Specialist school places for children with autism open in town

Redcastle Primary School has opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. 

Redcastle Primary School has opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. - Credit: Redcastle Primary School

Specialist support for children with autism has become available at two schools in Thetford.

The specialist resource bases (SRBs), as part of Norfolk County Council’s investment in special educational needs, are set to welcome their first students. 

Redcastle Primary School and Thetford Academy, part of the Inspiration Trust, have introduced newly refurbished accommodation, extra staffing and professional support to enable children and young people with autism to thrive in a mainstream school environment. 

Both bases are open for up to 10 children initially. 

Thetford Academy has opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism.

Thetford Academy have opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. - Credit: Thetford Academy

Dan Carter, principal of Thetford Academy, said: “I am very pleased to be opening our new SRB at Thetford Academy.  

“Our community has needed access to these specialist places for children with autism spectrum disorder for a while and I'm glad we've been able to work together with Norfolk County Council to make this happen."

Deputy head and inclusion lead Emma Denty said: “Redcastle Family School is committed to providing an inclusive education for all children and the specialist resource base is designed to allow up to 16 children with a diagnosis of autism to successfully integrate with their peers and as a result feel part of our whole school family.

Redcastle Primary School have opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. 

Redcastle Primary School have opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. - Credit: Redcastle Primary School

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“Pupils who attend the SRB at Redcastle Family School will all have access to a broad, balanced curriculum differentiated for each child.  

“Priority is given to communication and social interaction skills with explicit teaching of appropriate social behaviour and life skills. 

"All children and all adults throughout the school are supportive of our commitment to inclusivity.” 

Hundreds of new SRB places are being created across the county under the council’s £120m Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Action Plan transformation programme. 

Work is currently under way to provide a further 90 new places at eight more SRBs in mainstream schools while work is ongoing to create three new schools in Fakenham, Great Yarmouth and Easton. 

Cabinet member for children’s services John Fisher said: “Thetford is an area where there has historically been a gap in specialist provision for families, a gap I am proud to say we are now bridging.

"I am delighted that children, young people and their families will have the opportunity to access the extra support specialist resource base schools can provide, including the autism-friendly refurbished accommodation.” 

Thetford Academy has opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism.

Thetford Academy has opened a Specialist Resource Base for children with autism. - Credit: Thetford Academy