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Secure engagement with Ofsted at a strategic policy level to seek its recognition of the AET national standards as supporting compliance with wider regulatory frameworks

The Autism Education Trust has been awarded a contract by the Department for Education to continue its well-established work in building capacity across the education system for children and young people with autism.

As part of this contract DfE requires AET to seek the endorsement of Ofsted of the AET national standards and acknowledgement that the pursuit of these by education settings is supportive of wider development and improvement.

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Ensure that AET standards and processes align with Ofsted inspection requirements, where possible and seek Ofsted expression of understanding and support of use of AET standards in driving school improvement

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The Autism Education Trust
The Autism Education Trust (AET) was founded in 2007 by Ambitious about Autism, The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and The National Autistic Society (NAS) and has received consistent support from government 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 build capacity in the education system for children and 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

Underpinning the AET programme across all three education phases are its national standards of good practice within education settings and competency frameworks for the professional development of staff. These standards are freely available to settings for self or peer evaluation purposes and to support improvement in a setting’s response to children and young people with autism. The standards are cross referenced to Ofsted inspection frameworks and the DfE SEND Code of Practice and settings are encouraged to integrate their use into wider development/improvement processes. The AET Competency Frameworks are cross-referenced to the Teachers Standards.

Settings demonstrating a strong commitment to improving experiences and outcomes for children and young people with autism through pursuit of the AET standards often express the wish that Ofsted would take into account and value this commitment as part of Ofsted inspections.

Further, were Ofsted to express its acknowledgement of and support for the use of the standards in driving improvement, this would encourage more settings to embrace and use the standards.

This project is to engage with Ofsted to explore the potential for acknowledgement and support.

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Key deliverables.

There will be 4 key deliverables:
    1.    Engage with Ofsted policy team to secure engagement and agree process
    2.    Present AET standards and engage in dialogue as to extent to which they support Ofsted frameworks
    3.    Explore how far Ofsted will ‘endorse’ use of AET standards
    4.    Agree position and report

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Key skills and capabilities.

   •    Good understanding Ofsted frameworks, structures and processes
   •    Good understanding of autism and/or SEND contexts/issues.
   •    Access to relevant Ofsted personnel
   •    Ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders including AET Young Person’s Panel
   •    Good organisational skills
   •    Good analytical and report writing skills

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The delivery timetable is set out below:

 Activity  By when
 Provider appointed  June 2017
 Present brief and consult AET Young Person’s Panel Saturday 9th September 2017 
 Engage with Ofsted policy team to secure engagement and agree process
Present AET standards and engage in dialogue as to extent to which they support Ofsted frameworks
 September 2017
 Pursue dialogue as to extent to which Ofsted will ‘endorse’ use of AET standards  December 2017
 Agree position and report  February 2018




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The maximum funding for this contract is £5,000 inclusive of any VAT.

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Further information

Organisations or individuals who are interested in competing for this work should submit the proforma available with this brief by  Tuesday 23rd May 2017.   Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Thursday 1st June 2017.

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

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Relevant links

The AET schools autism standards

The AET programme