The 2016 Winners
Axcis Education Recruitment is the foremost specialist supplier of quality special educational needs (SEN) staffing solutions in the UK. Our commitment to working with government and professional partners plus our duty of care, ensures that, despite wide-ranging changes in education, we can have a positive effect on the lives of the young people with SEND we ultimately support. We appreciate these young people are some of the most vulnerable in our education system and require inclusive nurture to allow them to achieve to the very best of their ability.
Network Autism is a place where professionals can come together, open up new channels of information and share good practice.
Winner: Luke Beardon, Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Luke Beardon is a lecturer, supervisor, consultant, advisor and expert witness who through publication, presentation, teaching and one-to-one support to countless individuals has changed the public’s understanding of autism. The impact of his enthusiasm, energy and profound sensitivity to the nuances of autism has been witnessed by the very many people with autism he has helped, the professionals he has advised, the parents he has supported and the wider public he has influenced.
Winner: Professor Michael Rutter
Sir Michael Rutter has been a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital since 1966. He became the first UK Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry from 1973-1998 and is now Professor of Developmental Psychopathology. He set up the MRC Child Psychiatry Research Unit and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre. His research has included studies of school and family influences on children’s behaviour; autism; and the European and Romanian adoptee (ERA) studies on the effects of severe deprivation. He has a special interest in the interplay between genetic and psychosocial risk factors and in resilience. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Founding Fellow of the Academia Europaea and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor Rutter has received numerous international honours and has published around 500 scientific papers, and over 50 books.
Winner: Jonathan Andrews
At just 22 years old, Jonathan has already done great work for autism awareness and acceptance. In 2015 Jonathan secured a training contract with leading law firm Reed Smith. He was disappointed that no openly autistic people seemed to be in the legal sector or attended talks on disability when other conditions were represented, so he resolved to do this himself.
He’s appeared on TV and radio for the BBC and London Live, and was published in the Financial Times, discussing this issue. He also works with several employment organisations, including as a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors.
Most Inspirational Volunteer
Winner: Glyn Morris
Glyn is the owner of Moray Firth Pianos, a father-of-two, an autism campaigner, and a National Autistic Society Scotland volunteer. His 16-year-old son, Gregor is autistic.
Glyn displays ingenuity in developing new ways to give autistic people an adventure and chance to try something new. He started a Saturday morning swimming club, organised a sponsored race of pianos to raise £10,000, and launched Scotland’s first surf school for autistic children. Glyn does all of this on a volunteer basis, juggling his dedication to the NAS Scotland with work and family life.
Awards for Inspirational Education Provision – Primary School
Winner: Rainbow Room, Woodhouse Primary Academy
Following a difficult Ofsted visit in 2012, Woodhouse Primary underwent some changes. The school became an academy, a new Head was appointed, and the Resource Base was renamed the Rainbow Room. The Rainbow Room continues to go from strength to strength, supporting children and parents through their time at Woodhouse. The ethos of inclusion is becoming more embedded within the culture of the school. When the school was revisited by Ofsted in July 2015, it achieved good with some outstanding areas. The final report commented ‘Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, including pupils supported for autism through dedicated provision, achieve well.’
Award for Inspirational Education Provision – Secondary and over 16
Winner: Team Cherrywood, The Cherrywood Centre
Cherrywood opened in September 2013 so is fairly new, however the centre has come a long way in a short time. Cherrywood pupils access as much of the mainstream curriculum as appropriate, whilst acknowledging that this may take time for some individuals. Cherrywood pupils are all very different, there is not a standard pathway. Young people follow a highly individualised curriculum with a holistic approach. Ofsted endorsed the provision in May 2015 when the Lead Inspector gave highly complementary verbal feedback “Cherrywood provides young people with opportunities and enhances their life chances by a considerable measure”.
Award for Inspirational Education Provision – Other Education Provider
Winner: Marketing team, The National Autistic Society
My World is a service developed by The National Autistic Society’s Marketing Team. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get autism information and best practice directly to teachers and staff in schools across the UK. Since launching in April 2015, over 11,500 teaching staff have signed up to receive fortnightly emails and a welcome pack and numbers are growing daily. MyWorld aims for every education professionals to have the tools to ensure every autistic child is give the best chance in their nursery and school life.
Outstanding Adult Services
Winner: Autism Centre of Employment, University of Portsmouth
The Autism Centre for Employment (ACE) is a partnership between the University of Portsmouth, local authorities (Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight) and Autism Hampshire. It was set up with funding from the Department of Health: Autism Innovation fund. What makes ACD special is that it places special importance to the assessment of individual strengths, needs and career preferences. ACE has developed, and tested, an innovative and cost-effective set of employment-specific assessment tools. Our reports provide employers with extensive information about their individual employee, recommendations on individual adjustments, needs and on strategies to enhance the employment experience.
Outstanding Health Services
Winner: Open 2 Autism Team East Cheshire NHS Trust
Macclesfield Hospital, part of East Cheshire NHS Trust, was the first UK hospital to achieve the National Autistic Society’s Autism Access Award.
Open2Autism involves comprehensive cultural change to make acute hospital services more accessible for autistic people, a challenge as health services are often very structured. This requires flexibility across services and to help staff do this, the service introduced training for clinical staff and workshops developing key staff into autism link practitioners.
The outcome is a more positive experience, as staff more readily recognise when someone is experiencing difficulties, and can adopt a different approach to help them.
Outstanding Family Support
Winner: The National Autistic Society Pro Bono Team, Exchange Chambers
Exchange Chambers entered a pro-bono alliance with the NAS five years ago. Until then, they had generally been unable to offer representation at hearings. Many parents, already exhausted by the demands of caring for a child with a lifelong disability, were understandably daunted by the prospect of arguing their case before the Special Educational Needs Tribunal. Barristers from Exchange Chambers now provide free legal representation at such hearings, using their strong advocacy skills to empower and represent parents in the most effective way.
Award for Most Creative Community Project
Winner: Surf School, The National Autistic Society
The surf school was launched by the National Autistic Society’s Scotland’s Moray and Nairn branch in July 2015. It is run by two volunteers- branch chairperson, Glyn Morris, and water sports instructor, Kev Anderson. As well as giving autistic people an adventure and chance to try something new, the surf school increases confidence and social interaction. Lessons are held on the beach during the summer, and move indoors to a swimming pool in winter. The uptake has been fantastic: lessons are always fully booked on the day they are announced.
Most Supportive Employer
Winner: Autism Oxford
Autism Oxford UK’s team is a pioneering collaboration of autistic and neuro-typical people. Founded in 2009, the team includes autistic trainers, volunteers, parents and therapists. They teach the realities of life with autism (speaking to 3866 professionals in 2014/15), provide Autism Alert Card scheme, and support adults to diagnostic assessment. Autistic team members enjoy individualised person-centred support, including specialist therapy, adjustments for communication, sensory, anxiety, cognitive and cultural issues, organising, planning, hours and transport. Team earnings fund all support.
Winner: Greenside School
Everything that is done at Greenside school is underpinned by a belief in the importance of establishing relationships and support strategies that allow everyone to access learning and life opportunities.
The Greenside Studio is a specialist, vocational teaching resource, based within the heart of the school’s local community. A ‘’living classroom’’ this local shop provides exceptional opportunities for young autistic people or people with severe learning difficulties to undertake work related learning, including vocational courses designed to develop communication, social interaction and independence skills.