Staff, pupils and parents at Oversands School are celebrating after they recently received Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Autism Accreditation is an autism-specific quality assurance programme. It was set up in 1992 to improve the support available to autistic people in organisations throughout the UK and across the world, including local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, local autism societies and private companies. To gain accreditation, organisations have to meet a standard of excellence and follow a framework for continuous self-examination and development. Over 500 organisations are now accredited.

The acclaimed award, which aims to improve the quality of care and education for people with autism through a unified standard of excellence, provides parents and carers with peace of mind when choosing a school for their child. The accreditation is designed to provide autism-specific quality assurance on the provision and services a school offers.

The report noted:

Oversands School’s autism provision is impressive. It is particularly impressive because of the fast journey that they are on and the recognition that there is still a long way to go. The strongest aspect of the provision is the positive attitude of the staff, many of whom have changed their working methods to embrace good autism practise. This has been stimulated by extensive training and the supportive work of the therapists which is well received by the staff. It is particularly impressive how the staff use PDA friendly language. The staff go out of their way to make the students feel comfortable, reflect on their behaviour and to achieve. The school has made a major investment in the environment with the creation of the nurture areas.

 

Throughout it was observed that the staff were skilled in applying PDA language skills. The staff rarely if ever used commands and gentle diffusion language was used. It was particularly noticeable that the staff got down to the physical level of the students in a number of scenarios. It was observed in the younger group that the staff would often sit on the floor to allow for better communication.

 

Good communication was encouraged between peers. This was shown to work particularly well in a junior class where the students rewarded each other for good behaviour towards each other. In a number of observations staff were observed skilfully diffusing the anxiety exhibited by some students and to work collaboratively to support a student.

 

There were examples of good visuals in some observations. An excellent example was again found with the junior class where the ‘smiley face’ rewards were displayed on the board when the student received the reward. The visual was backed up by verbal praise.

 

Well done everyone.