DfE extends Autism Education Trust contract

The Autism Education Trust (AET) has had its contract with the Department for Education (DfE) extended by another two years, allowing it to help more autistic children and young people get the education they deserve.

The Trust is the leading autism training and support programme for education settings and practitioners. Its evidence based programme is developed in consultation with autism education academics and professionals, and with the direct involvement of people on the autistic spectrum.

The DfE’s support means that the Trust will be able to help increasing number of practitioners in education settings (0 – 25) to respond to the needs of children and young people with autism.  It will also ensure that all of the AET’s training materials and resources can continue to be regularly updated so that they are in line with the latest research, ensuring the highest quality.

The AET’s training programmes are delivered through contracted licence partners trained and supported by the Trust. The introduction of a new partnership approach will allow prospective training partners to directly join its delivery network. It is offering licence agreements in local authority areas across the three education phases: early years settings, schools and colleges, and universities. As a not-for-profit organisation, the partners benefit from competitively priced licence fees as well as direct access to AET’s support network.

The introduction of the delivery partnership approach coincides with the launch of the AET’s brand new website. The new platform will support the rapidly growing partner numbers as well as assisting training delegates and delivery partners with an array of new functionalities and tools, and a more intuitive user experience. 

Bob Lowndes, director at the AET, explains the significance of the DfE’s support: “More than one in 100 children globally are on the autism spectrum, including around 120,000 school-aged children in England, over 70 per cent of whom go to mainstream schools. This means that education professionals are bound to work with autistic students and therefore, improving the understanding of autism across the entire education sector is imperative. 

“Our vision is to see all autistic children and young people receive an education that enables them to fulfil their aspirations and engage in society as active citizens. To date, we have trained over 180,000 professionals; with the DfE’s support we aim to extend our reach to all local authority areas. At a time of critical funding challenges throughout the system, the DfE’s commitment highlights the importance of the work we are doing; its recognition is invaluable.” 

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