More help for children with autism at Rudheath Senior Academy

Rudheath Senior Academy has been recognised for its work to help children with autism.

The Middlewich Road school has been declared an Autism Inclusive School by Cheshire West and Chester Council, having completed an 18-month Social Communication Programme.

Teachers and teaching assistants received special training which has better equipped them to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Assistant Headteacher Emma Leftwick said children are already seeing the benefits.

She said: “We noticed from the very start of the programme that children who had shown challenging behaviour were doing much better in lessons.

“The school’s environment was adapted and modified following sensory checks – visual, noise and smell – after we looked at the ways these issues impact on the students’ engagement and learning.

“Simple things like closing the blinds so there is no glare off a white board have made a huge difference. Other measures like being mindful that children can be sensitive to smells in Science, or touching raw chicken in Food Technology, have been beneficial.

“Since we started the course not a single child with ASD has needed to leave a lesson for additional support other than agreed, due to staff being aware of individual needs.”

The next phase of the project will explore the possibility of developing a sensory room.

It is an exciting time for the school, which joined North West Academies Trust (NWAT) in November 2018.

One of the highest performing Trusts in the country, NWAT has a proven track record of improving schools, and Rudheath is already making strides.

Steve Docking, CEO of NWAT, said: “We believe every child deserves the best possible education, and we’re working extremely hard to make Rudheath the best it can be. This is another step forward.”

Amongst the Trust’s success stories are Oak View in Winsford, which was the second worst primary in the country in 2014 but rated ‘good’ by Ofsted within the first three years as part of NWAT.

St Martin’s Academy, Chester, is rated ‘outstanding’ and Delamere Academy, near Northwich, is the highest performing primary in the borough.

Acrefield Primay School, in Chester, was named by The Times as 75th best performing primary in the country, according to average SATs results.

For more information about Rudheath Senior Academy, visit their website, email: or tel: 01606 42515.

Photo: Jackie Brooks, ELSA Teaching Assistant, Sandra Blackmore, Teaching Assistant, Sandra Skellington, Teaching Assistant and Anti-bullying Ambassador, Janet Yarwood, Teaching Assistant and Emma Leftwick, Assistant Headteacher, with students.