Berkshire

Reading specialist autism school proposed

Sybil Elgar School, Middlesex
Image caption The National Autistic Society has six specialist schools in the UK, including the Sybil Elgar School in Middlesex

A free specialist school in Reading for pupils with autism is being planned.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) said the school, which could open in September 2013, would add to educational provision in Berkshire.

Parents from across Berkshire are being asked for their views on the school, which could cater for 50 pupils between ages five and 19.

A recent NAS survey found almost half of autistic children had to wait more than a year for an appropriate school.

'Impossible choice'

Sue Kedar, a parent of a child with autism from Upper Basildon, said she had to drive for an hour to take her son to a specialist school in Aylesbury.

"My son did very well at the local village primary school," she said. "However, when it came to choosing a secondary school, we were faced with an impossible choice.

"He was considered too academically able for the local special schools, yet his autism needs were considered too great by the mainstream secondary schools."

The NAS, which already runs six schools for autistic pupils across the UK, was approached by Reading Borough Council with the possibility of opening another school in September 2013.

NAS chief executive Mark Lever said: "We want a world where people with autism get to lead the life they choose and securing greater parental choice over education plays an important role in this."

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