Special Education Needs & Disability

SEND schools and young adult groups

Our Reach Out and Reveal programme, which began as a pilot project in 2018 places South Asian dance artists ‘in residence’ at schools for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Reach Out and Reveal aims to support the physical, emotional and communication needs of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Condition and SEND. Specialist Akademi dance practitioners provide weekly dance and movement sessions across partner schools, working closely with school and teaching staff. We adapt the delivery of Reach Out and Reveal sessions to provide total flexibility to suit all pupil abilities and access needs, as well as school timetables.

The unique movement vocabulary of South Asian dance provides participants with platforms for self-expression, creativity and enlivened social interactions, while fostering their core emotional development.

Introducing our Reach Out and Reveal programme

“All the staff have given positive feedback and high praise for the sessions, which has led other teachers to ask when it will be their turn. The dance artist was incredibly flexible and sensitive to the needs of a very busy school.”

Al Miller, Assistant Headteacher, Manor School

Key objectives

  • Positively empowered
    To support children and young people on the autistic spectrum learn how to express themselves through movement and gesture.
  • Positive relationships
    To develop, facilitate and motivate children and young people on the autistic spectrum to engage in positive peer to peer interaction that is fun and playful.
  • Emotionally well
    Reduce stress and anxiety for children and young people on the autistic spectrum when trying out, exploring and participating in new activities.

Benefits to pupils

  • Increased physical activity
  • Improved self-expression
  • Improved social interactions
  • Enhanced creativity and imagination
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Enhanced mental and emotional well-being

Our impact

A total of 105 days of delivery in SEND schools this year
Reaching up to 60 pupils a day in 2022


To enquire about a similar programme taking place in your school, please get in touch with us at info@akademi.co.uk.

Where are we working

Manor School and The Avenue School in Brent, Papillon House School in Tadworth. In the past, we have worked with Cambridge School and Swiss Cottage School. The positive impact of Akademi’s dance sessions supported Cambridge School to implement their own dance unit, employing full-time dance and movement practitioners to devise and deliver in-house dance sessions.

Supported by BBC Children in Need, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


In 2022, we commissioned a 3-year research project led by two academic researchers. The evidential learning from this research will be disseminated to the wider health and education sector. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the project will also provide an opportunity for three South Asian dance artists to train as SEND specialists and to expand the programmes reach to a fourth school.

“The artist provides a safe and secure environment for each pupil to offer ideas and suggestions, whether that be for music or movements, and is able to develop these ideas so that everyone involved can participate. She has a positive influence on the confidence of each of the pupils and is supportive and encouraging of whatever they do. She empowers the pupils with a sense of ownership over what they do by allowing them to select the music and contribute to the creative/choreographic process.”

Adrian, Teacher at Papillon House School

“Child B has significant anxieties. Participating in Akademi’s sessions has had significant impact on his ability to cope with music and noise. We are thankful for everything Akademi have done to support this change.”

Teacher, Manor School

“The students and staff at Cambridge School are so grateful for the opportunities that working with Akademi dance provides. The artist has such an insight into the strengths and needs of the students and develops personalised programs of provision. She then skilfully engages the learners to participate, express and develop their own skills. Learners come to Cambridge School with a wide range of complex needs. Enjoying and achieving through dance is a wonderful way to support confidence, communication and progress.”

Nathan Lyons, Director of Learning for Key Stage 3, Cambridge School

“Every child is unique so the lessons should be just as unique to cater to individual needs, nurturing their growth and goals. Working in SEN schools has really allowed me to think outside the box and create a lesson plan that makes dance a transferable life skill. It’s not just about choreography but how it can emotionally regulate, cognitively stimulate and benefit the mental as well as physical wellbeing of every child.”

Emiko Ishii, Artist, Akademi

“All pupils who have accessed Akademi’s dance sessions have benefitted in a variety of ways. For some pupils, simply developing an interest in looking at and accepting being near to the room, or in the room where the session is taking place, is a huge step for them. For others, developing their confidence to participate, develop relationships with others and express themselves through dance has most definitely been achieved. The artist and Akademi have worked extremely well to ensure that relationships with both the staff and the pupils have been built on trust and the artist shows an understanding of the children’s likes and needs which enable her to adapt the sessions as well as being more child-led at times. The children have responded to her enthusiasm and as a result there has been a reduction in behaviours during her sessions.”

Katie Lonnborg, Head Teacher of Papillon House School

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