Our educational approach
Ambitious about Autism was founded by a group of parents determined to improve education opportunities for their children and other young people with autism.
This pioneering spirit has remained at the heart of our organisation as we have evolved and progressed. We believe all young people with autism have a right to the best education that meets their needs and enables them to learn, thrive and achieve. We run two specialist schools and a specialist day college for autistic young people, ranging from the age of 3-25.
The Ambitious Approach
The Ambitious Approach is our model of education practice, designed to be used in our education settings to support children and young people with autism.
We have a clear vision of what we want our education settings to achieve. We want to prepare children and young people for a happy and fulfilling life and, whilst doing so, afford them dignity, respect, and compassion. At its heart, the Ambitious Approach focuses on improving the quality of life of autistic young people while they are in education and ensuring this quality of life continues into adulthood.
We offer the Ambitious Approach across all our educational settings. When pupils and learners leave our settings, we want them to find employment, go on to further education or training, and live fully as part of the communities of their choice.
The Ambitious Approach is based on School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SW-PBS) and incorporates what is known about supportive practice for children and young people with autism. The approach is designed to address all aspects of an education setting’s offer, not just behaviours that challenge. Embedding quality of life across all aspects of a setting’s functions is vital to the successful implementation of the Ambitious Approach. This ranges from reviewing the curriculum to ensure it prepares students for quality of life, to auditing policy and practice to ensure it affords dignity, respect, and compassion.
Find out more in the video below about our approach to education and how we support autistic children and young people to be themselves and realise their ambitions within our education services.
Further reading about the Ambitious Approach
- Education Approach Practice Statement
- Ambitious Approach Q&A
- Key messages about Positive Behaviour Support
- Read our blog on the importance of happiness and wellbeing in autism education
- The Ambitious Framework guidance
- The Ambitious Competency Framework
- The Ambitious Approach individual case study
- The Ambitious Approach self review tool
The curriculum in all our education settings is personalised, innovative, creative and flexible to help us meet the needs of every pupil and learner. We maximise opportunities for our students to enjoy and succeed in their learning and be equipped and prepared for fulfilling and rewarding adult lives.
We involve pupils and learners in decisions about their learning, support and future and value their voices and opinions. For many pupils, communication can be difficult, so we invest in skills and resources to enable their participation in a variety of ways.
We also work closely with parents and carers ensuring a continuous partnership between home and school or college that benefits the child or young person.
Our expert team
We employ skilled, experienced and dedicated staff - including qualified teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour and employment specialists. They all work closely together to provide pupils and learners with specialist, integrated and appropriate support.
All staff receive regular training and support to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and understanding to work effectively with all pupils and learners. Staff are also regularly supervised and supported.
Personal development, behaviour and safety
The safety and wellbeing of pupils and learners is paramount. We have child and adult safeguarding policies and processes in place, which are implemented holistically and rigorously, and reviewed at least annually to ensure they reflect the latest requirements and best practices.
Progress and attainment
Children and young people in our education settings mostly have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, which outline their aspirations, outcomes, needs and support. Our trans-disciplinary teams work collaboratively with the children and young people and their parents/carers for input, develop these plans and ensure they are implemented.
Progress is regularly and comprehensively monitored, evaluated and reported. We tailor how we teach to match the individual child or young person and measure whether the approach is working.
This helps to ensure that pupils and learners make the best progress they can. Pupils and learners have access to a range of qualifications, as well as non-accredited learning, depending on their interests, desired outcomes and abilities.
Each of our services has a governing body comprising a range of people (including parents and carers) with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to support and challenge our services.
The governing bodies meet regularly and visit our services to review and monitor their performance.
We also have a board-level education committee that oversees performance across all of our services.
Our services are subject to Ofsted inspections, which are published online, both on our website and by Ofsted.