Council chiefs deny plans to close autism unit for children

Council chiefs have moved to combat claims that a specialist unit for autistic children in South Tyneside is set for closure.
Fellgate Autistic Unit, Jarrow.Fellgate Autistic Unit, Jarrow.
Fellgate Autistic Unit, Jarrow.

Fears have been raised over the future of the Fellgate Autistic Unit in Jarrow – with some parents fearing it could close because the building is in need of a major revamp.

Rumours have been circulating that the unit, which provides specialist education for children aged between three and 11 diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, could closure because of maintenance issues.

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South Tyneside Council chiefs have moved to reassure parents.

A council spokeswoman said: “I want to reassure concerned parents that Fellgate Autistic Unit remains open.

“We are committed to providing this high quality specialist education for children in the borough and will fully consult with parents if any changes are proposed in the future.”

She added: “As with many school buildings of that age there is an ongoing need for maintenance repairs.

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“However, this does not affect the delivery of specialist education at the autism unit.”

The unit, which is attached to the primary school in Oxford Way, provides personalised learning through taking into account their social and emotional needs. The unit also provides speech and language specialists.

One parent, who did no wish to be named said: “The rumours started circulating last year but then everything went quiet.

“Now they’ve started again.

“To hear the rumours that it is closing is worrying for the parents as our children are settled at the unit and are doing well.

“We’d hate for that to change.”