Acle Academy

Specialist Resource Base Consultation

Consultation on Proposal to add an Autistic Spectrum Disorder Specialist Resource Base at Acle Academy, Acle, Norfolk, from 1 April 2025


Our Proposal                            

Our Proposal Wensum Trust would like to hear your views on our proposal for Acle Academy, South Walsham Road, Acle, Norwich, NR13 3ER, to add a 25 place Autistic Spectrum Disorder Specialist Resource Base (ASD SRB) from 1 April 2025.

We appreciate that young people with autism spectrum disorder, can struggle to engage with learning and cope in a classroom without additional strategies and interventions. A Resource Base can support young people to overcome their barriers to learning, be better able to cope and to be re-integrated into a mainstream setting, in which they can achieve their potential.

We are very keen to provide this support at Acle Academy. Our Specialist Resource Base will be located near the Acle Academy main building, within the school site. It will be new purpose built building, creating an enabling environment for SRB learners in a bespoke accommodation base. The Base will be managed by the headteacher and governing body of Acle Academy.

The Base will have a recurrent funding agreement to support an agreed staffing structure for the Specialist Resource Base, including resources, equipment and running costs associated with the Base.

Places at the Specialist Resource Base will be agreed through the County Councils’ Autism Base Admissions processes and the school will be part of the decision-making process. It will grow to full capacity through this admissions process and may therefore not be full on 1 April 2025. 

Specialist Resource Bases are a key part of Norfolk’s Local Offer for children with special educational needs and their families and have been identified in Norfolk’s SEND Strategy as a priority for development.

Please note; Our proposal is subject to significant change determination, a full building programme including tender process, planning determination and construction periods as well as staff recruitment and training in line with our Trust and whole school policies and procedures.

What is a Specialist Resource Base (SRB)?

Autism bases form part of the Specialist Resource Base programme in Norfolk and are a key component of Norfolk’s SEND Local Offer, and of mainstream inclusion support to young people, families and the school system.

Autism Bases are areas within a mainstream school with a dedicated lead teacher and high levels of support staff. They are an integral part of the school and provide additional support from trained staff for young people with social communication difficulties or a diagnosis of autism.

Autism Bases provide a learning area which is calm and adapted to meet these needs. Young people can be taught in the Base or within mainstream classes as required. Pupils are supported to access mainstream classes alongside their peers as much as they are able to.

The balance of time spent between the Base and mainstream classes can vary and depends on each student’s individual needs.

Placements at the Autism Base are permanent, and pupils will be on the roll of Acle Academy. These places do not form part of the school published admission number (PAN) and are registered in addition to that number.

What are the benefits of this proposal?

The main driver for Wensum Trust and the senior leaders of Acle Academy is to meet the increased demand for specialist educational provision within our area and the needs of our most vulnerable learners.  We feel our proposal would benefit young people because it will:

  • support more students with special education needs and disabilities to be educated and thrive in their local school and community;
  • enhance students’ progress by effectively meeting their individual social communication and interaction needs;
  • help facilitate better access to the curriculum and support students to achieve their potential;
  • ensure that needs can be met locally avoiding the need for students to spend unnecessary time travelling to an appropriate school further away. This is better for young people and saves the taxpayer money in transport costs;
  • increase the availability of places to meet the needs of students with SEND;
  • address identified geographical, and age and phase gaps in SRB provision as identified in Norfolk’s SEND Strategy;
  • support the sharing of expertise and good autism practice as part our school and Trust.

Capital costs

All capital costs for the new purpose built accommodation will be funded from Norfolk County Council’s SEND and Alternative Provision Transformation Programme to ensure there is the appropriate accommodation. 

How can you have your say?

The school will be holding a drop in event at Acle Academy on Tuesday 27 September between 5pm and 6pm where you can come and find out more about this proposal.

If you unable to attend this event but would like to comment on our proposal, you can have your say by:

We need all responses by 12 noon Monday 10 October 2022.

What happens next?

Wensum Trust will consider all the responses received during this consultation and decide whether to complete a business case and send it to the Regional Department of Education (DfE) Director for a decision.

Date: 12/09/2022