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Autism in Schools

What is happening in Dorset?

The ‘Autism in Schools’ project is a cross system project funded by NHS England, to improve outcomes for autistic children and young people in mainstream schools.  Dorset Parent Carer Council, Dorset Council and NHS Dorset are working together to deliver the project locally. 


At present the project will run for one year with training and support being provided to all staff in the schools invited to take part.


Dorset Council hold a 3 year Autism Education Trust (AET) licence which will enable a range of local practitioners from across the Dorset Partnership to deliver the AET training to the mainstream schools involved.


Project Pilot

The projects main aim is to support the training of school staff and leaders to ensure that mainstream schools offer environments in which autistic students thrive, supporting good mental health and promoting inclusion.


There are four key elements of the pilot;

•    A Learning and Development Programme which seeks to develop a positive school environment for autistic pupils through reasonable adjustments and understanding.

•   Developing school-based parent carer participation building on and supported by the Parent Carer Forum (Dorset Parent Carer Council). 

•  Building a new relationship between Child Adolescent Mental Health Service and schools which is focused on developing autism friendly environments and practice.

•  Hearing from autistic Children and Young People and developing their self-awareness and resilience.

The pilot will run in the following Dorset schools until the end of this academic school year (2023/24).

Chesil Locality (Weymouth & Portland):

Budmouth Academy

Wyke Regis Primary Federation

Dorchester Locality:

Thomas Hardye School

Dorchester Middle School

The Prince of Wales School

East Locality:

Queen Elizabeth School

St Michaels School

Allenbourn Middle School

Purbeck Locality:

The Purbeck School

Bovington Academy

North Locality:

Shaftesbury School

Blandford School

Milldown CE Academy

Shaftesbury CE Primary School

West Locality:

Beaminster School

Beaminster St Mary’s School

The Pilot follows on from work originally developed in the Northeast region, which was based on feedback from parent carers about their autistic children's experience of school.


You can read more about the background to the Autism in Schools pilot on the links below. The following buttons will let your view both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Evaluation Reports from the Autism Learning Programme, North Cumbria and the Northeast Accelerator Project.

Dorset Autism in Schools Newsletters

Edition 1: May 2023

Edition 2: July 2023

Edition 3: November 2023

Evaluation Reports

Autism in Schools National Evaluation

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