New autism centres set to open in Harlow

News / Wed 22nd Mar 2017 at 10:57am

ESSEX County Council is opening eight of the centres across the county, with one primary school and one secondary school hosting them in each of Essex’s four quadrants.

While many pupils with autism already attend and succeed in their local mainstream schools, there are others with more complex needs, including high levels of anxiety, who require further specialist support.

The new centres aim to enable those young people to access mainstream schooling and spend most of their time in classes alongside their peers.

Admissions will be managed by the council’s statutory assessment service, working in partnership with the schools. All of the pupils admitted will have an education, health and care plan.

The centres are located at:

Primary (mid Essex) – Kelvedon St Mary’s Primary Academy
Secondary (mid Essex) – Honywood Community Science School, Coggeshall
Primary (north Essex) – Hamford Primary Academy, Walton-on-the-Naze
Secondary (north Essex) – Tendring Technology College
Primary (south Essex) – Merrylands Primary School, Basildon
Secondary (south Essex) – The Bromfords School and Sixth Form College, Wickford
Primary (west Essex) – Millwards Primary School, Harlow
Secondary (west Essex) – Passmores Academy, Harlow

In addition to the new mainstream support centres, four special school-led ASD hubs have been set up at Thriftwood School (Chelmsford), Market Field School (Elmstead Market), Oak View School (Loughton) and Castledon School (Wickford).

These schools, along with the Essex Specialist Teacher Service and the Educational Psychology Service, will work to develop autism expertise across all schools in Essex.

The hubs will provide outreach services and ensure pupils with autism who attend mainstream schools, particularly at secondary schools, receive enhanced support.

For pupils with more severe autism, additional places are being created as part of the council’s record £85milllion investment in special schools in Essex.

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “We are committed to ensuring all pupils in Essex receive the best possible education.

“A growing number of children in the county are being diagnosed with autism and it is vital we have the specialist facilities and expertise in place to meet their needs, whether that is in a mainstream or special school.

“I am therefore delighted we are now officially opening a new network of autism support centres across Essex which will allow pupils to be educated alongside their peers in mainstream schools.

“We are also making good progress with our record £85million investment in new special school places – a number of which will be specifically for children with autism – and I look forward to seeing the various projects come to fruition.

“Moving forward, it is vital that mainstream and special schools work more closely together and I am pleased we are now taking a huge stride towards that goal.”

World Autism Awareness Week takes place from March 27 until April 2 and aims to raise awareness of ASD.

As well as the official opening of a new network of autism support centres, Essex County Council is supporting a variety of activities throughout the week.

For more information, please visit the online Autism Information Hub at https://www.livingwellessex.org/news,-events-services/autism-awareness-week

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