ELGIN ACADEMY STAFF have reason to celebrate having helped create the first mainstream secondary school in Scotland to have official Autism accreditation.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) has recognised the efforts of the Moray school in teaching children with autism with the recognition following a series of inspections. These looked in detail at how staff at the school interacted with autistic children.
It follows several years of hard work at Elgin Academy, who five years ago worked with Scottish Autism in establishing training and continued development for staff.
A spokesman for the Moray school said: “We have been working towards this status for several years, with a huge amount of collaborative work taking place involving staff, pupils, parents and partners.
“We were visited by a team from NAS in February of this year for three days, when they met with staff, pupils and parents, and observed the life of the school and observed many lessons.”
Following these visits a NAS report said: “The Review team were very impressed with the high level of commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by all the staff they met during the three-day Review.
“Discussions with stakeholders showed that autistic pupils were fully integrated into the school. Knowledge and understanding of best practice in the field of autism was clearly documented, understood and practised by all staff observed.
“All pupils were seen to be happy and clearly enjoyed their learning experiences. Autistic pupils are thriving at Elgin Academy.”
Chair of the NAS Moray & Nairn branch, Glyn Morris, was first to welcome the announcement. With his own autistic son attending Forres Academy, he hoped that other Moray schools would be encouraged to seek similar accreditation status.
He said: “This has set a benchmark and hopefully Elgin Academy can share information with other schools to help them reach it. My son has been in education for about 13 years now and things have improved for autistic children over that time.”
Mr Morris added that every child was an individual who required a different approach, saying: “The best way to continue making things better is to engage with parents as they know best how to teach their children.”