The programme was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) as a follow up to Ambitious about Autism’s research, ‘Finished at School’, which found that that fewer than one in four young people with autism continued their education beyond school.
The key findings from this independent report include:
- All 45 young people in the project who left school in summer 2014 made successful transitions to education. Thirty-four of these were to general further education colleges.
- Three-day core training on person-centred approaches to transition planning for young people with autism was viewed very positively. For college and school-based participants it was effective in inspiring improvements to the transition to post-school education of young people with autism.
- The four colleges involved in the project were successful in engaging a mix of mainstream and special schools to participate. It proved hardest to involve mainstream schools in the project – reasons for this were mainly related to being unable to commit the time required to deliver the project
The aim of the project was to prepare the general further education sector for the new responsibilities enshrined in the Children and Families Act, 2014. The programme took place from April 2013 until March 2015.
The Finished at School programme successfully established four college-led hubs, each working in partnership with local secondary schools and other relevant agencies to improve the transition from school to college of over 110 young people with autism, including complex autism. Each young person included in the project had to be due to make the transition to post-school education in September 2014 (Cohort 1), September 2015 (Cohort 2) or September 2016 (Cohort 3). The majority of the young people had a statement of special educational needs.
Overall, participants said the Finished at School programme stimulated positive changes in person-centred practices that enhanced the transition to further education in September 2014 of the first cohort of young people engaged with the project.