The ASC Base at Budmouth supports twelve, 11-16 year-old autistic students who live in Dorset.  Students are timetabled  in mainstream lessons and return to the base for some interventions, such as social skills and literacy support, as well as using it for a place to spend social time in school. All students in our Base have additional, conditions to ASC, such as ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome. All require considerable levels of support and care to thrive, and many have navigated a difficult route through education prior to coming to us. We like to form a partnership with each parent or carer, and welcome regular contact to keep families informed of each student’s progress.

Student needs are met by addressing each  individually with a bespoke package of support:

  • The use of in-class support with our Base TAs
  • 1:1 sessions for mentoring 
  • Social Skills groups with Speech and Language Therapist input
  • The provision of a controlled environment during non-lesson times.


Admission is via the Local Authority Admissions Panel, which meets three times every year, and is convened by a Principal Education Officer at County Hall. Potential candidates for admission are presented to the panel by the Educational Psychology service. Parents may request that their child be referred to the Panel, by contacting their Education Psychologist or SEND Caseworker. Budmouth staff do not grant admission to the Base; normal admission policies and procedures do not apply.  

The following criteria must be met:

  • Students must have an EHCP
  • Students  must be a Dorset resident
  • Evidence exists of  a pattern of behaviour which shows that the student is unable to access the curriculum without substantial in-class support and their behaviour is likely to have a negative effect on the learning of their peers
  • Age Related Expectations for academic progress are not being met
  • There is a vacant space in the Base

Autistic students who are successful in gaining a place will either have other conditions, or they have demonstrated patterns of behaviour which makes inclusion into a mainstream environment  extremely difficult without the expertise we can provide.

Budmouth has a long history of the successful inclusion of autistic members of our community; as well as the twelve students in our  Base, there are many other autistic students in the Academy being supported in various different ways.


We intend for each of the students in the Base to be:

  • valued as an individual
  • happy
  • confident
  • interactive
  • successful
  • reflective
  • independent

The Base is a place of safety for vulnerable children, but we do not shield children from the real world of the classroom. Most of our students spend up to 90% of their time there,  following their timetable in the main body of the Academy.


The Base is managed by Mrs Toni Kirlew who leads seven Teaching Assistants in her team to support our students in classrooms. Each student is supported according to their specific curriculum needs, with the aim of providing optimal support in the classroom.

We recognise the importance of increasing independence in our students, so we look for places in the curriculum where they are able to ‘do it for themselves’. We celebrate times when, as students mature and grow in confidence, they are able to expand the lessons that they attend without Teacher Assistant support. We all have tricky days, and in the Base we are able to respond quickly should any of the students need extra help. The staff in our Base meet daily to ensure liaison takes place regarding the students in our care so that any issues are picked up early and appropriate support can be put in place. Our Teaching Assistants are skilled at recognising changes in our students and will take the necessary steps to make sure that all students are safe and supported.


If you would like to arrange a visit during school hours, please contact Sally Emms, Vice Principal, in the first instance:

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