We welcome enquiries from prospective parents, schools, Local Authorities and professionals.  For all enquiries, please use the form below or send an email to QoL@Swalcliffepark.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

    I am happy for you contact me

    Quality of Life

    “All individuals with autism are entitled to a good education and a good quality of life.”

    The Autism Education Trust

    Welcome and thanks for taking the time to visit this section of our website which is devoted to our work on Quality of Life (QoL).

    Let me tell you a little bit more about what this involves.

    At Swalcliffe Park, we take a Quality of Life approach to our work and this drives everything we do towards improving the lives of our students and their families.

    We want all of our students to be happy, healthy and empowered young people, so, we ask them about what matters to them. We ask what makes them happy and what they would like to do with their lives. We listen to what they tell us and we support them to work towards their personal goals.

    We also think it is important to work closely with families. We ask them about the impact of autism on family life, about what they would like to do but currently can’t and about what is important to them. We listen to what they tell us and try to find ways to help.

    We know that working together in this way leads to a better QoL for our students and for their families. This is why we do what we do.

    We have developed our approach over several years and this is now captured in our innovative QoL Framework which explains how we support our students and their families. We are sharing this approach with other schools through our QoL Network and we have presented our work at national and international conferences.

    We are proud to have been awarded Advanced Level Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society (2018) as well as an Enhanced Practice Commendation (2020) for our work in this area. Ofsted has also commended our emphasis on improving QoL for students and their families (2018 and 2019).

    You can find out much more about all this and what others have said about our approach by clicking on the relevant numbered section (below the animation) where the content has been organised under the following headings:

    • Testimonials
    • Introduction to QoL
    • Our QoL Framework
    • The QoL Network and Partnerships
    • QoL Research and best practice sharing
    • QoL Resources

    If you have any questions or want to chat about anything in this section, you can contact me, Kiran on (khingorani@swalcliffepark.co.uk) or better still, give me a call on (07813 465922). In the meantime, we have created a short animation about QoL which you can view by clicking on the picture of our friendly cat and dog at the bottom of the page.

    • Section 1: Testimonials

      In this section you will be able to read what others have written about our QoL work, which we hope will inspire you to find out more!

      1. National Autistic Society: ‘Advanced Level’ Autism Accreditation:   please  click to view

      2. National Autistic Society: ‘Enhanced Practitioner’s’ Award: please click to view

      3. Ofsted: Here are some direct quotes from our recent inspection reports.

      a) Residential Care 2018: ‘Outstanding’

      • The emphasis placed on improving the quality of life experienced by children, and their families, produces significant improvements for all

      • The exceptional quality of children’s and young people’s placements arises out of particular strengths of the school. The first is the value that managers and staff place on each boy’s quality of life (and that of his family). This includes the children’s experience of care and attainment of personal goals. Many of the children spoken to thought that they were doing better in this school than anywhere they had been before. One child said that this was because ‘They [the staff in the school] “get” autism. They find out what you need and help you do it.’ Central to this is the high level of consultation with boys and their parents to gather their views about what is going well or not for them and measuring this over time. Questionnaires about children’s quality of life have an excellent level of take-up. They provide managers with a wealth of information that they use to focus on the help that individual children need and to understand what strategic changes might have a beneficial impact across the school.

      • A further strength is the quality of the relationships that staff forge with boys and their parents. This creates an environment in which children address anxieties and difficult previous experiences knowing that they have the support of people who ‘believe in them’. They can then meet the challenges of education, of relating to other people and managing their lives more successfully. Families describe an excellent rapport with managers and staff; one family member said, ‘The more open we are with the problems, the more helpful they have been with us. At some of the most challenging moments, they have been supportive, strong and adapted things very quickly.’

      • Parents recounted how children’s lives have been transformed here, with several saying that their sons had achieved ‘so much more than we expected’

      • Evidence-based research has informed how the school is organised and the approach taken to working with children who have autistic spectrum disorders. The school is now contributing to international research in the field and senior staff have presented the school’s pioneering work at conferences in the UK and abroad. Leaders have made strategic changes, including the creation of new posts and developing training, to translate the vision into practice. Information collected from children, young people and their families has been used to target resources to address the issues that are of greatest importance to them, such as the management of anxiety. There are several examples of how children have benefited as a result.

      b) Education 2019: ‘Outstanding’

      • …you provide an exceptionally safe haven where pupils thrive. Your evident commitment and determination to improve the quality of life for pupils and their families are at the heart of everything the school does.
      • The innovative ‘quality of life’ framework you have developed has a positive, lifechanging impact on pupils and their families.
      • Along with other leaders, you have established the school as a centre of excellence for pupils with autism.

      • …pupils have time with their key worker built into each day, with detailed, written records of the conversation shared appropriately with other staff. This consistently strong communication and close collaborative working between staff guarantees that pupils’ concerns are heard and extra help is put in place quickly. Pupils and their families fully appreciate this carefully tailored support

      • …wealth of information you gather is shared with pupils and their families as well as staff, helping everyone to work together for pupils’ benefit.

      • The inspirational curriculum meets pupils’ needs precisely. The ‘quality of life’ framework is underpinned meticulously by the school’s well-established core values of ‘the 4 whys’ (communication, self-management, independence and achievement). Regular, carefully devised surveys are completed by pupils, their families and staff, and these accurately inform the excellent provision that pupils receive. Alongside formal learning, pupils benefit extensively from other experiences that help them to understand their own needs, preparing them well for life outside of school. This approach enables pupils to succeed, and successfully improves their quality of life, alongside that of their families. Through the evident expertise and success, you have won parents’ overwhelming trust and confidence, with one stating that ‘the staff go above and beyond to accommodate my son’s individual needs’.

      c) Residential Care 2019: ‘Outstanding’

      • The actions of the school contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people.

      • In an environment where they feel accepted, understood and valued, the pupils who come to reside at this school make substantial progress. For some, this progress is exceptional. This increases opportunities for the pupils to make their mark in the adult world, and to develop a sense of worth and meaning.

      • The progress that the resident pupils make is supported and accelerated by a skilled team of carers, teachers and therapists, who work closely together to identify and understand the critical areas for each resident pupil’s development and to target these in a comprehensive and co-ordinated manner. This includes working in partnership with pupils’ families. One parent described the staff and school as, ‘Brilliant. I am not on my own anymore – I have support and my son is in a safe place. The school has given him a future and his key worker is very good. The communication is excellent.’

      • High levels of communication between teaching and care staff, together with a structured and consistent key-working system, ensure that the well-being of the resident pupils is closely monitored and that they have at least one adult in whom they can always confide. The resident pupils are able to say who their key workers are and they show attachment to them.

      • The advances that leaders have made in developing an integrated model of care to improve outcomes for the resident pupils, that includes their families, are exceptional. Some of these advances are receiving national and international recognition. The model, termed the ‘Quality of Life’ model, recognises the significance of the family’s perspective on improving outcomes and effectively measures progress across targeted areas. Relevant research findings have been used to support this development and the model has been developed in collaboration with respected academic institutions and experts in the field.

      • A hallmark of this service is the firm commitment expressed by leaders and managers to understand the wishes, views and feelings of the resident pupils and to respond to these in a responsible and meaningful way.

      4. Students

      5. Families

      Parent A: Dec 2020

      The school understands that a student’s Quality of Life and their family’s Quality of Life are intertwined and impact on each other. My son’s key worker takes time to understand any issues my family are experiencing and offering practical and moral support to help all of us. Knowing my son is so well looked after and that we can discuss any concerns, has given me the space and confidence to do something for myself. Previously my whole life was focused on my children and, in particular, securing SEN support for my son (which often felt like a full-time job in itself). It was a life of stress and worry for much of the time. Now my son is happy and our family life is more comfortable, I feel more relaxed and have some time and space for myself. I have recently started a Master’s Degree and will begin a work placement in the New Year. I hope in the future to work with autistic students and help them to have a brighter future”.

      Parent B: Dec 2020

      “Swalcliffe Park’s ‘Quality of Life’ creates a safe, proactive and collaborative space in which our son feels validated and our parental insights and aspirations are no longer gaslighted.
      In this environment School and Home work together intelligently to support our son to overcome past trauma, with a focus on encouraging him to explore and ‘rock’ his strengths and passions rather than his ‘deficits’ or building ‘resilience.’ As a result his anxiety is significantly reduced at school and at home and he is starting to look to the future with a positive autistic identity and the confidence to self-advocate. Happiness no longer feels like a moonshot project!”

      6. Staff

      7. QoL Network: Matt Tiplin: Director of Education, National Autistic Society: Dec 2020

      NAS schools and children’s services have been working with Kiran and his team since summer 2019 on developing our approach to QOL. During that time, colleagues across our family of schools and residential provisions have been able to reframe how we support our autistic pupils through the provision of education that best meets their needs and our aspirations. Working with Kiran, we have gained insight and expertise into how and why this approach has worked in his and other schools, and how we can adopt a framework that really works for our autistic students and their families. Colleagues in NAS schools have valued Swalcliffe Park School’s open collaboration and look forward to working together on and into the future.

    • Section 2: An introduction to Quality of Life (QoL)

      Before we look in more detail at the Quality of Life (QoL) framework we have developed, we thought it would be helpful to share some background information on QoL, including a definition and rationale.

      Defining Quality of Life
      We can start by trying to provide a definition for QoL, but in actual fact most researchers shy away from this!
      Whilst most people have an intuitive understanding of QoL for themselves, it is notoriously hard to define and this is mainly due to the complexity caused by its highly subjective, multi-faceted and dynamic nature.
      Instead of trying to define QoL, one prominent researcher in the field- Robert Schalock, developed a universal and widely accepted model based on three very broad dimensions – Independence, Social Participation and Well-being, with each being subdivided into more specific domains such as personal development, interpersonal relationships, social inclusion, emotional well-being etc.
      Rather than trying to define QoL then, the table below, which is based on Schalock’s work, provides a helpful way to start thinking about it. This is set out in the table below:

      You will be able to find out more about how this model and its component parts link to our QoL framework in the next section of our website ‘Our QoL Framework’. For now, this table will provide you with some insight into QoL and its multi-dimensional nature.
      This model holds particular appeal for our school because of the special emphasis we give to developing our autistic students’ Communication, Self-Management, Independence and Achievement – four areas that fit well into Schalock’s model.

      Later, we will explore ways to measure the QoL of young people with autism using questionnaires, specifically designed for this population, that incorporate many of the above dimensions.
      Let’s now move on to consider why we believe that working with families is also vitally important.

      Family QoL (FQoL)
      Research tells us that raising a child with ASD can have a significant detrimental impact on many aspects of family life, in terms of parental stress, depression, and social support networks. A recent systematic review found “that poorer parental QoL exists in parents of children with ASD when compared to parents of normally developing children and children with other disabilities”
      In their work, Canadian researchers Gardner and Iarocci view young people with autism as being inextricably linked to their families or “interconnected parts of a family system that cannot be understood in isolation from one another.” They make a strong case for needing to work with the families of autistic young people as well as the young people themselves.
      This is also the position taken by National Autistic Society which advocates that parents and young people need to be full participants in decision making and that we should be working together to support autistic young people to live the lives they want as they move towards adulthood.
      We share these views and this is why we believe that working with families is essential.

      Measuring QoL and FQoL
      Trying to measure QoL or FQoL is not easy!
      Measures of QoL do exist and most incorporate many of Schalock’s dimensions into rating scales or questionnaires. However, these measurement tools were designed for the general population and for specific medical conditions and disabilities but until recently, not for autism. Generic QoL measures have been used with autistic individuals and their families but it has been suggested that these generic measures may not be sufficiently sensitive to the unique challenges faced by autistic children and their parents (Payakachat et al 2012).

      Against this background, Professor Valsa Eapen and her colleagues at the University of New South Wales developed the Quality of Life in Autism Questionnaire (QoLA) to provide information on the QoL of the parents of pre-school autistic children and how caring for an autistic child affected their family QoL.
      We contacted Professor Eapen and were pleased to gain her support and permission to conduct a small-scale pilot study, using the QoLA with the parents of our older adolescent students. This led to our involvement in a larger-scale validation study of two versions of the QoLA – one for parents and another self-report version for students.
      Each version has two sections, with Part A focusing on general quality of life issues and Part B on autism-specific quality of life issues. You can access both the self-report and family versions of the QoLA together with Professor Eapen’s journal article in the Resources section of this website. You can view the validation study poster in the Research section.

      In this section, we have tried to illustrate the complexities of defining and measuring QoL. We have provided a model as a useful starting point for thinking about the multidimensional nature of QoL and we have explained the importance of working with Families. We introduced an autism-specific questionnaire for measuring the QoL of students and their families and in the next section, we will explain how we go about doing this at our school.

    • Section 3: Our QoL Framework

      Section 3 : Our QoL Framework 

      With the right education and support, children on the autism spectrum can achieve great things and their families can live full and happy livesWithout it, families are left to struggle alone, and children can miss out on years of education, putting them and our society at a huge disadvantage.”     The National Autistic Society  

      Linking theory to practice 

      In recent years, researchers from across the world have been emphasising the importance of improved QoL as a meaningful outcome for young people with a variety of medical and developmental conditions and their families. This is of particular importance for those with autism, where research has shown that the QoL of autistic adults is lower than in the general population, and that families of autistic children have the poorest QoL of all SEND groups.  

      However, despite all this research there is a lack of practical, evidence-based solutions for schools and colleges to use in their daily practice. This is why we have developed a ‘Quality of Life’ framework, which was designed to work in a specialist school but can also be adapted to suit a range of settings e.g. mainstream schools, colleges and Children’s Homes. 

      The powerful NAS quote above builds on the AET’s view that ‘All individuals with autism are entitled to a good education and a good quality of life’, and in this section we will explain how we go about improving quality of life outcomes for our students and their families.  

      Hearing student and family voice:   All about me: All about us 

      The starting point for helping our students to “achieve great things” is getting a sense of who they are, what they enjoy doing and who they want to be. This involves finding out what makes them happy now, and about their hopes and aspirations for the future. 

      So, we ask them about their hobbies and interests and where they feel their strengths lie. We also need to know about their difficulties and struggles so that we can help them enjoy life as much as possible in the present, and prepare them for the lives they want to lead in the future. 

      We have already explained how QoL is highly personal, multi-dimensional and dynamic, so it is very important that we enquire about it regularly. We do this by asking students how things are going in their lives on a termly basis, using the Quality oLife in Autism (QoLA) questionnaire, which we described in the previous section. You can see a copy of the QoLA in Section 6: Resources of this website. 

      This gives students a regular opportunity to think about and talk about how they feel life is going, in areas such as their relationships, feelings and personal circumstances. By sharing this information, each student is giving us his personal perspective on what is going well in his life and, conversely, what is not. In other words, it helps us to understand what each student sees as the main barriers to the QoL that he is seeking…whatever that may look like for him. 

      We then use this information to plan our support and opportunities for each student in four key areas, namely: 

      As you are now aware from our reference to Emily Gardner’s work in the previous section, our approach also involves working closely with families. We all know that student lives are integrated within and influence family lives. We also recognise that in order to “live full and happy lives”, some families will need direct support and guidance. This makes it essential for us to know how autism affects each family’s quality of life (FQoL). 

      Therefore, just as we ask students to complete a termly QoLA survey, we ask families to do the same. This allows families to tell us how things are going at home including any difficult issues they are facing as well as aspirations they have to improve FQoL. We can then talk to them about the issues they have raised to see how we can best support them. 

      We then focus our support to families in four main areas, namely:  


      Working with students and their families- the Keyworker Role 

      At SPS, we have developed the role of keyworker to be a critical piece of the QoL framework, which you can see in the diagram below. 

      All students and families are allocated a keyworker who will support them throughout their journey through school and who will be their named contact person for the majority of home-school communication. 

      We believe keyworking is such an important role that we allocate dedicated time to it, including a weekly timetabled slot during the school day. 

      Keyworkers use the QoL information from individual students and their families to follow up on issues within the scope of their role, to pass on information to other members of staff, to seek advice from specialists on the school team, and to contribute to the review of the individual student’s EHCP outcomes. You can read about examples of keyworking practice at SPS in Section 5 Research and Best Practice Sharing. 

      We also analyse the responses from the collective student group to inform how we work at a whole school level, for example to plan therapeutic or curriculum themes and to review school organisation and structure. 

      In addition, analysis of the collective family responses is used to plan and deliver training sessions for families and to develop additional services and provide information to address their concerns. 

      The SPS Quality of Life Framework: practical steps for implementation 

      The diagram below illustrates the framework we have developed and shows parallel processes for supporting students and their families. The framework highlights the importance of keyworkers as critical players and so the training, development and best practice sharing around this aspect of our work is embedded within our INSET planning and organisational evolution. 

      As well as showing how information from QoL surveys and keyworking is used to support individual students and families, it also illustrates how collective data from students and families feeds into the school’s strategic planning and self-evaluation processes. 

      Practical steps taken for whole school implementation at SPS: 

      • The role of the keyworker was re-defined, and time was allocated to supporting students and families. The revised keyworker role has been significantly enhanced to become the lead person for a student and his family (See role description). 
      • Any member of staff, from any discipline, can become a keyworker, and ideally only has one student and family to support. 
      • Our multidisciplinary team developed a curriculum that is based on key QoL principles and which incorporates the three main QoL domains of Social Participation, Well-being and Independence. This is called our Independence Plus curriculum. 
      • Time is allocated each week for all students to participate in Independence Plus sessions. It is also used outside school hours in the residential setting and at home. 
      • Family sessions to support Independence Plus are offered on whole school days. 
      • We have introduced roles and practices to support the process of collecting, analysing and acting on the information we collect from students and their families.  
      • We conduct small scale action research projects to collect and share keyworking best practice to upskill staff from all disciplines. 
      • Quality assurance processes have been reviewed to ensure issues raised by students and their families from their QoL surveys and from keyworking are recorded, tracked, addressed and followed up. 
      • A range of internal planning documents, policies, meeting agendas and reporting documents (Admission reports, PostEntry Review reports, End of Term reports and Annual Review reports) have been adjusted accordingly in order to take account of the QoL issues raised and outcomes achieved. 
      • School governance has been realigned in order to focus on QoL issues raised and the impact of actions to improve outcomes for students and families. 
      • We provide feedback on actions taken to students, parents and governors through our half-termly newsletter in order to show how their thoughts, concerns and ideas can lead to practical changes and outcomes. 

      The table below highlights the main ways in which students and families are supported by school through the QoL framework over time. 

    • Section 4: The QoL Network

      In this section, you will be able to find out about the national QoL Network we have established, about the benefits of joining the Network and how to go about joining. This is what Professor Valsa Eapen wrote in support of our launch of the Network in 2018:

      “Quality of life (QoL) is increasingly recognised as a critical outcome measure for planning and support purposes in autism. Yet, there are surprisingly few measures specifically designed to understanding QoL in young people on the spectrum- or their parents – one that is accessible and relates to their specific needs and characteristics. It is in this context that the Quality of Life in Autism (QoLA) scale was developed with parent-report and self-report versions to ascertain the QoL in parents of children on the spectrum and individuals with autism, respectively.

      Parents and family provide an exceptional support system for individuals on the spectrum and hence comprehensive assessment should include the determinants of the individual’s and the parental QoL with measures in place to identify and manage parental stressors alongside efforts to address parental coping, efficacy and competency.

      Similarly, for young people on the spectrum, exploring their QoL and wellbeing should form an integral part of their assessment and management plan as these are just as important as improving their social and communication, functional and adaptive skills. It is hoped that widespread use of measures such as QoLA will help to draw attention and focus on this very important determinant of course and outcome for individuals on the spectrum and their families.

      The QoLA is currently being used by more than 35 teams across 20 different countries and I would like to welcome you, personally, to Swalcliffe Park’s QoLA Network. I look forward to hearing updates on your work. With very best wishes from Australia.”

      The QoL network

      This was initially established to encourage special schools who had shown interest in our QoL approach to come together in order to learn more about the framework and share best practice.

      Since then network has expanded to include a range of different types of special schools, mainstream schools and colleges, university researchers and charities.

      This growth has been supported and encouraged by the National Association of Special Schools (NASS) through their incubator project.

      At present, there are over 40 member organisations but this list is updated regularly. Below is a map of the members that are committed to the Quality of Life framework and have access to the QoL-PiE:

      The benefits of joining the QoL Network

      All organisations who join the network and implement the QoL framework will have access to a QoL-PIE ! (Planning, Implementation and Evaluation tool).

      This comprehensive electronic system has been developed using MS Teams ‘Planner’  which means it is easily accessible to most organisations.

      In addition to this, each organisation will be given their own GDPR compliant, secure database through this website, which allows you to:

      • Upload student information and family contact log in details
      • Complete student and family questionnaires (QoLA)
      • Access individually analysed student and family QoLA data
      • Access collective student and family QoLA data
      • Access comparative student and family data sets over time.

      Members of the network also have access to IT support through Blue Planet, the school’s IT consultants, invitations to network meetings and opportunities to join best practice sharing action research projects.

      Being part of the network also allows schools to gain access to a message board for communal problem solving and best practice sharing.

      QoL Network Meetings
      We hold regular QoL Network meetings here  at Swalcliffe Park School. These take place once a term and provide an opportunity for staff from Network member organisations to:

      • Meet colleagues on the QoL journey with similar starting points and those further down the line.
      • Hear about the latest developments from our school staff.
      • Share resources such as reporting templates, job descriptions.
      • Discuss issues that are relevant to their schools.
      • Forge relationships with other schools from their region or special needs sector.

      QoL Newsletter
      We also regular newsletters to keep everyone up to date with the latest information.

      Click here to see previous copies of the Newsletter

      QoL Training
      We are also able to offer some initial and ongoing training on our QoL approach and would be happy to discuss any specific training requirements you may have. We can offer half-day and full-day sessions at your school according to your needs, for example small group or whole school/college. Please see the list of schools who have completed training sessions in

      Section 5 Research and Best Practice Sharing.

      Click here to see the current network membership list

    • Section 5: QoL research and best practice sharing

      Here you will be able to take a look at some of the work we have presented at conferences, national workshops and through the QoL Network.


      Abstract Submission

      For Autism Europe Conference 2022, Poland

      Better mental health and wellbeing for autistic people and their families


      The impact of transitioning to a school implementing a Quality-of-Life (QoL) framework on autistic children and their families


      Poppy Grimes, MSc, Research Associate, pgrimes@swalcliffepark.co.uk; Kiran Hingorani, MEd, CEO, khingorani@swalcliffepark.co.uk

      Funding: local authority (public) funded charity

      Keywords: quality-of-life, family voice, student voice, specialist education, improving outcomes, evidence-based


      Quality of life (QoL) is significantly lower in autistic children and their families than in typically developing children. Moreover, QoL is lower in autism than in other SEND. Access to holistic and special education, centred around the individual, is pivotal for increased wellbeing in autism. Our school’s starting premise is to improve student and family QoL. This practice-based study set out to determine the efficacy of an integrated educational framework based on termly QoL feedback. Using a peer-reviewed quality-of-life in autism (QoLA) questionnaire, our school identifies termly themes to provide a dynamic and tailored curriculum. Each child is assigned a ‘keyworker’ to facilitate weekly communication and to set QoL-based targets parallel to the student-family voice.

      Approach and outcome

      From 818 survey responses over 2019-2021, QoL trajectories were investigated to identify immediate and long-term impacts. From pre-admission to completion of one school term, both general self-perception of QoL and the impact of autism-associated behaviours remained consistent. However, over a cumulative three years, trajectories indicate improvement in students – general QoL increases steadily and the impact of autism symptoms on QoL lessons. Statistical analyses determined significant increases in QoL from pre-admission to the subsequent seventh and eighth term at our school.


      Adjusting to changes is a key challenge faced by autistic individuals. The ability to maintain a consistent quality of life at the onset of such a transition is no mean feat in the face of the corresponding anxiety. The benefits of QoL feedback-based target setting, curriculum and therapy strategies are evident after two years post-admission. Adjustment to new routines, forming friendships, access to professional support and community integration are all contributors.

      Challenges and future directions

      Our work replicates findings of consistently lower QoLA in families than children. This likely reflects the lower self-awareness in autism and the wider impact that families experience, across family and community contexts. Whilst family-voice is integral to our keyworking, formal participation in QoL surveys is difficult to establish. The school is improving this by highlighting the outcomes through QoL-focussed workshops and newsletters. In addition, we hope to use our data as a predictor for new starters to inform attenuating approaches to the related transitional challenges.


      Since the submission of the report, we have performed a similar analysis but just focused on item BQ21 ‘Overall how would you rate your quality-of-life (1-10)’ as an alternative indicator. Increasing the scale of answers improves precision and addresses variability in both student and family scores. The results are in Figure 2 below and show a similar trajectory but, notably, demonstrate the significant increase from pre-admission to the first term.



      Conference presentations
      Our conference presentations have been in partnership with UK University researchers; in collaboration with Professor Valsa Eapen who developed the Quality of Life in Autism (QoLA) questionnaire; or they reflect our own research efforts. All have been accepted for presentation via a process of peer review by organisations such as The National Autistic Society, Autism Europe, The Asian-Pacific Autism Conference (APAC) and the World Psychiatry Congress.


      Testing new measures of the Quality of Life of young people on the autism spectrum and their parents. APAC, Sydney, Australia.  January 2017

      Click here to see conference poster

      A framework for using Quality of Life information to improve outcomes for students with autism and their families. NAS Professionals Conference, Harrogate, UK.  March 2018

      Click here to see conference poster

      A framework for using Quality of Life information to improve outcomes for students with autism and their families. World Psychiatry Congress, Prague, Czech Republic.   July 2018

      Click here to see conference poster

      Measuring Quality of Life in autism spectrum disorder: The QoLA scale and cross-cultural perspectives.    APAC QoL Symposium,  Singapore. June 2019 

      Click here to see APAC presentation

      A Quality of Life approach to changing the way we support young people with autism and their families.  Autism Europe, Nice, France.  September 2019


      Click here to see conference poster

      Autism Europe: Krakow, Poland Oct 2022

      Click here to see conference poster

      International Psychiatry Conference: Dubai

      ‘Quality of Life through a cross cultural lens’ Symposium

      Click here to see abstract

      National workshops

      A number of national organisations have invited us to share our QoL work through workshops, these include:

      • South and West Leaders in Special Schools (SWALSS): May 2018
      • National Association of Special Schools (NASS): June 2018
      • Institute of Education (IoE): June 2019
      • Research SEND: University of Wolverhampton: Sept 2019
      • Autism Learns webinar: February 26/27 2021
      • NASS conference workshop, October 2021
      • Engage QoL conference, Keynote address: November 2021
      • SWALSS online workshops October 23rd and 30th, 2021
      • Headsight: Mental health strategy leadership training, November 2021
      • Warks Uni: Research in action, December 10th, 2021
      • Independent schools annual forum: May 2022
      • Autism Show: London June 2022
      • SWALSS: Principal’s conference Jan 2023
      • SWALSS: Governor’s conference June 2023
      • Autism Show: London June 2023
      • Autism Show: Birmingham June 2023
      • Autism Show: Manchester July 2023

      School based training
      These usually take place as half or whole-day sessions and provide an introduction to our QoL Framework and how this can be implemented within your school’s context.

      We would be happy to visit your school or organisation to deliver QoL training, and this can be anything from a small management group to a whole school training. To find out more please contact me, Kiran to discuss your specific training needs.
      Here is a list of schools and organisations who have invited us to deliver QoL training for their staff.

      • Ambitious About Autism, London Feb 2019
      • Inspire Alternative provision, London April 2019
      • Oxfordshire Teaching School Alliance May 2019
      • Wargrave House School, Warrington May and November 2019
      • William Henry Smith, Brighouse May and August 2019
      • Trinity School, Newbury: July 2019
      • Peterhouse School, Southport, Jan 2020
      • Breckenbrough School, Thirsk March 2022
      • Warriner School, Bloxham TBC

      Staff in these school are happy to be contacted for testimonial purposes.

      QoL Network Meetings
      We hold regular QoL Network meetings at Swalcliffe Park School. These usually take place once a term and provide an opportunity for staff from Network member schools to:

      • Share resources and discuss future developments.
      • Meet colleagues on the QoL journey with similar starting points and those further down the line.
      • Hear about the latest developments from our school staff.
      • Discuss issues that are relevant to their schools.
      • Forge relationships with other schools from their region or special needs sector.

      The meetings usually run between 10am and 3pm and lunch is provided.


    • Section 6: QoL Resources

      Over recent years we have developed a range of resources to support the implementation of QoL in our school, which we are very happy to share. These are available through the Planning Implementation and Evaluation (PIE) tool mentioned in Section 4. Our resource bank is updated regularly and includes contributions from other network schools and partner organisations. Please contact me, Kiran for details of how to access these resources which include:

      • QoL framework poster
      • QoLA/ FQoLA
      • Independence plus curriculum
      • Keyworker role description
      • QoL Manager role description
      • How Keyworking improves QoL outcomes booklet
      • Annual Review report
      • All About Me/ All About Us
      • Pen portrait for admission
      • Conference research posters
      • Annual cycle for QoL
      • QoL mapping to Ofsted framework
      • Governance structure and function

    “Evidence-based research has informed how the school is organised and the approach taken to working with children who have autistic spectrum disorders. The school is now contributing to international research in the field and senior staff have presented the school’s pioneering work at conferences in the UK and abroad” (OFSTED 2018)