Autism Friendly School

At St Thomas', Miss Lockley and Mrs Matthews are now Autism Champions. Rochdale Additional Needs Service has provided the information below about what an Autism Champion is and why we feel we needed to have Champions at our school. 

Who are Autism Champions?

Rochdale Additional Needs Service and Educational Psychology Service are working together to deliver a new strategic model for working with educational settings to meet the needs of our children and young people with ASC: Autism Champions. This will result in 1 or 2 members of our staff to be supported with CPD to develop their own knowledge and skills about autism.

The Autism Champions will:

  1. Be responsible for co-ordinating support to meet the social emotional and learning needs of pupils in the school with ASC

  2. Be an advocate for the children/young people,  listening to their personal stories in order to gain valuable insight into their personal experiences

  3. Provide a safe space for pupils to access drop-ins, emotional support, lunchtime clubs, scheduled intervention groups etc

  4. Share knowledge and information with setting staff about individual pupils with ASC to enable consistent approaches throughout

  5. Liaise with other professionals and agencies

  6. Liaise with parents/carers and provide advice/support

  7. Be responsible for facilitating transition plans for pupils.

  8. Co-ordinate training for setting staff


Why do we need Autism Champions?

There are an increasing number of children and young people in our schools and colleges with a diagnosis of ASC. Many of these pupils find the expectations, demands and physical environments of schools extremely challenging. Literature highlights some of the problems experienced by pupils with ASC in our schools such as anxiety, bullying, social isolation and acute sensory sensitivities. It is suggested that many children/young people with ASC may be academically able to access the mainstream curriculum yet will probably require a range of social/emotional support systems in order for them to meet their potential in school. Evidence suggests that many can be accommodated successfully if they are provided with the appropriate support structures. Research has also found that although many teachers say they are committed to the philosophy of inclusion, they do not feel they have the necessary training or support to provide effectively for these pupils.


We are accredited! 

An accreditation review took place on September 2019 and where we successfully met the threshold in 4 key areas, those being leadership, support for individual pupils, environment and resources, partnership and liaison with parents/carers. Our staff have worked really hard to undertake training and attend cluster meetings to help ensure we were meeting the threshold required

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