A LOCAL primary school has been shortlisted for the National Autistic Society's (NAS) prestigious Autism Professionals Awards.

Haworth Primary School is one of just three finalists in the Award for Inspirational Education Provision (Primary Schools).

The school was shortlisted by an independent panel of 10 autism experts, who judged it on its innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.

Haworth Primary has seen an increase in demand for support for children on the autism spectrum in recent years.

So in 2015 it introduced specialist provision to meet this need. The provision has 12 permanent places, but also shares its expertise to help other children in the school.

The students being supported spend the majority of their time in mainstream classes with their peers, but can access specialist assistance when needed, including sensory sessions and social skills development.

The annual Autism Professionals Awards, which are sponsored by Axcis Education Recruitment, were launched in 2013 to recognise and promote good autism practice and inspire others to improve their own work.

There are 14 awards, covering education, health, social care, employment, community projects and volunteering.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the NAS Professional conference in Harrogate on March 7.

Chris Holdsworth, Haworth Primary's designated special provisions and special educational needs co-ordinator lead, said: “We’re honoured to have been shortlisted.

“It has been a truly wonderful experience to develop this provision, and to see the positive impact that our work is having on students.

“Everyone in the team is passionate about providing the best possible support, and it’s fantastic this has been recognised in the Autism Professionals Awards.”

Carol Povey, director of the NAS Centre for Autism, said: “We run the Autism Professionals Awards to celebrate the people, projects and organisations making a difference to the lives of autistic people and their families in the UK.

“The standard of nominations is always very high, so Haworth Primary should be commended for impressing the judges and being shortlisted.

“Autism can have a profound effect on individuals and families, but the right support from passionate and caring people and organisations can make all the difference.

"It’s important we recognise the amazing people who provide this support so we can share best practice and inspire others.”

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 120,000 school-aged children in England.

Autistic people can find social situations difficult and struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience.

This means they can feel overwhelmed by too much information, and may need specialist support in school.