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New centres bring autism education into mainstream Camden schools

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 October 2011

Headteacher Jo Armitage (centre, back row) with colleagues and students at the launch of Acland Burghley School's new autism resource base.

Headteacher Jo Armitage (centre, back row) with colleagues and students at the launch of Acland Burghley School's new autism resource base.

Archant

Two pioneering autism centres have opened in Kentish Town schools to integrate pupils into mainstream education.

Kentish Town Primary School, in Islip Street, and Acland Burghley School in Burghley Road, have introduced new facilities to support students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within mainstream classroom activities.

They will be the first two schools in the borough of Camden to offer this support.

In-house therapy and sensory rooms have been provided, as well as the services of specialist staff.

Previously students with ASD had to travel outside the borough for the majority of their educational support, but now they can be looked after in mainstream schools.

Calvin Henry, headteacher of Kentish Town Primary School, said: “This is inclusion at its very best.

“These vulnerable children are provided with a high quality learning experience and environment that is tailored to their individual needs, balanced with being educated alongside their mainstream peers.”

The school can now accommodate two pupils with autism per year group, up to a total of 16, and six are already enrolled.

Other improvement works include larger classrooms, improved acoustics, and the incorporation of the nursery into the main building.

A new drop-off area will also be created for pupils with autism and other needs.

At Acland Burghley comprehensive, a refurbishment has provided a separate resource base within the school grounds for up to 20 students.

Headteacher Jo Armitage said: “We are confident that this base will be a positive development of our inclusive ethos and add to our overall skills and capacity, with benefits for the whole community.”

It is thought the inclusive teaching will encourage greater understanding and respect among pupils.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartes, and children’s author, Jane Ray, opened the base at Kentish Town Primary School on Friday, October 14, while Acland Burghley launched its base on Wednesday, October 19.


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