New autism services aimed at local families - in the form of residential accommodation at a Somerset school for students who require weekly, termly or short-break residential provision - are due to be launched in May.
Andy Holder, principal of Newbury Manor School in Frome, Somerset, said: “We know that families need flexible services that meet individual needs. They may not want their child to attend a boarding school but might benefit from an occasional short break.
“Our approach is having a very positive impact on the lives of our students and their families and we are confident that this additional provision will allow for even more good work to be achieved.”
According to the NHS Information Centre, around 1 in 100 adults has autism - a lifelong condition which affects people’s understanding of the world and their communication with others. The autism spectrum includes classic autism, Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.
Newbury Manor School is a specialist school for 30 young people aged 7-19 who have autistic spectrum disorders and supports people with a wide range of needs, including more severe learning difficulties.
Mr Holder said: “We accept that young people who are referred to us may have previously experienced a ‘cycle of failure’ and our aim is to have a transformational impact on their lives. We support all young people to achieve successful adult outcomes so that they can lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.”
The school is located in a Georgian manor house, which has a range of outbuildings and extensive grounds. Mr Holder said the new accommodation would be "personalised" and individual.
“Our residential provision will offer just five places, so the bespoke approaches that have proved so successful within our day provision can be replicated within our care settings too. The children will require a calm, low environment, with a small number of other young people sharing their space.”
The new residential area offers spacious accommodation with large, single occupancy bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. The accommodation also offers two lounge areas and a separate kitchenette.
The school is well placed to open the new provision, following its children’s home earning a "good" Ofsted judgement, with many "outstanding" features.
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