Autism Support Centre

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that is characterised by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with people, as well as using language in abstract concepts, and interpreting non-verbal communication.  This means that children with autism often find it difficult to understand the emotions being displayed by others and also what is being verbalised.

Autism Support Centre

Merrylands Primary School and Nursery is one of eight schools in Essex which has an Autism Support Centre (ASC), supporting children with a diagnosis of autism to access the mainstream curriculum. The provision works together with the mainstream school to unlock potential.  We uphold the values of respect and a positive attitude for all.

Merrylands ASC has eight places for children with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and a diagnosis of autism.  Although these children are part of a class; additional curriculum activities specific to the child’s needs are offered by the ASC team. The children in the ASC are expected to be able to access the National Curriculum whilst ensuring their Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) needs is met.  The ratio of staff to children in the ASC is 5:8, so children do not receive 1:1 support at all times which enables them to develop independent skills.  The ASC staff support the children both in the centre and, at times, in the classroom.  The ideal long-term successful outcome is for the children to be independent within the mainstream classroom as we believe all children have the right to access the same opportunities as their peers.

At Merrylands we

  • ensure that children with autism are part of the school community

  • help children by being understanding and communicate effectively

  • inspire all children to join in and adapt approaches where necessary

  • encourage children to ask adults for support if they need help

What we do

  • aim to include children appropriately according to their needs

  • location children accessing the ASC will be educated in regular classes within the cohort

  • social inclusion children accessing the ASC will be included in all social aspects of the school day, such as playtimes, lunchtimes, and school clubs

  • functional inclusion supported children will work with their peers in their classes and be involved in the activities set out for the class

  • staff are experienced and well trained to meet the needs of the children

  • provide clear structures that ensure the children accessing the ASC are prepared for the day, thus reducing anxiety

  • offer a variety of learning environments to address a child’s needs

  • implement a variety of approaches and interventions to suit the individual child’s learning styles


  • parents and professionals are welcome to visit the school to see the ASC

  • parents can notify the Education Authority that they would like a place, however, children are not put on a waiting list or offered a place on a first come first served basis

  • placements are the decision of the Statutory Assessment Team

  • when a child is considered for a place, the local authority will notify parents and the ASC lead teacher will make contact to arrange a visit

If you would like further information about the ASC, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs L. Walter at Merrylands Primary School and Nursery 01268 417893, or the Statutory Assessment Service 03300 134736.

Autism Support Centre

Contact : Mrs L Walter at Merrylands Primary School and Nursery
Tel: 01268 417893


The Statutory Assessment Service
Tel: 03300 134736