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School praised by autism charity

PRESENTATION ... Robert Pritchett, director of the Autism Society, right, with assistant headteacher Karen Ferguson and pupils Alan Stanfield, left, and Rhys Smith.

PRESENTATION ... Robert Pritchett, director of the Autism Society, right, with assistant headteacher Karen Ferguson and pupils Alan Stanfield, left, and Rhys Smith.

A SCHOOL has become the first in South Tyneside to be given the seal of approval by a national charity.

Jarrow School has been accredited by the National Autistic Society, a UK charity for people with autism.

The merit has been awarded to the Field Terrace school’s post-11 autistic centre, which offers specialised education to children with the condition.

Assistant headteacher Karen Ferguson, who also runs the autistic centre, said: “We’re the first school in South Tyneside to be given this accreditation and we’re over the moon about it.

“It just goes to show that we’re doing the right things – it’s like a gold standard mark.

“People from the society spent three days with us, watching lessons and social time, so it’s more intense than Ofsted in a way because they’re here for so long.

“We’ve been given good practice marks as well, which is very unusual for a school that has just been accredited, so we’re really pleased.

“The inspectors said the environment is used perfectly and the programme and curriculum are perfectly balanced for an autistic child, between life skills, social interaction and academic achievement.”

Inspectors from the society marked the school in four different core areas, environment, teaching and learning, activity organisation and resources, and teaching methods, before deciding the school deserved accreditation.

In a ceremony held yesterday, Robert Pritchett, director of autism accreditation, a branch of the National Autistic Society, presented the school with its award.

He said: “The school very quickly worked to achieve the standards required to get the award.

“Pupils can be assured that the school can include children with autism very successfully.

“To be the first school in the area with National Autistic Society accreditation is very exciting for them, and we hope that schools such as Jarrow lead the way for others.”

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