My child is currently attending an out-of-county placement and is very happy and settled. Will they be forced to move to this school when it opens?

If following the formal consultation a decision is taken by the Cabinet Member for Education to proceed with the proposal, all pupils and parents of pupils attending specialist ASD day placements will be contacted to ask whether or not they wish to consider placement at the new ASD school in Newport.  

For pupils and parents of pupils who wish to consider this, a meeting will be arranged in order to discuss possible transition into the new ASD school.

If the pupil and parent of the pupil do not wish to explore this option and would prefer to remain attending their existing placement, this will be respected and no further discussions will take place regarding transition into the new ASD school within Newport. 

Will a child require a statement of Special Educational Needs to be considered for admission to the new school?

Yes. All pupils who attend the new ASD school will have a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) detailing a formal diagnosis of ASD, confirmed in writing by a medical practitioner.

While this may be subject to future change pending Welsh Governments proposal to replace Statements of SEN with Individual Development Plans (IDP’s), the current SEN Code of Practice includes a requirement for a pupil to have a Statement of SEN in order to access the ASD school. 

Not all pupils with a Statement of SEN and a formal diagnosis of ASD will be appropriate for placement within the new school, as it will cater for the needs of those pupils whose needs cannot be met within mainstream and / or Learning Resource Base placement. 

Admission to the new ASD school will be determined by the SEN Panel in liaison with the appointed headteacher following formal recommendation of a pupil review meeting.

It will not be possible to apply for placement at the new ASD school via the schools admissions team. 

How much autonomy will the headteacher have over admissions to the new school and to what extent will this be in consultation with the council?

Will there be representation on the Managed Moves Panel?

Admission to the new ASD school will be determined by the SEN Panel in liaison with the appointed headteacher following formal recommendation of a pupil review meeting.

It will not be possible to apply for placement at the new ASD school via the schools admissions team. 

All pupils who attend the new ASD school will have a Statement of SEN and therefore all referrals will be considered by the SEN Panel, not the Managed Move Panel.

If a pupil is identified by the Managed Move Panel as possibly being appropriate for placement, a referral can be made to the SEN Panel for consideration. 

Will the school be able to provide support to pupils with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) along with training on ASD strategies and good practice?

PDA is now considered to be part of the autism spectrum. Individuals with PDA share difficulties with others on the autism spectrum in social aspects of interaction, communication and imagination.

However, the central difficulty for people with PDA is the way they are driven to avoid demands and expectations because they have an anxiety based need to be in control.

People with PDA seem to have a better social understanding and communication skills than others on the spectrum and are able to use this to their advantage.

It will be important to ensure that the new ASD school is able to identify pupils presenting with PDA and provides support and strategies to help them within the school setting. 

Will the ASD school be attached to Gaer Primary School and Maes Ebbw and if so, could pupils in the ASD school also attend these provisions?

The proposed ASD school will be a stand-alone school with no formal association with another.

While it will be in close geographical location to Gaer Primary School, it is not attached to and will not form part of this school, likewise, there are no formal links with Maes Ebbw School. 

To maximise opportunities for pupils who attend the new ASD school to integrate where appropriate with mainstream peers, links will be established with the pupil’s catchment school.

This may include joining the catchment school for activities including assemblies, prescribed lessons and PE sessions, as well as whole school activities and excursions.

Any opportunities for integration will be tailored to meet the individual pupil’s needs and interests. 

Will pupils who attend the proposed ASD school have access to therapies?

A range of therapies to meet the individual pupils needs, including speech, language, occupational and physiotherapy amongst others, will be available as prescribed by the pupils Statement of SEN.

These will be provided within the school environment and reinforced throughout the child’s individual curriculum, as deemed appropriate by the relevant professional. 

Will transport be available to pupils who attend the ASD school?

Transport will be provided by the local authority to and from the ASD school for pupils identified as requiring it within their individual Statement of SEN, in line with the council’s transport policy.  

Will Roman Catholic schools be able to access this school for pupils that require this type of education? 

The proposed ASD school will be available to pupils, regardless of faith, who meet the criteria for a placement.

This will be devised if the proposal is confirmed and when legal consultation is completed by the local authority with the appointed headteacher and governing body. 

Will the proposed ASD school be able to provide support and advice to primary schools for pupils with ASD?

The proposed ASD school will be the central ‘hub’ for ASD practice in Newport with a wealth of experience and expertise available to benefit placed pupils placed as well as all other Newport schools through outreach support.

All schools in Newport will therefore be able to access specialist knowledge and resources, as appropriate, to support pupils with ASD in mainstream, learning resource bases and specialist placements. 

The proposal states that supportive therapies – speech, physiotherapy and occupational therapy – will be available on site, where will this resource come from?

If a pupil has been assessed as requiring individual therapies as part of their educational provision, this will be detailed within Part 3 of the pupils Statement of SEN.

Where interventions have been assessed and agreed by the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, practitioners will visit the proposed ASD school to deliver this.

This will also be applicable to any private therapists that are procured by the local authority.

Interventions like this are currently delivered by professionals at all schools in Newport, including mainstream and specialist settings, to support individual pupil development. 

Where is the evidence that outcomes for children would be improved by this principle in a cost effective way?

The development of an ASD specific school in Newport would result in an efficient and effective use of public resources by:

  • enabling some of the city’s most vulnerable children to be educated within their local area
  • enabling pupils and parents to build effective relationships with peers in their local community
  • enabling the local authority to support pupils and parents with in-house advisory teams and support services

At the moment the average cost of an ASD day placement outside Newport is approximately £45,000 per year.

This does not include transport costs to and from school which could add an approximate £15,000 per year.

The proposed ASD provision in Newport would cost approximately £30,000 per pupil with transport costs variable depending on the pupil’s home address.

This is a significant saving for Newport of approximately £15,000 each year on the school place with additional savings on transport costs.