The North East Autism Society is celebrating this week after all three of its residential homes for children in Sunderland were ranked Outstanding by Ofsted.

In a clean sweep, each of the homes were assessed and classed as outstanding across the board.

And as an extra bonus - it comes alongside the news the Society’s Children’s Short Breaks centre also received top honours, itself being inspected and rated outstanding also.

Inspectors stated that the trio of specialist homes were outstanding in terms of the overall experiences and progress of children and young people, in how well the children and young people are helped and protected and in the effectiveness of the leaders and managers of each of the three homes.


Especially poignant was a comment from the parents of a child residing in one of the Society’s homes, included by the inspector. They said: “He is a different child; they’ve given us our boy back.”

John Phillipson, North East Autism Society Chief Executive, said: “I’m delighted but not at all surprised by these results. What each of our managers and their teams do is exceptional – and I’m glad that Ofsted inspectors, in each case, made note of this.

"It’s actually what you don’t see, that for me, is most incredible. If you were to visit any of these homes on any given day you would walk into inviting spaces, bustling kitchens, you would see bedrooms unique to each child and in every case you would experience truly what is a home from home.

But beneath that is a team of people who get to know our young people in such detail that interventions are minimal, that each of their needs can be met and for each child… they wake up and go to sleep each day in an environment that nurtures them, cares for them, allows them to flourish – Oftsed use that exact phrase – and we see possibilities open up for children that multiple times will have had ceilings put on their potential. Our staff see no such thing – and devote themselves to making sure our children live happy, fulfilled lives.


Other statements made within the three Ofsted reports pertaining to Braemar, Wallingford and Belford homes include:

  • educational outcomes are exemplary
  • staff teams work effectively and with compassion
  • excellent communication between schools, social workers, health professionals and families
  • homes have lovely warm environments
  • organisational skills are unbelievable
  • the very highest standard of care
  • living there enhances self-esteem and confidence
  • the faith and cultural needs were met to a high standard
  • transition arrangements are excellent
  • exceptional individualised care

North East Autism Society Director of Care, Brian Stoker, added:

The health, happiness and fulfilment of our children and young people remain our top priority so to have an external inspector class our work in the homes and in short breaks as ‘outstanding’ is an incredible achievement by each of our children’s teams. It’s also a mark of the level of professionalism we have within the Society and the fact our children and young people remain at the very centre of all we do.