City’s only school for autistic youngsters to expand

NEWPORT’S only autism spectrum disorder (ASD) school has been given the go-ahead to expand.

The council’s cabinet member for education and skills, Cllr Gail Giles, approved the proposal, which will see the capacity of Ysgol Bryn Derw increase from 48 to 68 from January 2020, on Wednesday.

The expansion proposals for Ysgol Bryn Derw will be fully funded by Gwent’s integrated care fund (ICF) capital investment plan.

The expansion will cost around £300,000, which is £25,000 per pupil, based on 12 additional children.

A consultation report says: “This is significantly lower than the annual cost for out-of-county provision, which averages at £45,000 per learner, plus associated transport costs.

“There will also be an increase in whole authority staff costs as additional teachers and support staff will be required to meet the needs of the increased pupil population.

“The proposal is considered to be cost effective in that it will support pupils living in Newport to be able to receive education suitable to their needs within the city.”

Subject to relevant planning permission, the school could also benefit from internal remodelling, which will provide two classrooms with upgraded acoustics and lighting. There will also be a life skills area and quiet rooms.