Three Herefordshire schools will have new facilities for autistic pupils from the start of September.

Eight pupils will gain support at each of Leominster Primary School and Earl Mortimer College, a secondary and sixth-form school also in the town, and at Aylestone School, a secondary in Hereford.

“In each case, there is likely to be very minimal expenditure to ensure that the rooms identified are modified and equipped in readiness for their opening,” Herefordshire Council said when it proposed the idea in March.

A fourth, St Weonards Primary School, was also being considered for such a facility, but as an academy and therefore outside of local authority control, a separate decision on this will be taken by the Department for Education’s regional director.

Among the positive response to the council’s proposal, a concern was raised that a facility at the village school “will lead to a disproportionate number of children with autism in a small school population”.


The county already has two “mainstream autism bases” (MABs), one for primary-age children at Hampton Dene Primary School, the other for secondary-age pupils at The Bishop of Hereford High School, both in east Hereford.

These provide additional support from specialist staff for children with autism, enabling them to attend mainstream education. But both are now full for new admissions at the start of the next academic year.


And according to the Child Development Centre in Hereford, where pre-school children are assessed, diagnosed and supported, there will need to be a significant expansion in MAB places from September.

“We have also had a high level of demand from parents who are seeking secondary specialist autism base provision as their children move from primary school to secondary school,” Herefordshire Council’s announcement of the decision said.