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National Standards

AET Project brief - National Standards - NOW CLOSED 

The Autism Education Trust believes that all children and young people with autism* should receive an education which enables them to reach their individual potential to engage in society as active citizens (and that individuals, families and professionals are informed, supported and equipped to enable this to be achieved).
*The term autism refers to all those on the autistic spectrum including Asperger syndrome

The purpose of the AET is to further raise awareness of the importance of autism education across the children’s workforce, to bring organisations involved in delivering autism education services together in order to promote effective practice and share information and to involve children and young people with autism and their families and carers in the planning and delivery of information and resources to enhance and improve autism education across the country.

To develop national standards that describe the key factors common to current good practice for children and young people with autism irrespective of specific intervention / methodology.

Audiences and methodology
The Standards will be aimed at all settings that work with children and young people with autism regardless of the interventions and type of setting (ie mainstream, special or specialist). However, they will be particularly aimed at schools educating pupils from 5-16.

Phases and Stages:
Phase 1: Incorporate the findings of our Good Practice and Outcomes Research projects into the development of the standards as well as other relevant research findings by December 2011

Phase 2: Engage relevant stakeholders to review the standards by February 2012   

Phase 3: Create the final version of the standards by March 2012

Phase 4: PDF Version of the standards will be designed and available for download by March 2012

Phase 5: Promotion of the standards from April 2012 onwards

What should be included?
The National Standards should include existing resources and there should be flexibility for them to be adapted and extended to apply to particular settings. Part of the brief will be to set out how they should be disseminated and promoted so they are self-sustaining and do not require further grant funding. We have already had a meeting which has gathered stakeholder’s views about the National Standards and the notes from this will be available to the contractor. There was a strong emphasis that to have maximum impact the AET National Standards should build upon existing generic standards both in content and format.

1. Incorporate conclusions of Good Practice & Outcomes Research projects
2. The standards developed should build upon existing standards including:
   a. DCSF Good Practice Guidance
   b. AET Good Practice Research
   c. AET Outcomes Research
   d. TDA guidance

Necessary elements
1. Recommendations for adoption / influencing standards
2. Reviewed by stakeholders
   a. Expert Reference Group
   b. Youth Council
   c. Parents Group / Network
3. PDF Version designed and available for download

Inclusion in other plans and programmes
1. Included in AET communication Plan 
2. Consider how this standard fits with the NAS Autism Accreditation Programme.

1. Best way to promote the  standards and the strengths and weaknesses of each medium:
   a. Internet
   b. Mass e-mail campaigns
   c. Advertisements
   d. Other mediums
2. How to engage stakeholders in promotion
3. Sustainable and low cost forms of promotion

Key deliverables / milestones? 
The development of the AET National Standards is integral to the overall AET training programme

It also feeds into and draws from the parallel development by the AET of a competency framework for professionals concerned with the education of young people with autism and training materials at 3 levels for staff working with young people with autism (see document references below). These other two elements of the AET programme are the subject of separate tenders. The way these three elements relate is set out in the diagram below.

The National Standards developed must also align with the principles identified in the AET Good practice and Outcomes research and emphasise the importance of the voices of the young person with autism and their parent or carer.

It is therefore expected that the bidder chosen will work very closely with other contractors commissioned to deliver those work streams.

AET pyramid image
AET Schema of Work

What are the key deliverables, milestones and impacts? 

1. Meaningful engagement with key stakeholders where the possibility of remote consultation should be considered where needed.
2. Ensure standards of education for children and young people with autism are raised in Schools and Academies
3. Ensure that parents are able to reference the standards to inform choice in the education of their children
4. Increase parental confidence in schools
5. Improve outcomes for children and young people and reduce exclusions

What key skills / capabilities are important to us?  

• Ability to undertake high quality work to set down principles of practice which can guide the work of schools and settings
• Ability to access and synthesise literature and documents within the field
• To have established networks of professionals and parents with whom to engage in this task
• Track record in working for and with people across the autism spectrum, whether they have High Functioning Autism / Asperger syndrome or have classical autism with or without other learning difficulties. (Although this can  be provided by a partner organisation to the bidder)
• Ability to understand the wider policy framework including the current broader context for education CPD
• Bidders should state where their research team includes researchers with autism and how their skills will be used in this work.

When do we need it?
A timetable is set out below:

AET National Standards brief timetable image

There is a maximum budget of £30,000 including VAT and expenses. The bulk of the spend will fall in 2011/12. Stakeholder meetings and the dissemination process will be funded separately by AET.

Organisations who are interested in competing for this work should complete the brief tender proforma which is supplied with this document which details how they would address this remit and what particular skills and expertise they bring. This document will be assessed by a panel delegated by the AET Programme Board who will select the successful bidder.

For an overview of the AET, please see the AET Presentation.

Relevant Documents
1. National standards  tender document and assessment criteria proforma - Interactive PDF or Word document. If you would like a different version please e-mail us for assistance.
2. AET Presentation
3. AET Good Practice report
4. AET Outcomes report
5. AET Project Brief: Competency framework
6. AET Project Brief: Training Materials Development