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Fir Tree School

Fir Tree School

Fir Tree celebrate as AS Unit officially opens

Fir Tree School in Newbury celebrated the  official opening of their new Autistic Spectrum (AS) Unit yesterday (4 December). 

West Berkshire Council provided the £712, 000 state of the art space which has two classrooms, a therapy room, a calm room, a sensory room, shower, toilet and a kitchen/ social space.

The AS unit also has a dedicated outdoor area and further improvement to the main external play areas and increased parking space.

It caters for children from across West Berkshire with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) with Autism as their primary need. Admission is through the Council’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) Assessment Team and the SEN Panel.

There is a dedicated team of specialist staff consisting of a Teacher in Charge and two Teaching Assistants. As the unit fills up to its maximum capacity of twelve, the staff team will grow.

In addition, the project has provided a new Year 2 classroom, staff work room and new head teacher’s office. Further internal remodelling has made way for a DDA compliant toilet, new medical room, new staff PPA room and small group’s rooms. 

Lynne Doherty, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Education said:

“The AS Unit is a wonderful facility. It offers children with autism the support they need to access the curriculum within a mainstream school. It provides everything they need for their personal and educational development and is a safe haven from which they can flourish.”

Natasha Purcell, Associate Headteacher at Fir tree School said:

“We are delighted with our new AS Unit. At Fir tree we believe in teaching the whole child. We ensure that children have the 'Freedom to Flourish' through our creative curriculum which challenges everyone to think, learn, believe and achieve. We celebrate the increasing diversity which the AS unit brings to of our community and take pride in providing a happy, secure and nurturing environment in which all our children thrive.”

To find out more about the AS Unit email Michelle Pearse, Head of AS Unit, at