AUTISTIC pupils in South Gloucestershire will finally receive the education they deserve when a school specifically adapted to their needs opens its doors in Pilning this summer.

The Anderson School, run by the National Austistic Society (NAS), will welcome 20 boys and girls aged between ten and 16 years old from June.

More than an education centre, it will also act as an outreach hub in the region providing a support network for the families' of autistic youths.

Executive principal of the new NAS Anderson School and current principal of another school in North Devon Ben Higgins said: "We currently support several young people from Bristol at Broomhayes School, but education provision for young people with autism should ideally be provided in their local area as part of their own family community.

"We would like the new Pilning-based service to be a blueprint for the future of specialist schools; a blueprint based on working collaboratively with local parents, schools and services to provide expert autism-specific outreach support and with the aim of preventing placement breakdown in services across the wider region."

The NAS Anderson School, one of only six in the UK, will strive to help students, where possible and appropriate, return to mainstream education. Those who are not able to do so will remain at the institution for the rest of their secondary schooling.

The site, located at the centre of Pilning, used to house The Hayes Hospital, an NAS service for adults with Asperger Syndrome, complex behavioural difficulties and mental health issues. Yet, it was closed in 2008 due to financial constraints.

Pilning and Severn Beach Parish Council chairman Cllr Ian Roberts said: "As a community we are pleased that the National Autistic Society buildings in the centre of Pilning are being redeveloped.

"We hope the new education centre and outreach service for young people with autism in Bristol will bring employment opportunities to our community and new families to the area. We look forward to watching the progress of the new service over the coming months."

One in five children with autism has been excluded from mainstream education. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people.

For more information about the school contact the NAS on 0117 974 8430 or email