• Intentions

    What specific curriculum area, subject or aspect did you intend to have impact on?

    • All aspects
    • All subjects
    • Behaviour and attendance
    • Personal, social and emotional development

    How did you intend to impact on pupil learning?

    Ratcliffe School is a part residential, part day provision for pupils aged 8 to 17 with challenging behaviour. Designated as an SEBD School there is now a majority of pupils diagnosed with Autism. The specialist core of staff trained to support pupils with Autism, based in an area adjacent to the main school buildings, have traditionally undertaken support roles in the main school as more pupils with Autism access curriculum areas such as Art, Science, Design and Technology, Food technology and vocational subjects that demand specialised environments.
    With the significant increase in the number of pupils with Autism spreading throughout the school it is essential that the whole school should develop its understanding of Autism and implement consistent strategies, interventions and working practice to better support pupils.

    • The two major aims of the IDP training and subsequent initiatives were to
      • support the very individual needs of each pupil with Autism, and
      • to develop whole school working practices that help alleviate pupil's anxieties, (caused by sound, light, voice, lack of understanding, change, structure etc) and hence allow pupils to focus on their academic and social learning and development.
    • Increase whole school understanding of Autism and how to support pupils with Autism.
    • To identify areas of practice for development and initiate staff training, at quality-first level.

    What were your success criteria?

    The success criteria of our project mirrored the success criteria of the Autism Spectrum Award (which is at three levels - a copy of the Award standards are in the introduction page)

    • Pupils with Autism have their needs met
    • Pupils with Autism make very good progress in line with peers where appropriate (above in some areas)
    • Pupils with Autism feel safe, attend well and enjoy school
    • Parents demonstrate confidence with the school’s provision for pupils with Autism
    • Staff who work with pupils with Autism have completed wave 1 training, e.g. Inclusion Development Programme, and demonstrate confidence in meeting their needs; identified teaching assistants/teachers have completed further training and are a source of knowledge and support to other staff in the school
    • School makes good use of appropriate external agencies
    • School demonstrates inclusiveness and equality of opportunity
    • School prepares student well for their future

    What information or data did you use to measure progress towards your success criteria?

    • Logs or interviews
    • Observation outcomes
    • Periodic teacher assessment
    • Pupils' work
  • Teaching approaches

    What did you do? What teaching approaches (pedagogy) did you use to achieve the intended impact?

    • Other

    Describe the teaching approaches you used

    The overall approach to achieve the intended impact was to increase the staff's understanding of Autism and develop their confidence in supporting the differing needs of Autistic pupils, which permeates through all learning and pupil development in school.

    This was enhanced by the wide range of initiatives developed by staff following the IDP training (which are shown in full on the attachment 'Ratcliffe School ASD Development Plan', see below).
    The main focus was clear communication to avoid anxiety and involved: Widget symbols as waymarkers, guides and prompts and used for a range of timetables. Passing on of information was also a focus either through Pupil passports (model of one from the IDP as an attachment, below, this is a comprehensive example, although if appropriate information is included it can be as long or short as necessary) or Transition books, used by pupils unfamiliar with the School or certain parts of it. Good communication between all parties through placement and monitoring meetings helped new pupils settle. Modifications to language and voice have become an important aspect of support as well as understanding how best each individual absorbs information and many modifications to teaching practice have evolved in response to individual needs.


  • CPD approaches

    What did you do? What approaches to CPD and learning for adults were used?

    • Training

    Describe the CPD approaches you used

    During the course of 2008-2009 many meetings occurred between Senior Management, core Autism specialist staff in school, SEN advisors, parents, external agencies and pupils to determine best ways to support different pupils with Autism at Ratcliffe. The overall feeling from many of these meetings was that the school was shifting from a largely SEBD school to a more specialised school for pupils with Autism.

    This consequently led to Senior Management and Governors deciding that further training for Autism for the whole school should be a major part of the school's overall training and development strategy, particularly as a priority to help achieve improvement in all of the five areas of Every Child Matters.

    The launch of the Inclusion Development Programme (Supporting Pupils on the Autism Spectrum) coincided with the school's development strategy and following the initial IDP introduction day, it was decided that we pursue the IDP as one of the selected pilot schools in Devon.

    The initial training day provided the materials and knowledge to implement the IDP in school and several follow up meetings where held so that the selected pilot schools and SEN advisors were able to exchange information and ideas.

    A whole school Autism-specific audit was completed to identify existing strengths and areas for development.

    The training itself and logistics of delivery were discussed and planned and dates set for whole school training.

    The small core of Autism specialist staff completed the IDP DVD training first, discussed the programme and prepared to support delivery to the sixty plus staff on the training day, which composed of:

    • Pre and post training self-assessments were completed by each member of staff.
    • Staff undertook the ICT based training individually, completing the programme's Reflection Diary and tasks during the course of the day.
    • Following this staff were asked to identify their perceptions of strengths and areas for developments within the school.
    • Staff were then asked to discuss their views and draw up actions and initiatives that could be used to support pupils with Autism in our school.

    The ideas were recorded and in conjunction with the Reflections Diaries, Autism Audit (checklist) and other input from specialists, an Autism Action Plan was created.

    Further specific Autism training has been identified as a need, with some already delivered in-house by specialist staff and other training being organised as part of the school's CPD policy


    What CPD materials, research or expertise have you drawn on?

    Who provided you with support?

    • Other

    How were you supported?

    • Initial training day with County Autism Team and SEN advisers.
    • Materials to support the delivery of the IDP.
    • Further half day sessions with other schools and the SEN advisors to plan, implement and reflect upon inclusive Practice.