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13 West Sussex schools have earned Autism Aware Awards

West Sussex schools have been recognised for the excellent work they do to support pupils with autism.

In total 13 schools received an Autism Aware Award from West Sussex County Council’s Autism and Social Communication Team at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, on Wednesday, 24 April 2019.

Schools can achieve bronze, silver or gold standard for demonstrating an effective whole-school approach to supporting their students with autism and social communication disorders.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at West Sussex County Council, said: “Schools achieved the award because of the way they integrate their students with an autism spectrum condition. They have high aspirations and expectations for their students.”

Daniel Wakeford, who has autism and starred in hit TV show The Undateables, was one of two special guests. He was interviewed by his dad to provide an understanding of his life, including his UK-wide tour and previous experiences before singing a song from his new album.

Photographer Joe James then spoke about overcoming the difficulties he faced growing up with undiagnosed autism and showed how he is raising awareness of the condition through his nature photography. Both were very well received.

Gold winners: Oak Grove College, Worthing

Silver winners: Downlands Community College, Durrington Infant and Junior schools, Holbrook Primary School, Northlands Wood Primary Academy, Oaks Primary Academy, Upper Beeding Primary School.

Bronze winners: Alternative Provision College, Arunside Primary School,
Maidenbower Junior School, North Lancing Primary School, Shipley CE Primary School and Worthing High School.

Each school took part in a two-day training course, which was then shared with all staff and over 12 months aimed to meet the Autism Education Trust standards of good practice; demonstrating areas for improvement and development.

Helen Cottell, Specialist Support Teams Manager, said: “It has been an honour for our team to work with each of the schools, who have inspired us with new ways to support children with autism. Every single one of them has made adaptions or come up with new and exciting ideas alongside their busy workloads.”