Wargrave House School and Ascent Autism Specialist College, part of the Remarkable Autism Charity, have been awarded the National Autistic Society’s highest award accreditation, Beacon Status.

The award, given to provisions that have already achieved an advanced award for support quality and consistency, requires evidence of outstanding and innovative expertise and knowledge-sharing practices.

When applying for Beacon Status, Wargrave House School and Ascent College had to demonstrate exceptional work that has significantly impacted families, professionals and the local community to understand and respond to autistic people.

The newly created accreditation has a thorough assessment process where both provisions had to evidence a supporting action plan, observation of practice, documentation review and discussions with staff and students.

The Beacon Status panel were particularly impressed with the enriched off-site curriculum that offers students a variety of work and life skills opportunities. The feedback read: “This is an outstanding example of inclusion and integration at its best.”

These opportunities and experiences equip students with the skills and knowledge to successfully move on at the end of their time with Wargrave House School or Ascent College.

The feedback also noted how impressively both provisions evidenced collaboration, cooperation and community impact.

There was also an emphasis on the integrated therapy service, Sundial Therapy, which provides wrap-around support for families through planned interventions, understanding of sensory differences, direct advice on wellbeing, regular meetings and collaborative approaches.

Wargrave House School and Ascent College have a prominent presence in the local community, with several community outreach initiatives for students. The review noted how the high visibility in the community has led to a greater understanding of autism among residents.

Wargrave House School and Ascent Autism Specialist College are part of the Remarkable Autism Group. The charity has several provisions for autistic young people, including Sundial Therapy Services and community enterprise The Preloved Project.

Robin Bush, CEO of Remarkable Autism, said: “Our goal at Remarkable has always been to empower autistic individuals to live happy, fulfilled lives. Our curriculum, designed to help students access new opportunities and skills, places wellbeing at its core.

“There are misconceptions surrounding autism, and as a society, there is more we need to do to break down those barriers. There is a significant lack of representation of neurodiversity in the UK workplace, something we are passionate about changing. We are exceptionally proud that the work at Remarkable is receiving such high-level recognition. We will continue to push the boundaries, challenge, and ultimately support our young people to build a brighter future.”