Succeeding at College was a project commissioned by the Department for Education through their National Prospectus Grant Programme. The purpose of the project was to support the implementation of the Children and Families Act by assisting more young people with autism to successfully move from school to college.
Where did the project come from?
Succeeding at College continued the work of the Finished at School Programme, which set up four local partnerships (hubs) including schools, colleges and local authorities, and which ran between 2013 and 2015.
The purpose of the Finished at School Programme was to create a better system of support for young people with autism, focused on improved person–centred transition planning, creating new curriculum pathways and ensuring learners could access all aspects of college life.
An independent evaluation of the Finished at School Programme found the project had improved staff skills and supported young people to continue their education. On the back of this, the evaluator recommended we ‘seek to continue promoting positive, person–centred, outcome–focused transition planning for young people with autism.’
Why was the project needed?
Access to post–school education has historically been a barrier to achieving positive outcomes in adulthood for young people with autism. Prior to work commencing on the project, we knew that fewer than one in four young people with autism continued their education beyond school, with only 15 percent of adults on the spectrum in full–time, paid employment.
What did the project achieve?
Succeeding at College was independently evaluated to assess its impact. In their final report, the evaluators found:
The training programme achieved a national reach. Over 500 people were trained, including staff from over a quarter of the colleges in England, with 21 training sessions held across the nine English regions between October 2015 and March 2016.
The training programme facilitated positive changes in practice by the professionals attending. These included working in more person–centred ways and improved transition planning.
The hub partnerships were effective in improving access to post–school education for young people with autism. 50 percent of the young people they supported moved into mainstream general further education across 2014 and 2015, with others moving into specialist post–16 provision.
What's happening now?
The work of Succeeding at College is now being built on by Ambitious about Autism in partnership with the Autism Education Trust (AET). We are working to develop the workforce in schools and colleges, build strategic partnerships and support young people with autism to move from school to college as part of an enhanced national post–16 training programme.