Gloucestershire College awarded Autism Quality Mark
Gloucestershire College is the first college in the county to be awarded an Autism Inclusion Quality Mark, recognising its outstanding work towards autism inclusion.
The Gloucestershire Autism Inclusion Quality Mark (GAIQM) recognises the work done by the GC Learning Support Team to promote the inclusion, motivation, progress and welfare of young people with autism and communication needs. To achieve the Quality Mark, the College was visited and audited several times by the IMPACT team at Gloucestershire County Council, who thoroughly explored the autism provision offered by GC.
The Quality Mark was presented to members of the GC Learning Support Team on 28th March. The presentation was particularly timely as it fell during the College’s World Autism Awareness Week celebrations.
Gill Wade at the Council’s Advisory Teaching Service told the GC Learning Support Team: “We were really impressed by the quality of the provision you have in place to meet the needs of young people with autism and communication needs, and also by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by your Autism Champions and staff.
“Achieving the Gloucestershire Autism Inclusion Quality Mark celebrates all the hard work that you have put into supporting young people with autism to thrive and reach their potential.”
The Autism Quality Mark is a huge achievement for the College, which has seen its autism provision go from strength to strength in recent years. The GC Learning Support Team consists of an Autism Co-ordinator and two autism specialist Learning Support Assistants, who between them provide support to 161 learners across the three GC campuses, as well as delivering training, drop in sessions and one-to-one advice to staff on how to support students on the autism spectrum.
GC Autism Co-ordinator, Alice Hibberd said: “On behalf of the ASC Team I’d like to thank every member of staff that has worked with us to achieve the Autism Inclusion Quality Mark. This has been a huge team effort, especially within our Learning Support department.
“We are looking forward to continuing to providing this essential support and hope to continue developing our ASC provision at the college.”
To celebrate World Autism Week from 27th to 31st March, the Autism Team ran a number of autism awareness promoting activities across the three GC campuses. Students and staff were invited to experience what it feels like to have autism by wearing a virtual reality headset, enter a creative challenge and sign the GC Autism Pledge, which promises to value and respect that everyone is unique.
The GC Autism Ambassadors also visited each site to share their experience of the autism spectrum. Food and Beverage student and Autism Ambassador, Shurjo Wright said: “It’s outstanding here, the Autism LSAs are so friendly and give you good advice if you’re having a bad day.
“The support from the Autism Team has changed my life massively and I find coping with peer pressure a lot easier because of the support. The Autism LSAs have encouraged me to be an Autism Ambassador for the Cheltenham campus and it has strengthened my CV and made me stand out for good reasons.”
For more information on learning support at Gloucestershire College visit: http://www.gloscol.ac.uk/learningsupport