New autism unit for Linlithgow Academy

A NEW specialist facility for pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will open at Linlithgow Academy in August 2012.

There are currently two other secondary schools in West Lothian that have dedicated autism resources - The James Young High School in Livingston and St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn.

A resource at Linlithgow Academy will cater for six additional S1-S6 pupils with autism, and pupils will be taught within a mainstream school setting which is in line with national best practice. The move comes after consultation with the school’s Parent Council, staff and pupils.

Mary Rankine, West Lothian Council’s head of education, said: “We have a clear commitment to ensuring that pupils with additional support needs have equal access to a balanced curriculum and should also have the facilities they need to fulfil their potential and ensure their individual needs are being met.

‘‘We have two excellent resources already, and the time is right to expand the service. There is an adequate amount of space within Linlithgow Academy and this would ensure a good geographical spread of resources throughout the county.”

Reports have found an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism over recent years and the number will continue to grow. As a result, the council felt it was vital to increase the provision for these young people and their families. An implementation group will be set up to consider and carefully plan the new provision, and additional staffing levels will be allocated to facilitate the new base at Linlithgow Academy.