Apasen and Phoenix School deliver specialist autism training

More than 200 children in four schools benefiting from improved teaching methods

Apasen International facilitated and organised a teacher training and support visit for four community schools in Sylhet  District in early 2017. The visit was in partnership with the award winning, Phoenix Primary and Secondary School in Mile End, London which is rated outstanding by Ofsted and is a leading specialist in the provision of education for children on the autism spectrum.

Veronica Armson, Senior Deputy Head Teacher, Phoenix, and Zakir Hossain, Senior Training Manager, Apasen were the lead trainers supported by specialist teachers, Shelina Mannan and Jubeda Begum.

“We are very excited about this growing partnership with Apasen International. This is our second visit to Bangladesh as a school and my first personally. We have been inspired by the commitment of the teachers who operate with so few resources and charmed completely by the children who face incredible challenges coping with disability, exclusion and poverty. We are even more determined to support these schools and raise funds for a substantial project where we can really make a difference in the long term.”

In total, more than 100 teachers, parents, and community leaders were involved in the training activities from four schools – School of Joy Sylhet, Shahjalal Ragib-Rabeya Disability Institute, School for SDG4, and BRAC Neurodevelopmental Disability Centre. Activities included intensive teacher training, demonstration and observation lessons in classroom, and review and feedback to help Apasen and Phoenix  contextualise their approaches and materials.

Zakir Hossain summarised the achievements of the visit:

“This is a jointly funded project by Apasen and Phoenix to support teachers working with children and young people with autism in poor communities in Bangladesh. We are exceptionally grateful to Phoenix for combining their technical expertise with ours and look forward to continuing supporting these schools over the next six months.”

These schools had been identified through a previous needs assessment visit by Zakir Hossain for Apasen International in September for a detailed needs assessment of the quality of and gaps in provision of specialist education for children with learning disabilities, autism, and other special needs in Sylhet Division. Stewart Harris, Head Teacher, Phoenix, and Mahmud Hasan, Chief Executive, Apasen had also visited in 2017 for national stakeholder engagement and preliminary visits to potential participating schools.

Phoenix School is holding a community event on 4 April 2017 to report back on the learning from the trip and raise awareness and support for the on-going project with teachers, parents, and local leaders – many of whom have family links to Sylhet, Bangladesh.