School’s ‘calm’ wing benefits autistic pupils

Diane Abbott with Leaways School student Daniel

Diane Abbott with Leaways School student Daniel - Credit: Archant

Leaways School was joined by special guest MP Diane Abbott for the launch of a refurbished wing, designed to meet the needs of young people on the autistic spectrum.

The independent school in Theydon Road, Upper Clapton, for young people aged 10-17 with social, emotional and mental health difficulties has invested in a purpose-built specialist wing, which can accommodate up to 15 pupils who are on the autistic spectrum.

Young people with autism spectrum condition can find large classes are too loud and busy which places a significant barrier to their school learning.

Each small classroom has sound proofing, specialised soft changeable lighting systems and climate controlled rooms, so as to be ‘low arousal’, calm and nurturing places for children to learn and grow.

To celebrate the opening, pupils and teachers at the school were joined by the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Headteacher Richard Gadd said: “The children taught in the unit benefit from very small class sizes, specialist teachers and a curriculum which is broad and balanced but delivered in a way that can support the learning needs of young people who may have struggled with their education in the past.

“This is an exciting development for the school and one we’re very proud of. Being able to offer such a tailored service helps us to maximize on every students’ chances of success.”

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He continued: “Increasingly young people with many different educational needs were being referred to our school and we wanted to ensure each student was given the best possible chance to succeed.

“As a school we build a curriculum and setting which meets an individual young person’s needs and are very keen to help those students who may be on the spectrum.

“With the increasing need for educational solutions for students with speech, language and communication delay, we can offer that specialist support for all young people including speech and language input and counselling.”

Leaways provides specialist education for young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.