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(UK) Herefordshire: "Need for significant expansion" of autism services in four schools

Apr 18, 2023, Your Herefordshire: Proposal to expand places in autism bases in mainstream schools in Herefordshire with four schools listed

W. Midlands

Herefordshire Local Authority (LA) has two existing mainstream autism bases (MABs).

One is for primary age children, at Hampton Dene Primary School as part of their Language and Communication Centre (LCC) and The Bridge is for secondary-age pupils at The Bishop of Hereford High School.

Both existing MABs are now full for new admissions in September 2023. Additionally, as a result of information received from the education and health staff at the Child Development Centre where children are assessed, diagnosed and supported in the Early Years, it is evident that there will be a need for a significant expansion in the number of specialist primary mainstream autism base places and the county will need this additional capacity from September 2023.

Herefordshire Council have also had a high level of demand from parents who are seeking secondary specialist autism base provision as their children move from primary school to secondary school.

Herefordshire Council has identified four schools that have expressed a keenness and interest in hosting a MAB and have the physical space to host the base within their existing buildings. The new proposed bases will also give a better geographical spread within the county meaning travel distances for pupils can be reduced. …

Herefordshire Council also plans to offer the staff appointed appropriate further training in order to ensure they are well placed to carry out their new role.

Herefordshire Council recognises this is a significant expansion in the number of places. The county currently have 25 primary places and 8 secondary places. However, Herefordshire Council also wishes to ensure that it has sufficient places for September 2024 and beyond.

The 8 places in each school are additional to the planned admission number (PAN) for the school.

The purpose of the MABs is to allow children who need additional support to access mainstream education to gain that support from specialist staff who work from the base classroom.

The criteria for being offered a place at a MAB is that the children must have a diagnosis of autism and a level of educational need that can only met through a MAB as identified in their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). They must also have a reasonable prospect of being able to access some time in mainstream lessons.

The bases are designated local authority specialist provision and therefore any decisions of pupil placement are made by the local authority in accordance with the statutory guidance in the SEND Code of Practice (2015). The host schools are consulted as part of the statutory EHCP process….


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