Department of Education

Leadership groups

Fundamental to the AET programme is that all stakeholders have confidence that its values and  content reflect best current understanding of good practice, is relevant to their working experience/context and is delivered to a high quality.

Oversight of these quality perspectives is delegated to leadership groups for each of the three education phases – early years, school and post 16.

Chaired by a programme board member, each leadership group includes other experts relative to the particular phase and both parent and young person perspectives.

1. The fundamental purpose of the leadership group (‘the group’) is to support the AET Programme Board and staff in ensuring that programme content and delivery are of a high quality and best positioned to secure maximum impact across the schools education phase.

2. In particular, and within frameworks provided by the Programme Board, the group will:

  • Review and approve programme materials and resources relative to the school phase.
  • Make recommendation to Programme Board re ‘all phase’ materials and resources.
  • Describe person specifications for lead trainers and trainers.
  • Maintain an oversight of the quality of programme delivery/contract compliance within the school phase and support staff in issue resolution.
  • Advise Programme Board re delivery strategy and wider policy issues

1. The groups enjoy the following powers:

  • (Within wider programme principles and structures) To approve content of training materials and other ‘phase specific’ resources to reflect the vision, needs and contexts of the school phase – making recommendation to the Programme Board as appropriate.
  • To describe person specifications for lead trainers and trainers relative to the phase.
  • To approve any actions in respect of quality of programme delivery and/or contract compliance within the phase. To advise Programme Board on delivery strategy and wider policy matters.

2. Ultimate authority rests with the Programme Board. The group cannot:

  • Amend AET values, mission or purpose. Amend strategic plans and/or objectives.
  • Amend structures and frameworks applied to programme materials and resources.
  • Amend AET policy.
  • Make commitments to third parties
  • Instruct staff in day-to-day programme management

3. Where uncertainty arises as to the power/s enjoyed by the group, this will be taken to the Programme Board for clarification.


1. The groups will each have eight members who will be approved by Programme Board. Members will include:

  • Minimum two Programme Board members.
  • A person with autism.
  • A parent of a person with autism (with current or recent experience of the phase)
  • An academic.
  • An experienced practitioner.
  • A person with good understanding of the early years environment/sector.
  • A delivery partner

2. The group will be chaired by a Programme Board member.

3. AET staff will be in attendance and provide support.


1. The groups will each meet twice a year in accordance with the wider AET work planning cycle.

2. Focus/agenda of meetings will reflect that planning cycle.

3. A minimum of four members in attendance will be required for the meeting to be deemed quorate. If not quorate the meeting will be re-convened.

4. Should the chair not be present the meeting will elect an acting chair from amongst those present.

5. Decisions will be by simple majority vote. The chair will enjoy a casting vote.

Reporting to Programme Board

Supported by AET staff, the groups chair will report on its work to Programme Board.

Conduct of Members

1. The entire AET programme is predicated on selflessness, cooperation, partnership and mutual respect. It is anticipated that the group will operate consistent with these principles.

2. Group members will be expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with AET values and the Nolan Committee standards in public life.

3. Members shall not attend less than two meetings in any two-year cycle.

4. Where a group member’s conduct falls short of this expectation, this will be addressed by the group chair to include, if necessary, exclusion.

5. An excluded member may appeal to the Programme Board whose decision shall be final.


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