A NEW special school in Gloucestershire has opened for children with an autism diagnosis. 

Brookthorpe Hall School is now open for children aged between seven to 16-years-old, with organisers hoping to alleviate the current shortage of available places for autistic children.

Interiors have been adapted to suit the needs of pupils with calming décor, sensory spaces and learning labs offering more stimulation

At the school there is also a pastoral team and a clinical team which specialises in occupational and speech therapy. 

Classes have a high staff-to-pupil ratio with one teacher and teaching assistant for five to six pupils. 

The school - which is run by education and care provider Options Autism - is also working with local authorities from Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Bristol.

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New headteacher, Joy Price-Bish who has 40 years’ experience in specialist provision says she wants every child to reach their full potential. 

“Our aim at Brookthorpe Hall School is to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment that meets the needs of each individual pupil,” she said. 

“Working together to build a learning community that provides young people with the support, resources and environment needed to ensure that every pupil achieves their full potential. 

Gazette Series: New headteacher Joy Price-Bish New headteacher Joy Price-Bish (Image: Stroud District Council)

“Our autism strategy 'ask, accept, develop' recognises that despite underlying shared traits, every autistic child or young person is unique in their own way. 

“Some are cognitively talented, others may have a significant learning disability; this strategy enables our staff to appreciate the individual abilities of every child. 

“Through a shared celebration of neurodiversity we have created an academic experience that meets the needs of our individual pupils, providing robust pastoral support, great communication systems and an engaging curriculum. 

“Understanding each young person as an individual, and building positive relationships is key to removing barriers that have previously prevented our young people from engaging in education. 

“Some pupils have come from mainstream schools which were unable to meet their needs, resulting in extended periods of time out of school, others have been home-schooled as a result of their high anxiety. 

“We are a school where attainment and achievement matter and we also recognise the fundamental importance of self-esteem, attachment, relationships and belonging.”