Prior’s Court Foundation has launched our own research programme to continue to build on developing the best practice for supporting our young people – and to influence the wider autism sector.

The Prior’s Court Research Board and Programme has been set up to help steer more formally the small number of research projects the Foundation is involved in, both currently and in the future.

The aim is to work with partners on research projects which have the potential to inform our practice and thereby further improve the outcomes for our young people, who have severe autism and complex learning difficulties.

Specifically, the board will set the research strategy, approve research proposals, track progress of projects and communicate findings to all stakeholders.

Furthermore, the ambition is the findings of these projects will also help to shape policy and sector development, as to improve outcomes for young people across the country affected by autism.

These research opportunities are open to both Prior’s Court staff and external applicants, with the opportunity open to those studying at a post-graduate level and above. The programme also ties in with the recent launch of our Graduate Programme, in which successful applicants will be tasked with completing a piece of research during their initial 18-months with us.

Michelle Collard, Project and Research Lead, said: “Research partners will be able to work with Prior’s Court staff who have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the sector and our ground-breaking Prior Insight digital operations system which allows us to collect hundreds of thousands of pieces of data annually.

“We believe it is hugely important for our young people, their parents and guardians, and our staff members who work with our young people day in, day out, to have the opportunity to impart their experiences on academic research projects to shape the future of best practice when it comes to supporting those with severe autism.”

Michelle added: “The board’s responsibilities include establishing that research done adheres to a strict policy on ethics, follows legislation and established guidance, has potential benefit to young people with complex needs, and that proposals are consistent with our established Prior Approach methodology.

“Parents and guardians, staff and the young people themselves all have the option to opt out of being part of any research project.”

A programme will also be developed to collate findings of research projects which have an impact upon our best practice. The language used in these documents will be adapted to be more accessible to those who would benefit from reading the findings to enhance the levels of service provision.

For more information about becoming a research partner, contact Michelle on [email protected] or call 01635 247202 ext. 353.