COPRODUCTION AND PARTICIPATION
Autism in Schools Project
Autism in Schools is a funded national project that is now in its third year of being delivered in schools in England. The project aims to be a fully co-produced project joining up the local authority, health, the parent carer forum and schools.
The aim of the project is to work with schools, the pupils, parents and carers and staff, to work towards making improvements for pupils who have, or may have autism.
In Bolton, we have joined the project for the first time for the 2023-2024 roll out.
Training for all school staff
Schools choose whether to join the project and 3 or 4 schools are involved each year. The school commits to having all staff available for 5 training sessions on different aspects of autism, These include:
Autism and Anxiety
The Nest Approach
Parents and Carers
During the year, Bolton Parent Carers will meet with parents and carers at each school several times. These sessions aim to gather their experiences and aspirations for their children, and also form a parent group.
Bolton Information Advisory Service will be meeting with pupils over the course of the project to gather their experiences and thoughts about autism in their setting. This work will be carried out by Kane Wyatt and Samantha Kirby from Bolton IAS.
Who else is involved?
The project is supported by a project lead looking after all areas in Greater Manchester; this helps us as a cluster to be able to network and share best practice as we go through the project. In Bolton we are joined by Ladywood Outreach who will be supporting some of the training, health colleagues Jenny Wilkinson and Liz Wigley from the ICB, Sue Cornwell, Head of SEND and obviously BPC and Bolton IAS.
Mental health support
The Autism in Schools project provides some additional funding for mental health support for the schools involved. Currently in Bolton this has not yet been allocated to a specific organisation.
How will the project be monitored?
At the start of the project, all parents, staff and pupils complete a baseline survey about their experiences; they complete this again at the end of the year. This is one way in which the project is measured. Case studies are also documented, and an external organisation also evaluates the project.
Which schools are taking part?
There were more school interested this year than we had space for on the project, which was a really encouraging sign from our Bolton schools. We are really excited to be working with Harper Green Secondary School, Little Lever Secondary School and St Joseph’s RC Secondary School.
Will the project continue?
As the project is now in it’s third year, we are hopeful that it will continue and we will have the opportunity to work with more schools in Bolton.