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Derwen College is incredibly proud to have received world-wide autism accreditation which demonstrates our commitment to supporting autistic students.

We were presented with the official accreditation certificate from The National Autistic Society (NAS) at an official ceremony, yesterday.

Students from our Student Union Board pictured holding the NAS accreditation certificate with Derwen Head of Quality Dawn Roberts and NAS assessor Jonny Knowles.
Students Justin, Varvara, Freya, Ciara, Lizzy and Megan received the certificate from NAS assessor Jonny Knowles, along with Derwen Quality Manager Dawn Roberts.

We marked the grand occasion with a presentation from National Autistic Society Lead Assessor Jonny Knowles. This was followed by afternoon tea served by Hospitality students in The Orangery Restaurant.

Guests included Shropshire Lord-Lieutenant Anna Turner The Office of the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Shropshire Deputy-Lieutenant Mandy Thorn, Oswestry Deputy Mayor Olly Rose, and Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council Chair Craig Emery.

Also attending were our Chair of Governors K Kimber, Head of Quality Dawn Roberts, Autism Advisor Helen Evans, and members of the college’s Student Union Board: Justin Harley, Varvara Barbieri, Freya Oliver, Ciara McKenna, Lizzy Allen, Megan Probyn and Harry Rowson.

High benchmark

Almost half of our students are autistic. So, to meet the NAS high benchmark is hugely significant.

K Kimber thanked Jonny Knowles for the support that he and NAS have offered to the college over the past three years.

Jonny said: “NAS is 60 years old this year and has been accrediting for 30 year. The award is recognised across the world. Our aim is to create a society that works for autistic people.

“Having spent two days at Derwen College, even staying the night at the College’s Hotel 751, I can say it is unique to anywhere I’ve seen. We were blown away by the unique offer you have here and person-centred aspirations for students.”

Dawn Roberts thanked Jonny for his guidance and support, and also staff across curriculum and care for their hard work.

Derwen College Head of Quality, Dawn Roberts, said that the award was wonderful news for the College. She said:

“The project has been college-wide, combining expertise from the therapies team, nurses, teaching, sports & leisure, and care staff, as well as listening to the needs of the real experts – our students.

“As a College, we were particularly happy with survey feedback from autistic students. More than 30 were surveyed ahead of the assessment team visit, and they unanimously said they were happy at College. Some strengths highlighted by our students included the chance to meet with friends, the work experience opportunities and the support from staff. One student simply said: “I love it here”, which we feel summed up everything we do, perfectly!”


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