The team which provides teaching and support for pupils who have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition at Wilmslow high School have been shortlisted for a national award.
The ASC Resource Provision Team have been selected as finalists for the National Autistic Society award for 'Inspirational Education Provision', along with two other schools in the country.
A parent nominated the school for the award last year for the innovative practice that the team displays when supporting students with complex autism.
The Wilmslow High School ASC Resource Provision started 13 years ago, but began evolving into the provision it is today in 2014, when Katie Goodwin took over. Forest School was introduced later that year as an alternative way of experiencing learning outside the classroom. Students are taught to use tools, make fire and den building, amongst other things. Forest School sees the students begin to take responsibility for their learning as well as taking risks and becoming natural collaborative learners.
One parent said "It is difficult to convey the impact these activities have had on my child's self-image, confidence, social skills, learning and enjoyment of school. Thank you so much everyone!"
Another parent said "The resource is like a second family ... the future is bright, that was unimaginable 4 years ago!"
Katie Goodwin, Head of ASC Resource at Wilmslow High School, said "We are thrilled to have been nominated for the inspirational education provider award. Autism is a wonderful thing as there are so many truly amazing things that people with autism can do, some of which have changed, and continue to change, the world in which we live.
"However, unfortunately childhood and the teenage years are difficult for a lot of people with autism and the route through education can be a very difficult and emotional one. Our ethos is to make this journey the best it can be, by removing barriers and facilitating independence. So, for a parent of one of our students to have been the one to nominate us, it makes the nomination even more special; then to find out that we have been shortlisted as finalists is the icing on the cake and just an incredible feeling. Being one of the only mainstream providers nominated, shows how Inclusive Wilmslow High School is and this inclusivity reaches far beyond our students with autism."
The team at Wilmslow High School now face an anxious wait before the winners are announced on 7th March.
Photo: Team members (left to right): Rick Westwood, John Eley, Val Hulme, Emma McLean, Katie Goodwin, Alex Thomson, Lauren Jeavons and Norma Waddell. The photo was taken on their annual Autism Awareness Day during their afternoon tea fundraiser.