New SRP Consultation 

Consultation on the proposal to add a 30 Place Specialist Resourced Provision for Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at Folkestone Academy


The Turner Schools Trust in conjunction with Kent County Council (KCC) would like to hear your views on a proposal to open a 30 place Specialist Resource Provision (SRP) for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at Folkestone Academy from September 2024.

What is a Specialist Resourced Provision?

Some pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) need specialist support over and above that which is provided by their mainstream school utilising High Needs Funding. For these pupils a place in a special school or an SRP is required. 

An SRP is a provision within a mainstream school which has dedicated teaching spaces alongside specialist resources and staff. SRPs are led by staff that have the appropriate experience and specialist qualifications needed to support pupils, in this case pupils with ASD. The pupils integrate into mainstream classes when they are able to do so, and into other aspects of mainstream school life whenever possible. This enables pupils within the SRP to benefit from mainstream education alongside their peers, in their local community, whilst receiving specialist support and having a designated space when they need it.

Reasons for the proposal

The Local Authority is responsible for maintaining Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) for children and young people between the ages of 0-25 years. As of January 2023, resident in Kent there were 18,930 children and young people with an EHCP. This was an increase of 3,649 since January 2021. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the primary need type for 8,003 of these children and young people and remains the most common need in the County. 

In Folkestone and Hythe 549 children and young people had an EHCP with ASD as the primary need (as of January 2023), an increase of 101 from January 2021. Of these 160 pupils were secondary aged, of whom 29 were attending a mainstream school, 16 an SRP within a mainstream school, 80 were on a special school role and 34 an independent special school.

On average, secondary aged pupils with an EHCP were travelling 8.6 miles to access a school place. For pupils who have ASD as their primary need this increased to 10.4 miles. Travelling such distances is not in the best interest of the pupils. More local provision would reduce journeys and enable more pupils with an EHCP for ASD to go to school where they live.

There is a 24 place secondary school SRP in the District at The Marsh Academy in New Romney. As of November 2024 there are 20 pupils on roll. However, this is around 14 miles from the centre of Folkestone. The next closest is at The North School, Ashford (15 miles from Folkestone). This inevitably means that those residents in Folkestone Town, seeking specialist ASD provision in a mainstream secondary school SRP have long distances to travel to access such a provision.

The Proposal

The proposal is that KCC will commission up to 30 places within the SRP for secondary aged children with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) for ASD at The Folkestone Academy.

Initially, the commissioned number of places for 2024/25 will be six year 7 places.

Folkestone Academy is a Good school, with Outstanding leadership and management. In their most recent report, OFSTED highlighted Folkestone Academy as an “inclusive and vibrant school”, where leaders “are extremely ambitious for pupils”. Leaders were also described as “unwavering in their determination to ensure that pupils are provided with the very best education, particularly disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.”

Inspectors also commented that “pupils with SEND achieve well because staff use thoughtfully constructed education plans to support pupils effectively.” In June 2023, Folkestone Academy was assessed as a Centre of Excellence under the Inclusion Quality Mark framework. The IQM report described Folkestone Academy as “an exceptional example of an inclusive secondary school” in which “the values of inclusion are at the forefront of the school’s moral purpose”. Particular strengths were identified including the “caring community” of the school and the “very committed, highly skilled staff at all levels''. Transition arrangements for pupils, support for pupils’ mental health and in the school’s personal development programme were all praised.

Turner Schools’ mission is to transform children’s futures, empower families and strengthen communities. As an essential element of the Turner Schools Trust, Folkestone Academy is committed to improve the educational and social outcomes for the young people it serves. The school believes that it is their purpose to discover and nurture the talent of every pupil, developing them to become confident, ambitious and successful in achieving their goals.

Across the Trust, there is a wealth of experience and expertise in supporting pupils with SEND. Moreover, there are already 3 open SRPs within our Trust schools. The Trust’s Senior Director of SEND is based at Folkestone Academy, and supported by the Trust Director of Inclusion. There is a strong team in place of specialist support staff, who are experienced in delivering a wide range of suitable interventions. This team includes a number of specialist ASD learning mentors. Furthermore, Folkestone Academy also leads on the Autism Fast Responder programme for the Trust, a service which provides rapid, bespoke support as necessary.

The Turner Schools Trust will convert an existing building to provide for the SRP. This will allow for five classrooms, care facilities, a toilet, a meeting/intervention room and an office. This will be for the sole use of the SRP.

The SRP will be a safe space for the students, providing them with a consistent ‘home’ to access the support of the SRP staff and a place where they can spend recreation time should they so wish.

We believe that the SRP will develop the present staff body enabling them to support not just the pupils within the SRP, but pupils across the school who may have ASD characteristics to a lesser extent. By including children with ASD, other pupils will learn to appreciate the needs of others in the tolerant and caring community of Folkestone Academy.

In bringing forward this proposal all parties believe that opening an SRP for ASD pupils will:

Admissions to the SRP will count within the Academy’s published admissions number. The Academy currently offers 210 places each year for entry in Year 7.

How will pupils gain a place in the SRP?

To access a place within an SRP, young people must have an EHCP which identifies that their needs can be met in an SRP within a mainstream school. Admissions to the SRP will be determined by the Local Authority in consultation with the Academy Leadership Team. Pupils presently attending this school who may benefit from being taught in the SRP will be assessed in the same way. This would be in consultation with parents.


It is estimated that capital funding of c£200,000 will be required to set up the SRP. Revenue funding for ASD SRPs is c£19,000 per place. Both revenue and capital costs would be provided by the Local Authority if the proposal is approved.

How to find out more and give your views on the proposal.

You can find out more by attending a public drop in meeting at Folkestone Academy on Thursday 14th December between 9:45 am and 11:45 am.


The table below sets out what happens next:

Monday 27th November to Monday 8th January

Consultation period. Responses need to be received by 4 pm on

Thursday 14th December 

A ‘drop in’ information session will be held at Folkestone Academy.

Wednesday 10th January

Following the consultation, all views received, either by post or email will be reported to the Trust who will decide whether or not to

submit a business case to the DfE. Should the decision be to continue, this will be shared with KCC’s Children’s, Young People

and Education Cabinet Committee who will be requested to approve the funding to open the SRP.

Tuesday 16th January 2024

KCC Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee meeting where funding for the SRP will be requested.

September 2024 

Opening of the SRP, subject to Secretary of State approval.

You can give your views by: