Our improvements

Helen Allison is a great school, supported by a wonderful community of families, local authorities and students. We were therefore disappointed that, in January 2019, Ofsted identified weaknesses in the school, alongside many strengths in pupils’ learning, progress and our curriculum offer. Although we were keeping the children safe, as there were weaknesses in our safeguarding systems and reporting, the inspectors gave the school an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ (You can read the full inspection report here).

We acted immediately on the inspectors’ feedback and have already completed our initial, urgent action plan. We are now working through a comprehensive action plan and you can read a summary here, which includes updates on our progress. We are keeping families regularly updated and welcome parents feedback.

You can email your thoughts to us here in addition to completing the surveys that we will send out.

We know there are important changes and improvements that we have to make at the school, but we also know that the school has strong foundations to work from. We are particularly proud of our strong tradition of working together in partnership with parents and carers, our students, local community and local authorities.

Download our action plan and progress summary


The role of our charity’s directors and the Chair of our Governing Body

Our school was one of the first National Autistic Society schools, a charity which has been providing specialist autism education for more than 50 years.

On this page, we describe the role of our charity’s Director and Deputy Directors of Education and of the Chair of our Governing Body in relation to the school in general, and particularly in ensuring we continue to improve in everything we do.

Kirstie Fulthorpe, Director of Education, National Autistic Society

  1. Tell us a little bit more about you and your role as Director of Education
  2. I am an experienced leader with a track record of sustainable education improvement in maintained, specialist, independent and free school settings. I have been one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI), an executive leader for two large multi academy trusts, school improvement lead for a high performing local authority, head teacher and have also worked with a global management consultant in the international education sector. I am also a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and remain an accredited Inspector for OFSTED.

  3. What is your role Helen Allison School's rapid improvement plan?
  4. I thoroughly enjoy visiting Helen Allison School regularly to meet teachers, pupils, parents and visit learning in lessons. I have worked very closely with the Anna as Interim Principal and will be working closely with Simon when he joins us in July. I provide both challenge and support. That way, I can make sure we’re doing all we can to improve the school, the children's learning and welfare. I also work closely with the Chair of the school’s Local Governing Board, Janet Corcoran, to keep her up to date about school life and improvements.

Matthew Tiplin, Deputy Director of Education

  1. Tell us a little bit more about you and your role as Deputy Director of Education.
  2. I have led high performance teams in one of the most successful state schools in England and within the second largest Multi Academy Trust in England. I have a strong record of helping to raise school’s standards. I’m also an accredited OFSTED Inspector.

    As Deputy Director of Education, I ensure that quality and standards in our schools is never less than good enough and improving consistently. In practice, this means reviewing school’s performance, working alongside our Trustees, governors, leaders and staff to coordinate strategic and operational actions that bring about sustainable improvements in an autistic child centred way.

    I have been very keen to work with the National Autistic Society for a long time. I love working with Helen Allison School, which will soon return to excellence.

  3. What is your role in Helen Allison School’s rapid improvement plan?
  4. I helped write the rapid improvement plan and have undertaken the first post rapid improvement plan National Autistic Society review. I am also responsible for leadership coaching and support and bringing in extra support from National Autistic Society teams, such as IT.

Janet Corcoran, Chair of Governors for Helen Allison School.

  1. Tell us a little bit more about you and your role as Chair of Governors.
  2. I head up Helen Allison’s School Governing Body. We are a group of trained volunteers who are there to support the principal and staff to provide the very best outcomes for all students and their families. I’m also Chair of our charity’s Educational Quality Development Committee (EQD) and of the National Autistic Society Academies Trust (NASAT). I am a parent of an adult autistic son.

  3. What is your role in Helen Allison School’s rapid improvement plan?
  4. The Governing Body will monitor the performance of the school against its development and improvement plans and ensure the school operates in accordance with up-to-date regulations. It maintains close links with the National Autistic Society Education team to ensure best practice is followed at all times. Safeguarding is the priority.