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New Autism Centres for Western Board Primary Schools

7 January, 2008


Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has announced the establishment of autism support units at two schools in Derry and Enniskillen.

Key Stage 1 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Units will be established at St Brigid's Primary School, Carnhill, Derry and Holy Trinity Primary School, Enniskillen. Key Stage 2 Learning Support Centres will also be established at each school, to provide for children who require continuing support.

Commenting on the decision Caitríona Ruane said:

"These new units will enable children to access small group teaching and periods of individualised support, as well as benefiting from social and curricular integration with their mainstream peers. They offer parents another choice in the type of provision they feel is best suited to their child's need."

These proposals are part of an overall Western Education and Library Board strategy to provide support for autistic children, ranging from special school to mainstream with support. They will provide support for children with a diagnosis of autism who cannot cope in a mainstream classroom situation on a full- time basis, but could benefit from being placed in an autism specific class, attached to the mainstream school.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

At the request of Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), acting on behalf of the school Trustees, the Western Education and Library Board published Development Proposals, numbers 194 and 195 on 2 May 2007 and 25 May 2007 respectively. They propose the establishment of Key Stage 1 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Classes to be followed by the development of Key Stage 2 Learning Support Centres for Key Stage 2 within Holy Trinity Primary School, Enniskillen and St Brigid's Primary School, Carnhill, with effect from 1 September 2007 or as soon as possible thereafter. The two-month period for objections ended on 3 July 2007. The statutory consultation periods ended on 3 and 25 July 2007.

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