Friday, September 2, 2011

Autism Education Trust highlights importance of staff training

The NAS welcomes a new piece of research published by the Autism Education Trust (AET). The AET looked in detail at sixteen schools which are considered to demonstrate good practice in educating young people with autism. The sample included special and mainstream schools, and provision from early years up to 19-year-olds.

The research found that staff at these good practice schools were highly motivated and very well-trained. The heads and senior leadership of the schools had a thorough understanding of autism, and appreciated the role of staff in allowing their pupils to achieve well. Regular training was a feature for all staff, from senior leaders through to administrators and school bus drivers. Many schools also shared their experience with other schools in the area.

The good practice schools also focused on developing strong relationships with pupils and their families, listening to pupils’ own opinions on their learning and activities. They also understood that the education requirements for children with autism are much broader than for those without autism.

The NAS’ Great Expectations survey also demonstrated the importance of training for education professionals. We found that only 53% of children feel happy at school generally, but this rises to 86% when they feel their teacher has a good understanding of autism.

The AET’s findings reinforce the point that with the right training, teachers can  feel confident about supporting children with autism and provide them with outstanding education.

You can read more about Great Expectations at

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