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  • Writer's pictureBeth Elkins

A school for children with Autism - is there a finer place to work?

By Headteacher - Mrs Elkins

A student asked me this morning “do you hate Autism, Miss?” This is one of her favourite questions to ask me. I gave her a sideways glance and said “do you think I’d be working here if I did!? I happen to think I’m very lucky to work at Gretton!”

This got me thinking about what Autism must feel like to live with… I know that many of our students feel anathema towards their own Autism; they feel ‘different’, certainly anxious a lot of the time… misunderstood. But the truth is, when I started working here with these unique souls, it felt like arriving at my happy place.

At Gretton, there is one of the most creative, hilarious and learner-centred teams I’ve ever worked with - all with the collective aim of allowing the young people that come here to become the best version of themselves. And we know, from parental feedback, that the staff that work with these amazing young people are such an important part of their school experience. One parent said “I know it’s what you guys do, but we honestly can’t thank you enough for being patient, kind, accommodating and understanding”.

We also know that professionals notice the change in learners’ prospects: “the schools that he attended before coming to Gretton just concentrated on how badly behaved he was and did not look at how intelligent he was. [What you] have done is amazing… you have completely changed his outcome”.

So when I think about why I feel so fortunate to work at Gretton (and yes, of course I’m biased!), the following are just a few of the reasons:

  • The way our teachers teach - with calm humour and an endless toolkit of teaching strategies

  • The way our Teaching Assistants and Residential Support Workers support the learners - with patience, kindness and an investment in learners’ interests

  • The way the Senior Leadership Team shapes the school - with a commitment to the development of strong relationships and reflective practice across the school

  • The wraparound support from the Behaviour and Welfare, Multidisciplinary, Admin and Admissions Teams - always looking to improve the provision for students and make Gretton a welcoming and happy place to be

  • But above all... the students!

Gretton School - Where Autism makes sense

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