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New unit to benefit children with autism

A SPECIALIST teaching facility designed to help youngsters with Autistic Spectrum disorders reach their full potential will be officially opened on Friday.

image depicting dylan thomas image

The Lord Mayor of Swansea will officially launch the new Dylan Thomas Community School STF in a celebration of the benefits it will bring to pupils with autism.

The facility is the latest in a series of schemes in Swansea to give pupils with specialist needs tailored education within a mainstream setting.

Cllr Mike Day, Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Education, said: "We're striving to provide specialist teaching facilities as part of our pledge to meet the individual needs of pupils with special educational needs.

"Schemes such as the new Dylan Thomas Community School STF are a result of considerable activity over the years to ensure these children have the opportunity to be educated in a mainstream school."

The facility is named the Dereck Roberts Centre by the school after its chair of governors and caters for pupils aged 11 to 16 with Autistic Spectrum disorders.

It allows primary school pupils currently based mainly at Clwyd Primary School to move to a secondary school with their peers and receive similar inclusion opportunities to their primary provision.

Additional teaching and support staff have been recruited. The schemes are funded out of Swansea Council's STF Development Plan.

The plan has contributed to Swansea having a positive record for inclusion of children with a variety of special educational needs in mainstream school settings.

Headteacher Rob Phillips said: "We're proud that Dylan Thomas Community School is an inclusive learning environment where all students have opportunities to achieve their potential and are fully included in the learning process.

"Children placed in an STF in their primary years often need access to similar provision in their secondary years and that's what we can now offer for those with autism. Our new STF opened to pupils a few months ago and is already proving to be a dynamic place in which to learn and teach.

"Dylan Thomas Community School has always demonstrated a positive ethos to special needs teaching and learning and has for several years successfully supported an STF for pupils with learning difficulties." 

The new STF will be able to support up to 16 pupils through a phased introduction over the next few years.

It is situated in a new purpose-built block and comprises two large classrooms and several other rooms. STF pupils, depending on their individual needs, may join mainstream classes as appropriate.    

The new building was completed by Swansea Council's Corporate Building Services team.

Lord Mayor Councillor Alan Lloyd is due to visit the city's Dylan Thomas Community School this Friday (October 2).

He plans to make a speech to highlight the positive results that the school's Autistic Spectrum Disorder Specialist Teaching Facility (STF) will bring.

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