New school centre to support pupils with autism

Nailsea School has been chosen as a site for one of three hubs.

Nailsea School has been chosen as a site for one of three hubs. - Credit: Archant

A resource centre for pupils with autism is set to open at Nailsea School in September next year.

The hub is one of three being created by North Somerset Council to provide support for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The new resource centre will be set up on the school site to enable 10 pupils to benefit from specialist support, with access to mainstream provision.

Headteacher Dee Elliott said: "This provision will enable up to 10 identified students with education health and care plans (ECHP) to be taught in a small group setting with access to tailored support.

"Initially the resource base will be open to new pupils aged 11-14.

"To accommodate this, a separate and bespoke facility is being reconfigured in a central location within the school.

"This will be created during a phased build period over a year, and the second phase is due to take place during the summer break of 2020.

Most Read

"This remodelling of spaces will not only provide appropriate and specialised classrooms for resource base students, but also ensure that the main school students continue to have access to suitable facilities."

The hubs are one of a number of measures to cope with the increasing number of children with complex needs.

Over the past five years, the number of children with EHCPs in North Somerset has increased by 81 per cent, and figures are expected to continue rising.

Up to £206,161 has been allocated to North Somerset Council to set up resource bases for pupils with high functioning autism spectrum disorders.

The money will be split between two primaries and one secondary school to create hubs for children with EHCPs on the school sites.

The council has permission and funding to open up a free social emotional mental health school.

More: Public consultation launched on new school scheme.

The authority is also planning to expand the provision at Baytree School, by opening another site in Clevedon, and Westhaven School, in Uphill, will take infant-aged pupils from September.

In August, the Government announced an extra £14billion would be spent on schools, including £700million for children with special educational needs.

Education leaders are hoping the money will help to ease the pressure on schools and lead to more provision in North Somerset.