Autism in Schools is a national project which aims to ensure mainstream schools offer environments in which autistic students can thrive, supporting good mental health and promoting a sense of belonging for this group of young people.
It will help schools to develop an inclusive environment which will improve the experience autistic young people have at school and will also improve the confidence of their parents and carers that the school truly understands their child. For schools engaged with the Somerset SCERTS training, the project will build on this and be complimentary.
The project seeks to improve the school environment, foster good relationships between staff, parents and students and signpost families to sources of support.
Somerset’s Autism in Schools Project will build on the work and learning from the national Autism in Schools Projects which have already taken place and continue to be delivered.
The project will be rolled out in Somerset over the 2023/2024 academic year, and we have spaces for 10 schools.
- To improve attendance at school, primarily for those identified as having autism, evidenced through a reduction in days lost from school and to build resilience in schools and with families.
- To promote whole school cultural change, evidenced by adaptions to policy and guidance, supported by an organisational development plan which will promote positive autism support and practice in schools.
- To co-produce enhanced support to families and the child or young person
- To prevent/reduce exclusions, suspensions, out of area placements, education-residential placements, inappropriate movement into specialist settings including CAMHS inpatients.
- To improve and build on relationships with the SPCF and develop parent networks and support to families.
Offer to schools
- whole school continued professional development – Good Autism Practice and Autism and Anxiety – whole school training (through the Autism Education Trust)
- 1 day or 2 1/2 day ‘away day’ for members of Senior Leadership Team facilitated by the AET team to understand how the progression frameworks can help you implement a whole school plan.
- Support from the Autism in Schools project lead, to coordinate elements of the project.
- Support from Somerset Parent Carer Forum to establish parent carer network in your school.
- Support from Somerset Council Engagement and Participation lead who will work with students at 3 points of the project to collect their views and experiences.
- A one-off payment of £2000 to support the project.
Commitment required from schools
- Agreement from Executive Lead / Head of School and link person identified.
- An identified Autism champion within the school who will attend all modules
- Commitment for at least one person from each school to complete all the sessions and 50% of staff attending whole school continued professional development sessions.
- Commitment for Senior Leadership Team members to attend the away day (smaller schools at least 1 and larger schools at least 2 members)
- Identify a staff member to work with project lead and SPCF to create, develop and roll out a parental engagement and support offer.
- The school to undertake an audit of the school’s environment using a checklist which will be provided during the first part of the Autumn term
- Review of school behaviour policies and commitment to implement reasonable adjustments in-light of the development and learning sessions.
- Commitment to roll out the knowledge and implement recommendations/ actions within school environment.
- To introducing One-page profiles / communication passports etc or other measures to increase personalisation and to support improved information sharing.
- To share outcomes and successes with other schools so that the impact can be widened in the longer term.
Role of Somerset Parent Carer Forum
- Act as the project lead and main point of contact for schools
- Work with the school to create, develop and roll out a parental engagement and support offer.
- Support the building of relationships between schools and families.
- Facilitate peer to peer support sessions for parents.
- Help to produce surveys /review and evaluate the project of work.
For each school involved in the project we will collect baseline data and outcome measures.
There will be a 360 approach to collecting experiences of the project with staff, parents, and children surveys at the start, middle and end of the project. The SPCF will support the parents and the SEND Engagement Officer will work with children and young people to collect their views.
If you would be interested in joining the project or have any questions, please email email@example.com