We worked with nasen and the Association of Colleges on the Finished at School Programme. Running between 2013 and 2015, the project aimed to develop new and innovative models of support to enable young people with autism, including those with complex autism, to access education beyond school.
Four colleges took part in the Finished at School Programme:
Askham Bryan College.
Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College.
The colleges led local partnerships (hubs) which included mainstream and special schools. Together, the hub partners worked to develop staff skills, improve person-centred transition planning, strengthen assessment processes, design curriculum pathways and ensure learners could access all aspects of college life.
Finished at School guide
In March 2015, to mark the end of the Finished at School Programme, we published our learning from the project. The Finished at School guide contains a wealth of practical advice and case studies for education professionals, designed to help them better support learners with autism moving from school into further education.
Here are some examples of how the Finished at School Programme changed practice to benefit young people with autism.
Improving the accessibility of college life
Askham Bryan College
Some parents and carers are nervous about the prospect of their child attending a general further education college. With that in mind, Askham Bryan College invited parents and carers of potential learners to coffee mornings hosted by learners at the college who have autism. The opportunity to look around the campus and speak to tutors and learners gave visiting parents and carers more confidence in what options existed locally for education beyond school.
Improving local partnerships and better planning
Gloucestershire College was invited to join their local authority's Local Offer work stream. This enabled the college to liaise with other local further education providers and identify areas for planning, collaboration and partnership working that will increase the options available for young people with special educational needs across the county.
Developing a person-centred curriculum
Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College
Pupils at a school in west London who were partners with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College on the Finished at School Programme are now producing visual paths, mind maps and ‘All about Me’ profiles prior to their reviews. The young person’s ideas of what they want for the future, what they would like to change about school, home and what is working well, are beginning to have a direct impact not only on the overall planning of the curriculum but also on specific individual timetables.
As the school lead explained: 'We are beginning to change our transition plans, which are very wordy, and are developing a more appropriate person-centred transition plan. We have piloted the one-page profile for some students, which we hope will be disseminated throughout the school over the coming year. Students are beginning to have a say in what support they may need in a future placements. We are piloting a multimedia advocacy programme for staff to develop skills in capturing young people’s views through video and for students to use different methods to say what they want.'
For more information about the Finished at School Programme, please contact the Training and Consultancy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.