working with students Phoebe shared her knowledge and ideas about how we could develop our students’ communication through Intensive Interaction. It was an inspiring day and made us focus upon our vision that Castle Hill become an ‘Intensive Interaction School’.  Training continues both within school and as part of outreach work.

As a school we started to look at using Intensive Interaction to engage pupils and also extend their learning through engagement profiling. This led the development of our ‘Achievement For All’ (AFA) provision.

An important part of Intensive Interaction is our support group. These informal meetings are held termly and provide opportunities for staff to share experiences through video and discussion. A working party has recently developed a policy for Intensive Interaction, a leaflet for parents and volunteers, and information for the school website. We look forward to continuing our journey by celebrating termly Intensive Interaction Weeks beginning in October 2016, where we aim to share our passion and knowledge with others.