Are you looking to develop effective autism practice? Would you like to learn from a multi-disciplinary team of educators, therapists, outreach staff and more?
Then the Springfields Academy is here to help! Here at the Springfields Academy autism is our passion and we aim to understand, enable and empower autistic learners every day.
As a provision accredited by the National Autistic Society, our aim is to provide life-transforming education and care for young people aged 5-19 with autism. Our desire to learn, share and celebrate good practice has led to the creation of Springfields Autism Support. We aim to support 'The national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026' through our work by helping schools and other organisations better understand autism. So, if you're looking for strategies to help you make reasonable adjustments, insight into sensory needs or structured teaching approaches then we can help. Likewise, we understand that every individual with autism is different- we therefore can create a bespoke package of support that's right for you and everyone involved.
We are also always keen to work with members of the autistic community and value their input, insight and advice.
You can meet key members of our SAS support team below and view our School to School Support Brochure. All training enquiries begin with a free, 30 minute virtual consultation.
For all enquiries regarding training and development please email:
Lead for Staff Development and Partnerships. Autism Trainer.
Nicola is likely to be your first point of contact with the Springfields Autism Support Team. Nicola will respond to your enquiry and match you to the right team member to meet your needs. Nicola oversees the many hubs, networks and partnerships that the academy is involved in and is a co-founder of A-Fest and A-Fest Online.
Executive Headteacher and Reach South Director of Individual Needs
An experienced teacher and leader, Jon is able to advise on all aspects of strategic SEND leadership, including across multi-academy trust settings.
Headteacher and Autism Advisor.
Mike has significant experience of both classroom teaching and leadership positions across mainstream and specialist settings. With an unrelenting focus to look at teaching through the eyes of the autistic learner, Mike’s unique empathetic and problem-solving approach is a skills-set sought by others. Mike is studying for a MA in Autism through Sheffield Hallam University and is an experienced autism trainer. Mike is also able to offer guidance and support around safeguarding.
Deputy Headteacher and Autism Advisor.
Nicola Whitcombe is a relentlessly child-focused practitioner with significant experience of mainstream and specialist settings. Nicola has held a number of senior leadership positions including the role of SENCo and Resource Base Lead. Nicola holds a range of postgraduate qualifications in autism and SEND; she has extensive experience of school to school support and is an experienced trainer, offering support on the theories of autism, quality first teaching, the role of a SENCo and more. Nicola has recently completed her NPQH.
SENCo and Autism Advisor.
Connie is a multi-skilled practitioner with experience of both mainstream and specialist settings. Connie oversees the academy's approach to Communication and Interaction. Connie has completed the NA SENCo and is currently studying for a MA. Connie's dissertation project explores how Autistic Learners can be supported at break and lunch times. Connie leads a team of talented Learning Support and Higher Learning Support Assistants and can advise on the effective deployment of additional adults. Connie also oversees our 3 Deputy SENCos.
Head of Therapy, Occupational Therapist and Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Liz is an experienced Occupational Therapist who is committed to supporting young people to live safe, independent lives. Liz is able to advise on strategies to meet pupils’ sensory needs as well as environmental adaptations to enable learners. Liz brings a unique perspective on how to support learners in the classroom. Liz is able to support schools with environmental audits and sensory needs.
Phase 1 Lead and Autism Advisor
A specialist in learning through play and Early Years teaching, Claire is highly skilled in engaging and supporting young children into the school environment. Claire uses TEACCH and Bucket Time principles across her teaching and is able to advise others on the use of these practices. Claire is also the Attention Autism Champion for the academy. Claire is due to begin working towards the Certificate in Play Therapy in the academic year 2021/2022.
Speech and Language Therapist.
Rebecca holds a MSc in Language Pathology from Newcastle University and is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. Rebecca holds additional qualifications in Makaton and is a specialist in autism, providing others with a deeper understanding of how to promote successful communication. Rebecca supports children of all ages with speech difficulties, language delays/disorders, communication difficulties, and stammering. Support can take the form of assessment and target setting, advice in class, advice to parents/carers/staff, working on targets in small groups, and working 1:1.