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UK’s leading SEN education provider commits to ADHD friendly schools

18 June 2021

Witherslack Group, the UK’s leading provider of specialist education and care has become the first to commit to making all of its schools ‘ADHD Friendly’ before the end of June 2021.

The step was announced today at Witherslack Group’s Lakeside School, as it became the first of its locations to achieve the accreditation. During the event, Paula Stock, Operations Director at the ADHD Foundation presented representatives from the school with a plaque to commemorate the milestone.

ADHD Friendly Schools is an award given by the ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity, to create environments in schools where proven methods of teaching and learning are implemented effectively so that young people can achieve their academic potential in a safe, nurturing, welcoming and exciting place.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodiverse condition that affects people's ability to concentrate, retain information, control impulsivity - and in some, be a cause of hyperactivity. ADHD causes a delay in brain development in children of up to three years but does not correlate with low IQ. Students with ADHD often underachieve in education, especially in school exams. By creating ADHD Friendly School environments, staff can better respond to challenges faced by students and can support young people to achieve their academic potential and positive outcomes in mental health and employment prospects.

To qualify for the award, schools need to sign up to a six-point pledge, collaborate closely with the ADHD Foundation, and provide additional training to all staff on an ongoing basis. All of Witherslack Group’s 25 schools and learning centres have signed up to the pledge and are undertaking the necessary training before the end of June 2021, with an additional cohort of 25 staff who have become the first ‘ADHD Advanced Practitioners’.

The move by Witherslack Group to become the first major UK provider to commit to this is seen by many as a catalyst, with others set to follow suit.

Commenting on the award, Phil Jones CEO of Witherslack Group said “We’ve worked in partnership with the ADHD Foundation for many years to both further the skills and understanding across our Group and also support parents, carers and professionals across the SEN sector. Achieving the ADHD Friendly School status for all of our settings and the pledges we’ve made will ensure that our staff are even better equipped to support our children and young people and ultimately help them to achieve amazing outcomes. I can’t express how proud I am of all of our teams across the country for achieving this!”.

Tony Lloyd, CEO of The ADHD Foundation said “We are delighted that Witherslack Group has become the first multi-school education provider to achieve ADHD friendly School Accreditation for all 25 of their schools across England. Their pioneering multidisciplinary, holistic, health and education provision is an exemplar in enabling children to achieve their academic potential with outstanding teaching underpinned by quality mental health support for some of the most disadvantaged children. That 25 have also achieved advanced practitioner diplomas in teaching students with ADHD sets a new standard of excellence for learners with ADHD. We offer our congratulations to all their staff team and the executives of Witherslack Group for their innovative approach to improving educational attainment and life chances for children”.

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