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Finished at School Programme evaluated

The evaluation of our project to support more young people with autism to continue into further education is now complete. Here’s what was achieved, and what we’ll be doing next.

The Finished at School Programme was a DfE–funded project that commenced in 2013 and concluded earlier this year. It was launched to support more young people with autism to access further education and achieve a positive transition to adulthood. At the time the project was established, fewer than one in four young people with autism were continuing their education beyond school.

We appointed the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) at the University of Warwick to evaluate the project. The evaluator’s remit was to determine the impact of the project: what difference it made to the young people, schools and colleges involved. 

This information has now been written up into a report and published.   

What did the project achieve?

The evaluator found that:

  • The Finished at School Programme supported young people with autism to make an active choice of post–school destination.

  • In its first year, the project supported 45 young people to make a positive transition from school to sixth form or college. Two more cohorts of young people are being supported to transition in September 2015 and September 2016.    

  • In the four areas where the project was taking place, there was evidence of staff skills being developed, improved person–centred planning, new curriculum pathways and better access to college life for young people with autism.  

What next?

To complete the report, the evaluator included some recommendations for Ambitious about Autism. The recommendations tell us what more can be done to ensure that progress from the Finished at School Programme is sustained and learning from the project has as wide a reach as possible.

Ambitious about Autism should:

‘Seek to continue promoting positive, person–centred, outcome–focused transition planning for young people with autism.’

We are developing a training programme out of our Finished at School guide. This new project, Succeeding at College, will see 18 training sessions delivered nationally to school, college and local authority partnerships from September 2015. Details of the training with dates and booking information can be found here

‘Continue to promote its College Inclusion Charter, appropriately updated to take account of the Children and Families Act 2014.’

The College Inclusion Charter allows providers to make a strategic commitment to supporting learners with autism. We have now updated the Charter to take account of the recent reforms to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) policy and our work on the Finished at School Programme.

‘Encourage relevant staff in all secondary schools and general further education colleges to access training in person–centred approaches, and training in understanding the implications of autism for learners and for educational providers.’ 

Ambitious about Autism has launched its training programme for 2015–16. Our training service offers a variety of courses supporting staff in schools and colleges who work with young people on the autism spectrum.         

This is a flavour of what the report says. To learn more, you can download an executive summary or a full copy of the report below:

Executive Summary

Report

For more information on where and when the training sessions will be taking place, and how to book places, please email us at training@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

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