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ARC - Autism Resource Centre

ARC - Key Stage 3 & 4

What is the entry criteria?

  • Age range KS3 and KS4
  • Receiving provision through an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • The need of additional specialised support to enable students to achieve their outcomes, above and beyond that which can be provided by high quality differentiated teaching and reasonable adjustments in a mainstream setting.
  • A diagnosis of or similar presentation to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Students meeting any of the following criteria may require an ERS Placement if high quality differentiated teaching and reasonable adjustments are unable to remove the barriers to learning and the student needs additional specialised support.

The student regularly exhibits anxiety levels such that they become too upset to cope in a mainstream classroom and need a safe place to recover. All interventions and programmes to reduce anxiety in the mainstream Academy have been utilised and the impact has been minimal.

  • Specific or general areas of difficulty which fall below the level usual in a mainstream school.  For example, normal ability but comprehension skills such that tuition or supported tuition in a mainstream classroom still presents significant conceptual difficulties that inhibit progress.
  • Inability to cope with certain curricular areas due to sensory processing difficulties, such that the student cannot remain in the room despite support or reasonable adjustments.
  • The requirement for a curriculum to be taught in a different way, such as the requirement for additional teaching within the ERS from mainstream teachers in specialist subject areas to augment classroom work.
  • Specific interventions required that could not be undertaken in a mainstream classroom. This might include direct, regular teaching of social communication skills.

What would prevent my child from getting an ARC place?

Students meeting any of the following criteria may need placement in a special school:

  • Cognitive ability levels that do not allow the student to access the mainstream curriculum
  • The requirement for an alternative curriculum
  • Behaviour that requires restraint or restrictive premises
  • Patterns of behaviour that show no social awareness and are not modifying or unlikely to do so, for example, uncontrolled pica, overt sexual behaviour or obsessional behaviour that disables learning.
  • Severe communication needs, needing more than reasonable adjustments to the school environment. 

How much time would my child spend in the ARC?

Timetables are differentiated according to the needs of the student and on occasions it is necessary to spend some time in the ARC.  As the criteria above states, all ARC students are expected to be able to access mainstream lessons, but there will be certain interventions that are undertaken in the ARC.  Other sessions, for example: homework, timeout and reward time, will also be in the ARC.

How much support will my child receive?

The support is tailored to individual needs and can be provided in a number of ways. There will be some TA support in addition to access to a quiet working space, sensory room, access arrangements and some support with catch up work.

ARC classes consist of very small groups of around four students with one TA and/or teacher.

The ARC is available for students to use at break and lunchtimes to eat their lunch, mix with their peers and do specific activities, for example board games, playing computer games and using the Wii.

Students are encouraged to access other mainstream lunchtime activities, as appropriate.

What facilities can the ARC offer?

The ARC space is split into three main teaching areas, one for KS3, one for KS4 and a teaching space for students with more complex needs and further need for a more individualised timetable.

There are specially adapted rooms which meet the needs of ASD students, withdrawal spaces, work stations, visual support and toilets

There is a sensory room with equipment. An interactive whiteboard is available as well as laptops.

What is the ethos of the ARC?

Our staff:

  • Value every young person as an individual.
  • Provide a safe, secure and positive environment.
  • Take a holistic approach to the young person’s education and development.
  • Provide a motivating school day.
  • Encourage learning through participation, enjoyment and success.
  • Develop enquiring minds by providing meaningful learning opportunities.
  • Encourage our young people to communicate with confidence.
  • Promote effective and supportive relationships with parents and carers.
  • Strive to be a centre of excellence in the field of autism.

What programmes do the students in the ARC follow?

Students in the ARC follow the KS3 and KS4 curriculum, working towards their GCSEs in core subjects and subject options. In addition, to their options at KS4 they have the opportunity to study for Functional Skills, Entry Level and AQA unit awards.  In addition to the above students have sessions in Social Skills during Years 7 to 9 and then Life Skills in Year 10 and Year 11.

Key stage 4 students also receive support for independent travel training and work experience as appropriate.

Social Skills sessions cover the following:

  • 5 point scale.
  • How other people think about behaviour differently.
  • Examples of things that can accidentally get you in trouble with the law.
  • How stress or feeling anxious can make it hard to think straight/make good decisions.
  • Recognising difficult situations.
  • How to better understand confusing/social encounters.
  • Facial expression and body language.
  • Understanding complex and lengthy instructions.
  • Understanding idioms, irony, jokes and sarcasm.
  • Fitting behaviour to situations.
  • Resistance to change.
  • Obsessive/particular interests.
  • Sensory differences.

Life Skills sessions cover the following:

  • Independence.
  • Confidence.
  • Social skills.
  • Travel/volunteer work/map reading/shopping/road safety and team work.


How can I be sure that my child’s needs can be met in the ARC?

Please come to visit and bring your child to talk with our students and staff.
Telephone: 01283 216837 to speak to a member of staff or arrange a visit.