Ernulf Academy in St Neots planning to open special unit for children with autism

08:00 25 January 2014

Ernulf Academy headteacher Scott Preston.

Ernulf Academy headteacher Scott Preston.

KenChallenger

A St Neots secondary school is planning to open a special unit for autistic children this September.

While the details have not yet been finalised, Ernulf Academy in Barford Road could provide between eight and 10 places for autistic students aged 11 to 18. The final figure could increase to as many as 15 or 16 by the opening date.

The students will not necessarily be from the academy as the centre will cater for those with autistic spectrum conditions across Huntingdonshire.

The school will provide a classroom – known as The Cabin – where the pupils can be given special support, while still spending 80 or 90 per cent of their time in mainstream education.

Currently the closest provision is at Witchford Village College in Ely and Comberton Village College, near Cambridge.

Ernulf headteacher Scott Preston said the changes would not affect provision for the school’s current pupils who need to receive extra support.

“We noticed the need for this from the students we were already working with who we felt needed specialist support. We went to the local authority to discuss that with them,” he said.

“Students from Huntingdonshire, in particular, were having to travel quite some distances, which if you have an autistic spectrum condition isn’t good for you.

“What we are doing is actually increasing provision, we have no intention to reduce what we are currently doing.”

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