Autism Accreditation

At Willow Dene we provide specialised support to all our pupils, through a personalised and differentiated curriculum that promotes independence at its very core.

We support a growing population of pupils with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder within fifteen of our classrooms.  To validate and certify the specialised provision we offer our pupils with an ASD diagnosis, we have undertaken the National Autistic Societies Accreditation process.

Autism accreditation provides an autism specific assurance programme for over 300 organisations through-out the UK and across the globe, clients include local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, local autism societies and private companies.

In order to achieve accreditation against the accreditation standards, an organisation must provide evidence that:

·         It has a specialist knowledge and understanding of autism

·         The knowledge and understanding of autism consistently informs the organisation, the resources and the management of the organisation.

·         The knowledge and understanding of autism consistently informs the assessment and support plan for people who use the service.

·         The knowledge and understanding of autism consistently informs all aspects of practice. 

This evidence is evaluated using autism specific criteria, which are applied to each area of the organisation reviewed. 

The Accreditation process initially involves a self-audit of an organisations ASD practice against the standards set out by the NAS.  Once the audit is complete a provision would then outline a service support plan to develop its meeting of the standards.  After a period of time an interim meeting is held between the provision and an NAS advisor who will support development and will then support the provision in setting a review date.  A formal review is carried out using a peer review process by trained professionals in the field of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  A report on the team’s findings is produced and presented to an independent panel for judgement. 

Willow Dene has now successfully passed two accreditations, the first back in November 2014 and the most recent in November 2017.

Our most recent accreditation celebrated the follow strengths:

Education Standard E10: each autistic student enabled to understand, self-regulate and manage sensory experiences

Both primary and secondary schools make full use of opportunities to maximise sensory engagement.

Education standard C23: staff actively work in partnership with other professionals, who support each autistic student, to deliver a consistent and unified approach

The school has a strong multi-disciplinary team which includes health professionals and specialists in speech and language, sensory integration and music.

Education standard C30: families are fully consulted and treated as partners in the support of their family member, according to the age, capacity and wishes of the autistic student

Parents feel well supported in relation to their child’s individual educational needs.

Education Standard E16: staff enable each autistic student to experience a sense of achievement and satisfaction

The school embraces learning technology for the wide range of benefits it can deliver to pupils.

The following summary was written from the awarding accreditation panel:

The awarding panel congratulate Willow Dene School upon maintaining the high standards required of Autism Accreditation. The school has demonstrated a strong and continuing commitment to the Autism Accreditation process, this being the second time they have been accredited. The Accreditation review team were clearly very impressed with the multi-professional approach taken to providing individualised support.

Questionnaires were sent to all parents of an autistic child prior to the review visit and here are some of their responses. 

The daily information on the home-school contact book is amazing.

I don't know how we would cope without the support we get from school.

The school has given the opportunity to access the services available for my child, for example incontinence clinic and respite.

I’ve always been able to contact the school and they always keep me updated. The school has taken my concerns seriously and are working with me to provide the right interventions for my child.

All mainstream schools could learn a lot from Willow Dene.

My son seems very happy at school and gets on the bus with a big smile. He is making progress and seems to learn or accomplish something new every day.