Hope for new special autism school facility in Fakenham
As part of a new county council ambition to create more special needs places in education, a new autism school could be developed in Fakenham.
Norfolk County Council hopes to develop a brand new all-age school for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
The school would be created on the location of the former Fakenham sixth form site on Wells Road.
It forms part of a new plan to create 500 extra special educational needs school places in the county by building up to four new schools.
Detailed surveys and designs for the Fakenham school are being developed subject to consultation and planning permission.
A sponsor to run the school would also be required.
County councillor for Fakenham, Tom Fitzpatrick, said: “Children and families who live in Fakenham and its surrounding communities are already benefitting from the fantastic modern learning facilities at Fakenham Academy.
“It seems fitting that the old sixth form site should continue to be used for educational purposes – and I look forward to seeing the developing plans for a specialist school dedicated to teaching children with autism.”
It is hoped the new school will reduce travel times for children with autism who may be travelling long distances to get to a specialist school.
County councillor John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said long journeys place “incredible pressure” on families.
He cited the costs involved as well as the effect on maintaining friendships.
“Creating a new school on this site would bring us closer to achieving our ambition that all children in Norfolk get a good education – and for them to go to school as close to where they live as possible.
“A new school would take pressure off those specialist schools and resource bases elsewhere in the county that are already doing such a great job in the face of ever-growing demand.”
Borough councillor Sandra Squire said she would like to see more special schools in the west. She has two children with autism in mainstream education.
“My eldest son is doing very well at Terrington St Clement High but my younger one is struggling. It’s defintely down to the indiviudal’s needs,” she said, when reflecting on how well autistic children can do in mainstream schools.