New school 'could support up to 192 children with autism'

Consultation launched on plans for increased SEND support in east Newcastle.
Council offices at Allendale Road in Newcastle, with a large car park in the foreground

The Council has taken a positive step towards increased SEND provision with the launch of a consultation on proposals to establish a new school for children with autism.

It is proposed to build a new school in Allendale Road in the east of the city. It will support up to 192 children and young people aged 4 -16 years old with a range of abilities and differences associated with autism.

The council is taking this positive action in recognition of the significant growth in the numbers of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, especially the need for more specialist places for those with autism.

Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader, Newcastle City Council said: “There has been an increasing demand for services that specialise in supporting young people with autism. The creation of this new facility will help address this and ensure more children and young people receive the support they need in an environment where they can thrive. These proposals demonstrate our continued commitment to improving services and supporting our children and young people into a successful future.”

If approved, the school will provide a purposefully designed autism-specific environment with a range of specialist facilities and activities available to support different aspects of learning and development.

The school will: 
•    Provide high quality specialist teaching to support children and young people. 
•    Support and prepare young people to progress and develop life skills for adulthood.
•    Give pupils access to high quality therapies and health provision on site.
•    Support families of pupils with autism and develop links within the local community.
•    Increase specialist outreach support to mainstream schools to support pupils with autism.

To establish the school, the council will follow the DfE’s Free School Presumption process to appoint a multi-academy trust (MAT) to run the school. This process begins with a consultation from 6 February which will run for 5 weeks.

The City Council has also commissioned a feasibility study to develop fully costed proposals for the site.

Following the consultation feedback and feasibility study, a full report will be prepared for Cabinet, setting out the next steps, expected costs and a programme for delivery.

Details of the consultation can be found online