School’s autism award

Fun day, including bouncy castle, bikes and entertainment to celebrate getting National Autistic Society Accreditation.' 'LOCATION: Pathways School, Castleford, Poplar Avenue, Townville, Castleford'Pictured: Bobby Hannon

Fun day, including bouncy castle, bikes and entertainment to celebrate getting National Autistic Society Accreditation.' 'LOCATION: Pathways School, Castleford, Poplar Avenue, Townville, Castleford'Pictured: Bobby Hannon

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CASTLEFORD’S Pathways School celebrated with a fun day for pupils after winning accreditation from the National Autistic Society.

The school, which caters for children aged four to 11 with complex learning needs, gained autism accreditation following a three-day inspection in June.

It marked the award with the fun day for children, staff and governors, with activities including a bouncy castle, bike riding, a celebratory lunch and music from Airedale Academy, with a special cake cutting.

Anne Lawton, headteacher, said: “We are absolutely delighted, because it’s not easily gained or awarded. The inspectors who came to the school were really impressed by the setting and they were pleased with everything happening in school.”

The inspection report marked out the school’s strengths as pupils’ transition from school to home, its visual aid resources, its positive relationship between staff and pupils and its support for parents and families.

Mrs Lawton added: “The accreditation shows this is a high-level standard of provision at this school. I think from a parent’s perspective it just makes them aware that we are up to the mark and meeting these standards which are absolutely specific to autism, as 48 of our 50 pupils have an autism diagnosis.

“We have got a very low arousal environment here, because children with autism spectral disorder don’t like lots of loud stimulation; staff here are experts in autism and learning difficulties.

“Our curriculum is highly differentiated for our children, to focus on communication and developing social skills.”

Coun Olivia Rowley, Wakefield Council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Congratulations to the school on gaining this national accreditation. This official accreditation recognises the excellent standards of specialist education provided by the school to children here in the Wakefield district.”