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Andrew Griffith MP visits LVS Hassocks to meet Principal and learn more about their specialist education for children with a diagnosis of autism

Photos by Liz Finlayson/Vervate

Andrew Griffith, Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs, visited multi award winning specialist school for children with a diagnosis of autism, LVS Hassocks on Friday 29th April to meet with Principal, Jen weeks, to find out more about the benefits of a specialist education for children with a diagnosis of autism.

Mr Griffith – who lists schools among his priorities as a Member of Parliament – visited the school to meet the principal, for a tour around the campus and to meet some of the students and talk to them about the difference LVS Hassocks has made for their education and for them as individuals.

On social media Mr Griffith highlights his passion for education and has pledged “to support children, teachers and schools by developing training programmes by 2024 to give children access to great schools and great teachers.”

LVS Hassocks were delighted to host Mr Griffith allowing him the opportunity to learn more about the schools’ values and learning environment that enables children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum to thrive and learn in a safe and specialist environment.

Jen Weeks, Principal of LVS Hassocks said:

“We were delighted to welcome Mr Griffith and showcase LVS Hassocks. It was a pleasure touring Mr Griffith around our school and talking about the benefits LVS Hassocks has on children with a diagnosis of autism, we are proud of what we do and the impact we have on our student’s lives post LVS Hassocks”.

Andrew Griffith, Member of Parliament said:

“I received a very warm welcome at LVS Hassocks and it was good to see first-hand the work they do.   

“I welcome the National Autism Strategy which sets out the real steps Government is going to take over the next five years – to create a society which is inclusive of people with autism.  The Strategy will give the extra the support needed – backed by £75 million funding in its first year – to improve diagnosis and education through to employment.” 

 For more information about LVS Hassocks, please visit https://www.lvs-hassocks.org.uk/

 

 

World Autism Acceptance Week 2022 – what can employers do to create a safe environment for individuals with autism at work?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in every 100 people are on the autism spectrum and according to the National Autistic Society, there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

 

Qube Learning, a leading national recruitment and training provider, has delivered training to many individuals who are autistic, and they believe that the right work setting plays a major part in their success in employment. Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, says: “The stigma of autism is that people cannot live alone or work – this is not true for all autistic people and is one perception of the disability that must be challenged. We have trained employees who live and function by themselves, who proudly own their autism, and want their employer to know their personal story and how far they have come. Everyone comes with their own unique make up and employers should be prepared to see talent on an individual basis, not expecting everyone to work and perform in the same way – that’s unrealistic and mechanical.

 

“With 21.7% of autistic adults in the UK in full-time or part-time paid employment, it’s important when recruiting that an employer finds out what they can do to make a job role and working environment more comfortable for someone with autism. Learning about effective ways to work with adults with autism helps to ensure they get the best treatment possible, can utilise their abilities, and get the most out of life.

 

As a business we have found that these simple changes can make a huge difference for people with autism –

 

  • That measures are in place and considerations made for people to function and communicate as well as they can in the workplace.
  • Don’t confuse timelines. Be concise when giving instructions, by using clear and simple language.
  • Allow a person to respond in their own time – don’t rush them or move onto another topic.
  • Be mindful of the needs of others. Actively seek to change your approach in accommodating additional support needs a co-worker or employee may have.
  • If something is going to change, inform those affected in a clear and calm way. Do this as early as possible to allow for the change to be accommodated.
  • Encourage people to take breaks, which will provide a rest from ongoing interactions. This may be particularly beneficial in helping people cope with the stresses that social interactions bring.
  • If someone becomes easily overwhelmed or agitated, speak to them in quieter moments, or approach them in a way that is supportive of their differences. 
  • Do not take offence if a person with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome is unwittingly rude or inappropriate, since social situations can be exceptionally challenging for some people.
  • Invest in developing a quiet space that can be used for relaxation, with natural light that reduces sensory overload.

 

Adults on the autism spectrum have specific qualities which can make life especially challenging. Some individuals may not be as verbal as others, or have the best social skills, which makes functional communication and socialising a struggle. Others may need a lot of prompting, training, and reinforcing to learn how to complete daily life skills independently. Not all adults with autism have a job or career path, but many do and so it’s fair to ensure they feel part of a team and are understood by their colleagues. We encourage employers across all industries to instil belief in those who live and work with the disability, and to passionately drive change on society’s outlook on autism and its stereotypes.”

Qube Learning is a proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider, delivering a range of training and qualifications to hundreds of Employers and Students across the country. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Qube Vision eLearning can bring, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.

Email:  tellmemore@qube-learning.co.uk/ Telephone:  01235 833838 / Website:  www.qube-learning.co.uk

The world’s first IB special autism school building opens in Cambridge

The world’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) special autism school building has officially opened its doors, enabling The Cavendish School to accept an additional 50 students this term in Years 3 – 7.  

 

The school, which started teaching in September 2021, was previously located in temporary accommodation at Girton Glebe Primary School with capacity for just 10 students. The new site means that more families, whose children’s needs cannot be catered for within current state provision in the county, will be able to access the specialist provision.

 

Stephanie Smith, Deputy Headteacher, said: “It is tremendously exciting to finally move into our new school building, especially after watching the progress of the construction work during the past 12 months. The state of the art building reflects our vision of providing a safe, nurturing and inclusive space for our students to access their learning; enabling us to deliver specialist education for autistic students in the county, where they have not been able to thrive in a mainstream school.”

 

Work on Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school provision for young people with autism began in January 2021, and has been designed to provide optimal education environments for students with autism. Manufactured off-site in Northern Ireland by The McAvoy Group, the building is constructed from connected modules and offers sensory breakout rooms, a life skills room, a horticultural space and wider corridors to ensure that students do not feel claustrophobic when moving around the school site.

 

Drawing on the success of the co-located mainstream schools, Impington Village College and Impington International College, the school will provide opportunities for the students, through shared use of support staff and bespoke extra-curricular activities. At full capacity, the school will provide specialist provision for up to 100 autistic students, in Year 3 – 13.

 

This week, students and their families will familiarise themselves with their new building and meet their new teachers and support staff to ease the transition into their new academic environment. During their time at the school, students will pursue the IB programmes and accredited qualifications, alongside specific individual therapies or interventions, provided by dedicated onsite specialists in Occupational and Speech and Language Therapy. Each of the programmes allow teachers to personalise learning to the unique abilities of their students and the curriculum model allows for a wide range of activities including: Forest School, Lego-based therapy and life skills learning, to support the school’s mission of helping students develop into independent adults.

 

Lucy Scott, CEO of Eastern Learning Alliance – a multi-academy trust of which The Cavendish School is a member of – said: “I am delighted that our concept of a school that breaks down the educational barriers that autistic students face has finally become a reality after years of planning, research and preparation. Through the knowledge and expertise of team, The Cavendish School will deliver an exemplary education provision for students with Educational Health Care Plans to help them flourish and thrive as healthy, happy individuals.”

 

A world first in Cambridge: IB special autism school to open in 2021

The Cavendish School, the world’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) special autism school is set to open on the outskirts of Cambridge in Autumn 2021. Based in Impington, The Cavendish School will also be Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school provision for young people with autism.

Initially admitting up to 40 students in Years 3 to 7, intake at the school will grow year on year, to a maximum capacity of 80 students from Year 3 to 13. The Cavendish School will be accessible and available to many families who cannot be catered for within current state provision in the county.

Ryan Kelsall, Deputy CEO of The Learning Alliance – a new multi-academy trust of which The Cavendish School is a member – said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce the plans for The Cavendish School to the public. Through our bespoke curriculum and teaching methodology, we will provide the educational environment that young people with autism need to thrive and succeed when their needs cannot be met in a mainstream school.

“The Cavendish School will celebrate diversity and accept, respect and recognise neurological and developmental differences to support each individual student through a differentiated programme that builds and focuses on their skills. Through the knowledge and expertise of The Learning Alliance, The Cavendish School will deliver exemplary education provision for students with Educational Health Care Plans.”

The first of its kind, The Cavendish School will be an IB World School, which means that it will follow the IB programmes and accredited qualifications, alongside specific therapies or interventions as appropriate for individuals. In an ever-changing world, the IB equips students with the skills, confidence and lifelong learning needed to thrive and make a difference. Each of the programme frameworks allows teachers to personalise learning to the unique abilities of their students.

Leah Cooper, Assistant Principal for SEND/PP and SENCo at the co-located Impington Village College, currently seconded to The Cavendish School, said: “Through our IB offering, we will provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to become globally aware citizens, achieve a range of accredited qualifications and make measurable progress towards their own personal outcomes. Our individualised approach will ensure that we are offering the support and guidance needed to all who study with us, as well as helping families throughout the process. We will be drawing upon the success of our co-located mainstream schools (Impington Village College and Impington International College) to provide excellent opportunities for the students, through shared use of support staff and bespoke extra-curricular activities.”

At the heart of The Cavendish School will be relationships and the important ways in which they can support the growth of each student. Throughout the planning stages for the school, the team has drawn on the latest research into autism and used its expertise in education and experience of working with young people with autism and their families. Beyond high-quality teaching, therapeutic support will be offered, so that all students have full access to the curriculum, to learn and to achieve. The Cavendish School will offer students the opportunity for multidisciplinary support, which will be carefully matched to the explicit needs of the individual student.

Julie Bailey, Chair of Governors at The Cavendish School and doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education within the University of Cambridge, said: “The Cavendish School aspires to remove the barriers to inclusion and achievement that many young people with autism face in their education. We’ve built on the best of current provision and the very latest research throughout the design and planning stages. The Cavendish School is set to have a transformative impact, giving its pupils an educational environment in which they will thrive.”