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Independence means something different for many sections of society. Last week we saw the US celebrate Independence Day with parades and picnics to mark the day in 1776 when America declared that the 13 colonies of the US were independent from the British Monarchy.

But for some, such as those who are on the autistic spectrum, independence can be something as simple as ordering your own food at a take-away restaurant or making a piece of toast.

In fact, for adults who have autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), living an independent life and contributing to society by taking on a job can seem even more unattainable. A survey carried out by the National Autistic Society found that only 16% of adults with ASD were working full time, despite 77% wanting work.

Figures like this are why Orbis Education and Care, Cardiff based and leading UK provider of services for adults and children with complex needs associated with autism, has taken on the mantle of Independence Day and renamed it Active Support Day.

Orbis is encouraging its children and adults around its 17 schools, residential homes and day services around the UK to say a big ‘thank you’ to services both local and national, for either consciously or inadvertently supporting them to live a more independent lifestyle, offering them work or helping them cope with everyday situations.

Here Jock Andrew, Area Manager for Adult Services at Orbis, explains how Active Support is helping those with autism across the UK achieve their goals for life and why, for them, every day is Independence Day.

“I have worked in supporting people with autism, learning disabilities and so-called ‘challenging behaviour’ for a period of thirty two years. This has ranged from providing direct support to people, managing homes, designing and commissioning support, homes and services. The purpose has always been to increase the quality of life for people who need additional support to realise their full potential.

Active Support is a vital and integral component of our care model as rather than doing things for individuals, it helps them to learn skills for themselves and therefore take control of their day to day lives. This gives individuals confidence, a sense of pride and the dignity and respect that we all come to expect.

The clear benefits of this model include increased positive social interaction, levels of engagement and communication, as well as skills acquisition which results in increased opportunities, empowerment and ultimately independence. The children and adults we support play an active role in their communities.

In addition to this, and by virtue of all of the above, we see significant increases in quality of life for the people we support. This in turn is commented upon positively by family and significant others as well as our inspectors.

Furthermore, we see evidence of greater degrees of staff satisfaction in the highly responsible roles that they have, further motivating them to continue to aspire for the people we support in order that we work to maximise opportunities for all individuals.

It is therefore with great pride, anticipation and excitement that the inaugural Orbis Active Support Day, appropriately scheduled for July 4th 2019, has been launched.

Each of our services will celebrate independence and empowerment by recognising what we do every day in supporting our children and adults.

The aim of the Orbis Active Support campaign is not only to continue to encourage children and adults with additional needs to achieve the benefits mentioned above, but also to help to increase awareness of Active Support within the wider community. The hope is that local businesses and services, as well as the general public will recognise that by using a model such as Active Support the worlds of home, work and leisure become more accessible.

As more organisations come to embrace the concept of Orbis Active Support Day, the more the annual celebration on July 4th is set to grow, and in time this will result in wider acceptance of individuals with additional needs.

Social Stories are proven to be an excellent tool for helping children on the spectrum deal with new or unfamiliar social events. Developed by Carol Gray in 1991, they have greatly improved social skills in children with autism.

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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