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Town’s schools set to provide more support for autistic children

PUBLISHED: 12:26 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:43 09 March 2020

Thetford will soon be offering spaces for children at Specialist Resource Bases (SRB) soon to be introduced at Thetford Academy, Drake Primary and Redcastle Family School. Photo: Emily Thomson/Google Images

Thetford will soon be offering spaces for children at Specialist Resource Bases (SRB) soon to be introduced at Thetford Academy, Drake Primary and Redcastle Family School. Photo: Emily Thomson/Google Images

Emily Thomson/Google Images

A town’s schools will soon offer more support to families with autistic children, as new learning facilities will mean they can be “part of whole school life”.

Thetford will soon be offering spaces for children at Specialist Resource Bases (SRB) soon to be introduced at Thetford Academy, Drake Primary and Redcastle Family School. Photo: Emily Thomson/Google ImagesThetford will soon be offering spaces for children at Specialist Resource Bases (SRB) soon to be introduced at Thetford Academy, Drake Primary and Redcastle Family School. Photo: Emily Thomson/Google Images

Thetford will soon be offering places for children at Specialist Resource Bases (SRB) soon to be introduced within three of its schools.

These bases will provide additional learning space and extra support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which will allow them to stay within mainstream education.

Thetford Academy is one of them which is set to offer 20 spaces at its SRB for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

An Inspiration Trust spokesman from Thetford Academy said: 'These centres enable these learners to be taught in mainstream schools and be part of whole school life.

(From left to right) Sandra Govender, CEO of Athena Education Support, Julie Cox, pastoral support manager and Sam Burboyne, Business support manager at its Tuesday sessions for families in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson(From left to right) Sandra Govender, CEO of Athena Education Support, Julie Cox, pastoral support manager and Sam Burboyne, Business support manager at its Tuesday sessions for families in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

'This is important for Thetford because it will further improve the resources and expertise at Thetford Academy, which serves its local community.

'The places at other schools in the area are also important for Thetford because this will make further support available for local pupils that really need it.

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'Our pupils, and giving them a great education, is always our top priority.'

This comes after Norfolk County Council announced in 2018 that it would invest £120m in specialist school places and create more than 500 extra spaces for children with special educational needs and disabilities across the county.

SRB bases will also be introduced at Redcastle Family School and Drake Primary School in Thetford, where 16 spaces will be available at each.

Sandra Govender is chief executive at Athena Education Support CIC in Thetford, which is an alternative educational support service for local children and families.

She said: 'By having the autistic specialist bases located in Thetford, hopefully they can be developed into centres of educational expertise which we can proudly celebrate as a town.

'Athena currently runs weekly family classes and supports parents of children with ASD within Thetford.

'We have also been commissioned to deliver national training to health, social care and education professionals to support parents of children with autism.

'With our expertise and depth of knowledge, we are willing to work in partnership with the SRBs to develop healthy family relationships and prepare our vulnerable children for the complexities of adult life.'

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