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Extra places plan to help pupils with more severe ASD

Extra places for pupils with more severe Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could be created at Swansea's Penybryn Special School.


The school has invested in a new building that provides extra classrooms and facilities. At the moment it has places for 130 pupils but following the completion of the work it can now cater for an additional 20 students.

If a special school is looking to increase its numbers by more than 10% then the relevant local authority must consult all stakeholders.

A report going to Swansea Council's Cabinet on May 17 is seeking permission to begin the process.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Life Long Learning, said: "Diagnosis of ASD is on the increase and it is important that the provision is in place in our schools in Swansea.

"These additional places will help us to meet demand for pupils with more severe ASD and also alleviate pressure on our specialist teaching facilities (STFs) for pupils with moderate ASD at our mainstream schools."

Earlier this year three new teaching units for pupils with moderate ASD opened at Dunvant and Portmead primary schools and at Birchgrove Comprehensive.

Each has places for 16 young people and are making a real difference to pupils' lives.

Andrew Owen, headteacher at Birchgrove Comprehensive School, said they had welcomed new pupils from years 7 through to 10.

He added: "Our new pupils have settled in very well, becoming an integral part of the school community at Birchgrove. Opportunities to integrate with mainstream classes and into year group assemblies have also developed as our STF students have gained in confidence.

"We are especially proud of the way in which these pupils have risen to the challenging new experiences offered to them.  Birchgrove Comprehensive regards itself as a fully inclusive school that is proud of all our students' achievements, no matter what individual circumstances they may face. Pupils in our ASD unit have certainly enhanced this philosophy."

There were already successful units for pupils with ASD operating in mainstream school sites in Swansea at Clase, Clwyd and Gwyrosydd Primary Schools and at Dylan Thomas and Gowerton Comprehensives.

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