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Development of training modules for school staff educating pupils with autism and complex needs

AET Project Brief – Development of training modules for school staff educating pupils with autism and complex needs including a module to enable staff to increase the participation of pupils with autism with few or no verbal skills -NOW CLOSED.


The Autism Education Trust was awarded contracts by the Department for Education (DfE) for the development and delivery of an integrated programme of training and materials over the period 2011/15.

An extension to the current contract until April 2016 will build on the success of the AET’s two previous programmes.

This brief sets down the requirements to develop two linked training modules to complement the revised AET level 2 training materials for schools also being developed this year. The first module focusses on general teaching strategies for children and young people with autism. The second module focusses particularly on enhancing the participation of young people with complex needs in the light of the increased imperative for participation in the SEND legislative framework. 


Purpose

To develop two training modules that can be delivered by AET schools training hubs for school staff educating children and young people with complex needs as part of the new level 2 AET school staff training programme.  It is envisaged that the two modules may be delivered separately to the schools level 2 training, but remain a part of the same programme and be delivered through the same training hubs structure.



Background

The Autism Education Trust

The Autism Education Trust (AET) was founded in 2007 by Ambitious about Autism (formally Tree House), The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and The National Autistic Society (NAS) and has received consistent support from both governments since that time.

The  vision of the AET is that all children and young people with autism should receive an education which enables them to engage in society as active citizens and that their families and the professionals who work with them are informed, supported and equipped to enable this to be achieved.

In order to achieve this, the AET has a mission to improve the education of young people with autism.

The AET achieves its mission through:
• the identification and promotion of high standards in autism education practice
• the identification and promotion of effective practitioner competency in support of those standards
• providing a platform for training in effective practice in support of improved competency
• disseminating information regarding evidence-based and good practice approaches/services to policy makers,  commissioners and practitioners
• providing  an interface between users, practitioners and policy makers in respect of service development
• ensuring that full and proper engagement of stakeholders informs its work and facilitating the engagement  of stakeholders with government

The AET is in a unique position to carry out these activities because of:
• Its independence
• The partnership it supports between voluntary bodies and voluntary bodies and the maintained sector
• The active role of people with autism in the work and governance of the AET.
• Its national brief
• Its  focus on practical activity in education contexts

The 2011-13 and 2013-15 AET programmes
In the summer of 2011 the DfE awarded the AET funding to deliver an ambitious 2 year programme to raise workforce competency through:
• Delivering autism training for school staff  at level 1 (general awareness), level 2 (for staff working with young people with autism on a daily basis) and level 3 (for specialists such as SENCOs)
• Integrating this training with national standards for schools for autism education.
• Developing a competency framework to guide professional development

Birmingham University were commissioned to develop the training materials and the standards and 7 regional hubs were commissioned to deliver the training. The programme was rolled out successfully. By the end of the programme in March 2013:   
• Over 10,500 school staff had been trained at level 1, over 850 at level 2 and nearly 200 at level 3.
• The AET Standards were published in May 2012 and there was strong interest and positive feedback from schools from the outset. There is now evidence of the standards being used in schools and strategically in some LAs on a whole LA basis.
• An AET Competency Framework was published in September 2012 which provides a structure for professional development. We are now receiving regular feedback from schools that this supporting staff CPD in this area of expertise.

A final evaluation (2013) from University of Warwick CEDAR unit found:

For level 1
• Very positive feedback  with robust evidence of staff moving on to level 2 as a result if undertaking level 1 training.
• Level 1 AET training materials have been successful in raising the knowledge, awareness and understanding of the majority of the participants, including those with previous experience of working with pupils on the autism spectrum.
• There was a highly significant rise in pre- and post-training mean total score on the Knowledge Quiz (p < .001).
• Over 8 out of 10 thought the training was ‘worthwhile’.

For level 2 and 3
• Very positive feedback with over 84% indicating the training was worthwhile and had increased their knowledge
• 93% of level 2 delegates and 97% of level 3 delegates  were interested in further training

The DfE awarded the AET a contract for a new 2013-15 programme that built on this success. It extended it by:
• Developing new Early Years  and Post 16 Training materials and associated Autism Standards and Competency Framework
• Commissioning 4 Early Years and 4 Post 16 Training hubs to deliver the programme
• Developing the AET Standards for use by parents in selecting schools and having a constructive dialogue with staff ion their child’s school.
• Developing a toolkit for LAs and other organisations who are using the AET training, Standards and Competency Frameworks
 

The diagram below sets out the broad structure of the 2015/16 AET offer. It brings together work produced in the 2011/13 and 2013/15 programmes and links these with the new developments in the current 2015/16 programme.  

 

new AET programme diagramme image


Developing two training modules that can be delivered by AET schools training hubs for school staff educating children and young people with complex needs as part of the new level 2 AET school staff training programme. 

The AET has received consistent feedback over recent years that its training programme for schools should encompass the professional development of staff working with children and young people with complex needs who may have little or no language. It is planned to have two training modules that dovetail with the new AET level 2 schools training materials that enable the programme better to meet the needs of staff working with these pupils with more complex needs.


The first module will provide an overview of general teaching strategies that are particularly suited to meeting the needs of young people with complex needs with little or no language. It will take account of the range of settings in which these young people are taught.

The second module will broaden the existing participation work to focus specifically on including the voice of young people with severe and complex needs. Existing good practice across the autism and learning disabilities sectors will be collected and combined with leading edge practice on gathering and incorporating the voice of young people with autism through building choice and self-advocacy with specific reference to the involvement of young people’s views in their EHC Plans.

The first stage of this work is a review of the literature and existing good practice which has a practical application to the work of education staff working with children and young people with autism with complex needs. This will involve consultation with a range of stakeholders.

The second stage will be the production of a training pack for AET training hubs delivering the schools programme and delegate packs to integrate with the level 2 training. This will involve trialling the new materials.

The third phase of the work will be to review the revised AET Standards and Competency Framework to include items that specifically relate to children and young people with complex needs including their increased participation in determining their education.



Integration with other project strands in the new 2015/16 programme

This strand of the AET 2015/16 programme links with other strands of the programme.  In particular work will need to be coordinated with the following strands of the 2015/16 programme:

Revision of the 2011-12 schools training materials and Revision of the 2012 AET Schools Autism Standards and Competency Frameworks

By 2015 over 50,000 staff will have been trained using level 1, 2 or 3 training materials. Feedback on the materials and their impact on practice and provision has been gathered systematically since they were developed. This information will inform an extensive revision which will also integrate changes introduced by individual trainers. A significant feature of the revision will be that the materials will be updated to take account of the new legislative framework that has been introduced since the original materials were produced.  

These revisions will be supported by the development of a hard copy support pack of teaching strategies for participants

The AET Standards and Competency Frameworks are being used increasingly by schools. They provide descriptors to allow schools and staff to structure development priorities. Each priority is hyperlinked to resources to support development. The frameworks and the hyperlinked resources need to be updated to reflect new developments, changes in legislation and the new Ofsted framework. The proposed revision will also illustrate use with numerous case studies from schools.

Research and development to produce a progression framework and associated training module measuring the progress of children and young people with autism

The need to for research that can be applied by teachers to track the progress of children and young people with SEND has been identified as a research priority by DfE in its latest paper in March 2014. This strand of the AET 2015/16 programme is an important response to the sharper focus on outcomes set down in the new SEND Code of Practice. This priority has also been identified consistently by AET training hubs.

The first part of this work is a review of the literature which has a practical application to the work of education staff tracking the progress of children and young people with autism and using this information to guide their educational offer. The second part is to produce a framework that can be applied in a wide range of settings for pupils with autism with diverse needs. The final part of the brief is to develop a training module for the AET training hubs that can support staff in applying the framework in their own situations.
The training will be delivered through existing AET schools training hubs and their appointed subcontractors. It is important that the considerable expertise that our existing hubs trainers have in meeting the needs of this population is used effectively in determining the content, scope and timings for these training modules.
The successful contractor will have access to our group of hubs through the Programme Partners meetings to facilitate their involvement.
 


What are the key deliverables?

There will be 3 key deliverables:

1. A review of the literature and existing good practice which has a practical application to the work of education staff working with children and young people with autism with complex needs. This will involve consultation with a range of stakeholders.

2. The production of a training pack for AET training hubs delivering the schools programme  and delegate pack for attendees to integrate with the level 2 training

3. A review of the revised AET Standards and Competency Framework to include items that specifically relate to children and young people with complex needs including their increased participation in determining their education through their EHCP.


What key skills / experience are important to us?

The team chosen should have a range of skills and experience including:

• A rigorous and broad knowledge of the latest relevant research developments in the area.
• Experience of applying research to develop practical materials for practitioners.
• Extensive experience in working with people across the autistic spectrum, and especially those with severe and complex needs and little or no language.
• Experience of the development of training materials and delivering high quality training.
• Knowledge of leading edge work enabling the participation of children and young people in determining their education.
• A good knowledge of the new requirements of schools under the provisions of the 2014 Children’s and Families Act and the associated SEND Code of Practice.
• A good knowledge of the existing AET training materials would be an advantage but not essential.
• Bidders should state where their employees include individuals with autism and how their skills will be used in this work.

 


When do we need it?

The delivery timetable is set out below:

 
Activity

By When
 
Contractor appointed
 
June 2015
 
Commencement of contract
 
June  2015
 
Review of the literature and existing good practice.
 
August  2015
 
Development and trialling of complex needs and participation modules
 
November 2015
 
Delivery of final training modules
 
December 2015
 
Development of a training pack for AET training hubs and design of the delegate packs.
 
December 2015
 
Review and supplement the revised AET Standards and Competency Framework.
 
December  2015

 


Budget and course cost structure
The total funding for the contract inclusive of any VAT payable, all production costs and all expenses is £30,000

Training packs must include 2 final hard-copy trainer packs per hub (22 copies in total) and all supporting materials and the fully designed and print-ready delegate packs (but excluding printing which is outside the terms of this brief).

Both training modules must be suitable for delivery at a different time and place to the main Level 2 schools sessions.



Further information

Organisations who are interested in competing for this work should submit the proforma available to download here by Friday 22nd May 2015.   Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Monday 15th June and Tuesday 16th June 2015.

For an overview of the AET please see the AET website at www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk . For individual queries please email our Administrator, Joanne Driver at Joanne@autismeducationtrust.org.uk . We will either respond to your query by email or arrange a phone call if necessary.


Relevant links

The AET programme