An education team from City College Norwich has been shortlisted in a national awards ceremony in recognition of its outstanding work supporting young people with autism.

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The Phoenix Purple course team, who provide a highly personalised and flexible programme for students with autism, has been shortlisted for one of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Professionals Awards.

Based in the RUGROOM, the college’s dedicated learning and social space for students with autistic spectrum disorders, the team has supported over 100 students with autism to develop their skills, confidence and communication skills in order to successfully move on to mainstream courses or into employment.

Phoenix Purple aims for an individual approach.

Students are given the flexibility to select their subjects and build their own unique timetable, providing opportunities to gain new skills and experiences in areas such as art and crafts, product design, film making, music, radio production and confidence and independence building.

Communication, social skills, team building, employability and life skills are at the core of the Phoenix Purple programme.

The development of these skills is fully embedded in the approach of the staff team, who continually gather student feedback to further develop and improve the course.

The Phoenix Purple team also works with local and national organisations – including Autism Anglia, Norfolk Can Inspire, the Autism Education Trust, Ambitious About Autism and NIACE – to provide further opportunities for students and contribute to the development of autism training nationally.

The team is also looking to expand its work with schools, including those within the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN Group) federation, to develop autism practice in the county and region.

Gemma Burton, Phoenix Purple course leader, said: “As a team we are all very excited to have been shortlisted for this award for Inspirational Education Provision.

“We have been supporting students on the Phoenix Purple course for almost nine years and this support continues once they progress on to mainstream courses within the college.

“Being shortlisted for this prestigious award is recognition for all the hard work and dedication of the team.”

The winner will be revealed at an awards dinner in Harrigate on March 4.

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