Plaistow school marks World Autism Awareness Week

Pupils from Tollgate Primary School mark World Autism Awareness Week

Pupils from Tollgate Primary School mark World Autism Awareness Week - Credit: Archant

A Plaistow primary school organised three days of events to mark World Autism Awareness Week and ended up raising the most it has ever done for the charity.

Tollgate Primary School in Barclay Road marked the campaign from Monday to Wednesday this week and raised £287.68 for The National Autistic Society.

The school, which has a dedicated inclusion team for children with autism, held assemblies on Monday which focussed on questions such as what is autism, how do people cope with it and how can you support your friends.

Learning support teacher Shannel Duncan said: “We asked children to write messages about what autism means for them, such as how it makes people different and how it makes them special. We were really pleased that the children largely picked out the positives as there can be a taboo about autism.”

The school currently has 26 autistic pupils out of a total of 495.

On Tuesday there was a fundraising drive. Pupils and teachers donated money to wear blue for the day, teachers ran a bake sale and autism badges being sold.

The final day, Wednesday, saw every child in the school being handed a blue balloon.

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Shannel said: “It was so nice to see a sea of balloons as we came out of the classroom. The week was good and the children loved it. Parents were great too, really supportive and positive.”

Shannel hopes that next year’s awareness week will be even “bigger and better”.

“Last year we only had one awareness day, this year we had three but next year I’m going for a full week. We would like to hold a mini fair with a bouncy castle and face paining and we hope this will allow us to raise even more funds,” she said.

The awareness week comes on the back of the school winning a prestigious award at the National Autistic Society’s Autism Professional Awards last month in recognition of the support it offers pupils with autism.