Cheshire East Autism Team – Service update


Cheshire East Autism Team’s Interim Manager, Joan Sherry, has asked us to share a statement she sent to schools in in January 2020, clarifying how CEAT work to support schools to include children and young people with ASC and social communication difficulties.

The statement says:

CEAT’s offer to School from January 2020

CEAT’s way of working with schools to date has been through a number of methods i.e. training, consultations, school visits, parental support etc.  CEAT has recently undergone an in depth review of its service, looking at what is working well and areas for development. There have also been changes to staffing which will have an impact upon our capacity going forward. We have therefore needed to review our offer in order to ensure that we can continue to provide an equitable and effective service to schools. As part of this process, we have taken the opportunity to look at the schools allocated to our specialist teachers, making some changes with a view to providing more continuity of support from primary through to high schools and reducing travel time for the team. (A list of schools and the teachers allocated to them is attached).

The Jan/Feb half term will be a time of transition.  For those schools that will be having a change of specialist teacher, where possible both teachers will attend the first group consultation to allow for a smooth handover. School visits which are already booked will be honoured as far as possible.

Our programme of support and training for parents will continue in its present form.

We will monitor the service over the next few months and will welcome feedback (with regard to both strengths and areas for development).

The CEAT offer will be as follows:

Group consultations

Schools can bring to consultation children or young people they have concerns about who are presenting with social communication difficulties and/or autistic traits.  The student does not have to have a diagnosis of ASC for CEAT to become involved. Each school will continue to have the opportunity to access a group consultation once every half term. We will also be looking at whether it may be possible to split some of the larger consultation groups into smaller groups in order to ensure that all cases can be heard.

The process will remain the same i.e. :-

  • School provide signed parental consent prior to discussion at Consultation
  • School to complete a preparation form detailing strategies already tried and their impact. It should also be clear what specific concerns school wishes to have addressed at consultation. This should be sent to the relevant CEAT specialist teacher prior to the group consultation
  • Following consultation, school will complete the action plan section of the preparation form and return a copy to CEAT and send a copy to parents
  • Strategies to be implemented and recorded in the action plan prior to review at the next group consultation

Advice for EHCP

Requests for advice for EHCPs will continue to be completed where a child or YP is known to CEAT from a school visit (rather than simply through consultation). We may need to have a flexible approach across our service, meaning that we share the workload to keep advice timely (i.e. a visit and advice may be submitted by a team member who is not the school’s usual Specialist Teacher).


Annual Reviews

CEAT Specialist Teachers will attend annual reviews where the child is known to us and there is significant cause for concern e.g. the placement is in danger of breaking down.

Advice to support diagnosis

With our current capacity level, CEAT will provide support for diagnosis only if the child is known to us and they have been seen by a Specialist Teacher.  The most recent CEAT report can then be sent with a supplementary email or short telephone call, but an additional visit will not be possible.  If the child is not known to CEAT, then diagnosticians will need to receive an education report directly from the school. We are in discussions with Health regarding how best we can support diagnosis moving forward.

School visits:

A school visit may be requested if there are still significant concerns about a child or young person despite undergoing at least two cycles of plan, do, review via Group Consultation. In exceptional circumstances a visit could be requested sooner. With the current level of staffing, CEAT will have a limited capacity to offer school visits. We are looking at a probable allocation of either 0, 1 or two half day visits per term per school, depending upon the number of pupils on roll and the level of need. Such a visit could include:

  • Observation of a child/YP in lesson; 1:1 meeting with the child/YP (which may include an informal assessment); report submitted to school to be shared with parents
  • SCERTS observation
  • RAMP – specialist teacher to support school and parents to create a RAMP for a particular child/YP
  • Meeting with SENCO and/or class teacher to discuss one or more children and provide strategies

In addition, where appropriate we may also be able to offer a limited number of visits as follows:

  • CEAT SALT observation and assessment of child/YP, followed by a report with strategies for school to implement (referral via Specialist Teacher and only appropriate where NHS SALT are not involved)
  • Specialist Support Assistant (referral via Specialist Teacher)
    • Support Specialist Teacher to complete Informal Assessment
    • Advice and modelling to TA/Teacher re use of visuals
    • A short, targeted programme of 1:1 support for emotional literacy, self-esteem and self-awareness

Training offer

  • Staff meetings. This could be focussed on a particular child/yp who is causing concern, or on a specific area of ASC (45 – 60 min)
  • TA training – focus on specific techniques and strategies (45 – 60 min)
  • Bespoke training
    • 2 hours £175.00
    • Half day £250.00
    • Full day £500.00
  • 2 Day training
    • £75.00 for maintained school
    • £150.00 for Academies and Free Schools


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