Acorns Network Launch Event



ACoRNS was formally launched at the University of Southampton on June 27th 2017 from 4-6pm. More than 30 people attended the event, the majority being from local schools and organisations, as well as colleagues from the University. Young people on the autism spectrum joined the team and parents of young people on the autism spectrum also attended. The launch was a great success with much interest in the network and the potential for working together in the future. We even had our very own ACoRNS cookies!


Professor Marcus Grace, Head of Southampton Education School, opened proceedings and welcomed everyone to the launch. Professor Sarah Parsons gave a short introduction to ACoRNS and introduced everyone to the team members:

SP slides for launch


Bayleigh, formerly from New Forest School, and about to start at Winchester University gave a very accomplished talk providing some insights into his own experiences of transitions and support at different schools over the years.


Parents and pupils from Blackfield Primary also provided input about some of their experiences.


There was time for discussion and mingling….

And time for everyone to make some notes about key questions or comments that mattered to them.

There was a chance to look at the research posters that summarised the current projects underway through ACoRNS:

AcoRNS Poster 4 ACoRNS Poster 1 ACoRNS Poster 2 ACoRNS Poster 3



Thank you to everyone who helped in the preparation for the launch and everyone who came along on the day. Thanks also for all your feedback and questions – we’ll be following up with you very soon! For now, here are some comments from a couple of people on the night, which we hope sums up what ACoRNS is all about:

‘I found the launch/open evening very informative and also a good chance to network with other professionals and parents. The young man who spoke so eloquently gives me hope for my daughter for the future’ – parent of a young person with autism.

‘I think anything that raises the profile of children with autism can only be a good thing. I also think that sometimes there is a disconnect between research and what it is like in schools. Additionally I believe that many in society have a “view” of what autism looks like and that can also apply to teachers and to parents i.e. their experience of autism is what they believe autism looks like. I would hope that ACoRNS could be a leader in all areas’ – Secondary school SENCo and Manager for Autism Resourced Provision

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