Education unit close to approval

by Natalie Vincent Fri 31 August 2018, 2:12 pm

A 30-place learning centre for children with autism in Reading could open next year if plans are given the green light.

Members of Reading Council's policy committee were asked to approve the construction of the £1.9 million special educational needs (SEN) facility, The Base, at Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School in Southcote.

The autistic spectrum provision would provide twice as many pupil places as the existing facility at the school, which dates back to the 1990. It would be demolished to make way for the new centre, along with the caretaker house.

The new building would also cut down the number of pupils having to travel to special schools outside the borough, while saving the council money in the long term.

An open evening held at the school this summer displayed and shared plans for the new building. They received widespread support. Planning permission already exists and a contractor.

Ashley Pearce, lead councillor for education said: "A number of children currently have to travel outside the borough which can be inconvenient for families and can result in higher placement and travel costs for the council.

"This new facility will benefit pupils and their families who will be able to build up friendships and support from other local families as well as saving Reading taxpayers money in the long term."
If final approval is granted, the unit could be open by September 2019.

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