difficulties in their mainstream schools which have led to the breakdown of their placements. They tell us that life with Autism at home and at school can be very challenging. Their parents confirm this when they tell us about the impact of Autism on family life. We agree with the Autism Education Trust who say that ‘everyone with Autism is entitled to ‘a good education and a good Quality of Life’. At Swalcliffe Park we believe that different thinking is needed in order to help improve the Quality of Life of our students and their families.
Our approach involves helping our students to develop their sense of who they are and who they want to be. We support them to improve their independence and social intuition and to maintain their health and well-being. We do this by providing outstanding education and care with a focus on 4 main strands: Communication, Self-Management, Independence and Achievement. We work closely with families to make sure that the outcomes we are aiming for are highly valued by all. This work is reflected in our policies, practice, school organisation, staffing structures, data collection and analysis and in turn our organisational improvement agenda. As a natural consequence of this our governor monitoring processes are aligned to the outcomes valued and articulated by our students and their families.
We are also focussed on finding ways to share best practice through a number of activities and innovative practice which is directly related to the work with students in the school.
Since 2011 the school leadership, governors and trustees have been working strategically towards becoming nationally recognised as a ‘confident outward looking centre of excellence.’ This year also sees the introduction of activities to share best practice and raise the profile of the school on a national and international level.
The term “Centre of Excellence” can mean many things to many people and so it is important that we are able to articulate this vision in very practical terms so that everyone associated with the school has a shared understanding of what this will look like, and therefore the decisions and actions required to get us there.
It is important to note that the school has a proud history of providing Outstanding Education, Therapy and Residential Care over a number of years. This has been achieved through the dedication, hard work and expertise within the staff group, Governors and Trustees, and will continue to be the main focus of our endeavours over the coming year.
The concept of the Centre of Excellence is a natural progression based on the desire to become recognised as leaders in the field of Autism education and residential care coupled with a willingness to share our practice and experience with others involved in this work.
Swalcliffe provides a lifeline for families.
We are eternally grateful to the school for all they did for my son.