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Special Educational Needs and Disability

Tollgate is one of six resourced schools in the borough, focusing on delivering a specific educational programme for children identified with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). We are also proud to have gained Accreditation from the National Autistic Society.

Tollgate Primary School has 14 places for children with ASC. These children are part of their class and additional curriculum activities specific to the child’s needs are offered by a specialist team. Children work 1:1, in small groups and whole class. They are able to access the national curriculum whilst their Individual Education Plan (IEP) addresses their specific areas of differences.

We believe

All children have the right to access the same opportunities as their peers and benefit from the modelling that takes place in a mainstream setting.

What we do

We aim to include children appropriately according to their level of need. We adopt all three types of inclusion across the school day where applicable:

  • Locational- those children with ASD are educated within regular classes with their typically developing peers.
  • Social inclusion - that children are included in the social aspects of the School day e.g. playtimes, assemblies and the dining area. Supported children also play alongside their classmates in the soft playroom and during co-operative games.
  • Functional inclusion - that supported children will work with their peers in their classes and be involved in the activities set out for the class.
  • We provide staff that is well trained to meet the exceptional needs of these children.
  • We provide structure to support the children with organising and making sense of their day. Clear structures reduce anxiety when the world can seem very confusing and unpredictable.
  • We provide a variety of learning environments to address their very specific learning needs.

We adopt a multidisciplinary approach that is informed by the principles of SCERTS and TEACCH. We specifically focus on the idea that:Developing your child’s functional and spontaneous communication is the highest priority.

Learning at school and home works best when it is developmentally appropriate, meaningful, and purposeful.

The people around the child and the environment have a significant impact on the child’s communication and learning

Learning and relationship building takes place best in natural routines at home, at school and in the community.

All behaviour should be seen as having a purpose.  We need to try to work out the reason for the behaviour and support him or her to develop more appropriate behaviour for that purpose.

We use a variety of interventions to support our children; PEC’s, Proloquo2Go, Sign along, Colourful Semantics, Intensive Interaction, Attention Autism, Music Interaction, Sensory Integration, Life Skills and Lego Therapy. We have developed a specific curriculum that is underpinned by these approaches.


There are currently 14 places for children from Reception to Year 6.

Parents and professionals are welcome to visit the school to see the specialist provision on offer. 

Parents can notify the Education Authority that they would like a place. However children are not put on a waiting list or given places on first come first served basis. 

Placements are the decision of the Special Needs Advisory Panel. This panel is comprised of staff from resourced schools, LCIS and officers of the authority including EP's. 

When a child is given a place, the authority will notify parents and the teacher responsible will make contact with pre-school/nursery in order to set up a transition programme. 

If you would like further information about the resources at Tollgate please speak to a member of staff.

If you would like further information about Autism or Asperger Syndrome please visit the National Autistic Society website.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, flexibility in thinking and sensory processing. This means that children with autism can have trouble understanding what people are saying and the emotions displayed. Sometimes the environment around a child can have a significant impact on their ability to focus and learn effectively.

It is useful to remember that

  • Nobody knows exactly why autism happens.
  • People with autism don’t always understand what is happening around them.
  • Language and sounds can become confused.
  • Sometimes people with autism will repeat a sound or behaviour over and over.
  • People with autism find it hard to make eye contact and may avoid looking at you.

At Tollgate we

  • Remember that children with autism are different and part of our community. We don’t laugh at them or play games which are upsetting.
  • We help children by being kind and trying to understand and communicate clearly and simply.
  • Make sure that all children are invited to join in our games even if sometimes we have to change our game to make them welcome.
  • Ask adults for support if we are unsure what to do in any situation.