Autism Provision at Honywood

Honywood is one of four secondary school in Essex with a purpose-built autism support centre (ASC).  As part of an Essex wide initiative each educational quadrant provides an ASC at a primary and secondary school, both of which are supported by a local special school.  Thriftwood School and College supports Honywood and Kelvedon St. Mary’s Primary School in this new venture.

The initiative stems from the need to provide educational provision to meet the full range of needs of children and young people with Autism Spectrum Condition.  In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young people diagnosed with autism due to improved awareness and wider diagnostic criteria.  The demand for specialist provision to meet the needs of these children is high and increasing.  The ASCs in Essex aim to ‘plug the gap’ in provision for those autistic youngsters who could only access a mainstream school curriculum with specialist support.  The ASC at Honywood will provide 15 places for these youngsters incrementally over the next few years.*

The ASC at Honywood Community Science School is funded by Essex County Council.  All applications for admission to the ASC are made though the local Statutory Assessment Service team who are responsible for initiating and managing the statutory assessment process, issuing and reviewing Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and arranging provision and placements for learners with statements/EHCPs.  This team works closely with the school to ensure places are allocated in accordance with need.  As this is a separately funded resource, use of the ASC by autistic learners who attend the mainstream provision is at the discretion of the SENCO with responsibility for the ASC.

The learning design at Honywood, particularly in Cohorts 7 and 8, lends itself well to meeting the additional needs of autistic children.  Choice of approach for learners and flexibility from the teaching staff in terms of making reasonable adjustments are just two examples that help alleviate some of the anxieties associated with autism.  The school acknowledges that autism has a different impact on each learner.  Teachers and support staff are provided with personalised support strategies for each learner, and these are updated as their learning needs evolve throughout their time at the school.  The school responds to the changing needs of these learners and the SEND team welcomes the views of teachers, support staff, parents/carers and the youngsters themselves in helping shape the support they receive.

*Children admitted to the Autism Support Centre will have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) showing complex and additional needs related to autism.  Most will already be attending a mainstream primary school and will be encountering significant difficulties linked to the autism.  Some may be attending a special school and are making enough progress to make the transition to Honywood.

All applications for admission to the Autism Support Centre are made though the local Statutory Assessment Service team who are responsible for initiating and managing the statutory assessment process, issuing and reviewing Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and arranging provision and placements for learners with statements/EHCPs.  This team works closely with the school to ensure places are allocated in accordance with need. Please contact Mr Henry Cordy McKenna at Honywood School if you would like to discuss the facility and for a visit to our school.