Autism Outreach for Schools

Supporting Inclusion for Autism (SIFA)


What is SIFA?

SIFA is a trial targeted offer provided by the Autism Outreach for Schools teams at Freemantles School. The aim of SIFA is to keep young people with a primary need of autism in school and to make their school placements as successful as possible, so they can move with their peers at Key Stage Transfer or at the end of an academic year, rather than outside of usual transition times. Some of the children and young people we support have been identified as needing specialist school placement, but are waiting for suitable place to become available. Others will be in position of trying to establish which sort of school placement would best meet their needs. Either way, the aim is to support the current school placement to be successful in the meantime.


What does SIFA look like?

Pupils will receive bespoke support, which could include activities such as school visits, staff training, meeting with parents/home visits, preparing resources and other activities which will help to keep pupils in school, safe and accessing appropriate learning. There is no ‘set’ program as we recognise that all children/young people, families and situations are individual and will need different approaches, so we will work with school staff and families to plan the most suitable approach.


Who will be eligible for SIFA?

Most of the pupils that we support will have a diagnosis of autism, but some may not and the project is still appropriate if their needs are similar. The Placement Stability Coordinator monitors decisions by EHCP Governance Board and will highlight cases eligible for SIFA accordingly. SIFA capacity is limited and we will not be able to support all pupils awaiting specialist placement, but we will use priority criteria and professional discussion to identify the pupils who will be invited to take part.


How is SIFA accessed?

As this is a targeted offer, we cannot accept referrals for SIFA. When a pupil is identified, their parents and setting will be contacted and asked for consent and for some extra details about any barriers to successful inclusion.


What support is available if a pupil is not offered SIFA?

Pupils will still be able to access the core service provided by Autism Outreach for Schools and support from other Surrey professionals, such as the Specialist Teachers for Inclusive Practice.


Will this impact the pupil’s chances of getting a specialist placement?

No, receiving SIFA does not change the process of changing a school placement


Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Head of Autism Outreach for Schools: Vanessa Clark

Placement Stability Coordinator: Corrine Bowers