Kieran Rose, the Autistic Advocate and a well-respected academic within the field of Autism, produced the following report regarding Autistic burnout and the impact this can have upon school attendance.
Phased Transition and Integrated Starts
When a student comes on roll at Breckenbrough, the transition into the school must be sensitively managed with a coordinated approach involving the family and other professionals.
The vast majority of our cohort have experienced a lengthy period out of education prior to arriving here, sometimes as long as two or three years. Therefore, in returning to education, there are both high levels of anxiety to support and the need to build up stamina in getting through the school day. With an integrated start, it is our goal for a student to be accessing a full timetable as soon as possible, with attending outdoor education sessions usually the final part in completing the transition to full-time attendance.
Engagement in learning is an integral factor in students making progress at Breckenbrough. Due to the complex needs of our cohort, engagement can present itself in the classroom in a number of ways. These observable behaviours such as attending class, listening attentively, participating in discussions, completing tasks and following rules and directions may be perceived as forms of engagement. However, others could include curiosity, enthusiasm and interest in the learning. Students are not required to present in any set way to be deemed as engaged, as students may pace around a room, sit under desks or not make many verbal contributions yet still be listening and engaging with the learning in their own way. Student attendance is also a measure of student engagement, however both measures must be used to supplement and support each other in the eventuality of an improving engagement plan being implemented.
The engagement of every student on a lesson-by-lesson basis is tracked and recorded across the curriculum. This system supports us in praising positive engagement, including improvements in engagement, whilst also identifying any engagement issues or patterns and introducing appropriate interventions.
Monitoring Attendance and Engagement
Reports regarding attendance and engagement are shared with keyworkers at the mid-point and end of the week. Keyworkers can then discuss this with their students, praise positive engagement and initiate actions to address any pattern in disengagement. Crucially, the keyworker liaises with and works alongside the family to support the student to engage with their learning in school.
The Attendance, Engagement and Registration Policy states the various aspects that can affect attendance and engagement and the actions that are taken to address any issues regarding attendance and engagement. This policy is in the Essential Information section of the website under policies.