Middletown Centre’s Excellence in Autism Education Award

The purpose of the Autism Accreditation award is to promote the development and use of best practice strategies in the education of autistic children and young people throughout Northern Ireland. The award will recognise those schools who have achieved high standards in their provision of education for autistic students.

(Provide Link to Best Practice Resource, SLD resource, Outdoor Play resource)

It is designed to promote self-assessment and reflective practice by schools ensuring that investment made by Middletown Centre for Autism, in support for autism specific education in schools, is sustained. In order to avail of a Whole School Referral schools will have autism as a key theme on their school development plan. After they have completed the programme and maintained practice, they can progress to acquiring the Excellence in Autism Education Award.

The award enhances the Middletown Centre for Autism whole school referral programme by providing a context for continuing contact with schools and support for best practice in the capacity building process.  As such the award aims to embed professional learning and staff development while designating the opportunity to follow up on strategies and learning support programmes recommended by Middletown Centre for Autism staff during the whole school referral process.

Schools that have been involved in the whole school programme are expected to complete the school support plan goals following the formal conclusion of the programme and provide evidence that they have done so.










Applying for the Award (Collapsible please click title for more information)

Schools who have completed the whole school programme and are interested in applying for award should contact the Centre and request the School Reflection of Autism Practice form.  Once completed this should be returned to Middletown Centre for Autism.

Middletown Centre for Autism is currently developing a resource to enable all schools to review and benchmark their autism specific education practice.

Using the Framework (Collapsible please click title for more information)

School staff will complete the Autism Award Framework (see below) and create evidence folders to document how each criterion in the framework is being met.  The Centre will complete observations and interviews with key stakeholders to ensure quality assurance for the award.

Autism Award Framework(Collapsible please click title for more information)

The framework is divided into 4 areas of focus. These are noted below:

Board of Management and Leadership
• The school management team promotes and facilitates an autism competent environment, which is demonstrated in the school’s plan for special educational needs.
• The school management team ensure that high standards of provision are in place and that practice is monitored, reviewed and evaluated.
• Systems are in place to create the conditions for the staff team to work together effectively.

The Learning Environment
• Visual strategies are used to engage the autistic child or young person in tasks, to facilitate communication and to provide predictability.
• Proactive autism specific strategies are evident and are used effectively.
• A low arousal ethos is apparent throughout the school and the sensory environment is adapted to ensure that it is conducive to the needs of pupils with Autism.

Learner Progress and the Impact on Learning
• Where children and young people are actively involved and contribute to planning their own education, in setting shared learning objectives, and in reviewing and assessing their progress.
• Parents are actively involved in planning for consistent approaches across both the home and school environments.

Parent, Pupil, and Community
• School management promote and facilitate an environment of high aspirations and improving outcomes for all autistic children and young people, which is demonstrated in the school’s plan for autism provision.
• School staff ensure that a culture of high standards of provision is in place and that practice is monitored, reviewed, and evaluated.
• A reflective framework is used on a regular basis for example as part of School Development Planning.
• Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s education.

Outcomes(Collapsible please click title for more information)

• School will receive a gold, silver or bronze award which will be reviewed after 3 years.
• The school will develop the capacity to act as exemplars and champions of good practice in autism specific education.













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