Eight new autism centres to open in schools across Essex

PUBLISHED: 10:37 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 22:43 26 March 2017

Refurbishment taking place at Market Field School, now complete, which is a support hub for the new centres

Refurbishment taking place at Market Field School, now complete, which is a support hub for the new centres

Archant

New autism support centres will be opening across Essex to mark World Autism Awareness Week which takes place from Monday, March 27 – Sunday, April 2.

Eight centres will open across the county, with one primary school and one secondary school hosting them in each of Essex’s four quadrants.

The new centres aim to help young people diagnosed with autism access mainstream schooling while providing the specialist support they need to get the most out of their education.

Along with the Essex Specialist Teacher Service and the Educational Psychology Service the centres 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 £85 milllion investment in special schools in Essex.

The new centres will be based at Kelvedon St Mary’s Primary Academy, Honywood Community Science School, Coggeshall, Hamford Primary Academy, Walton-on-the-Naze, Tendring Technology College, Merrylands Primary School, Basildon, The Bromfords School and Sixth Form College, Wickford, Millwards Primary School, Harlow, and Passmores Academy, Harlow.

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 £85 million 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.”

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