£1m autism school axed after supporting just two kids in five years

Arran house

Linda Fabiani MSP with Daldorch House's Shona Pinkerton and Arran House manager Fiona Bain in 2012.

​School closed due to lack of demand 

28th February 2017 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

A £1 million school for autistic children has been closed after it emerged it served just two pupils over the last five years.

Arran House in East Kilbride was a satellite of Dalroch House in Ayrshire run by the National Autism Society Scotland and was equipped to host dozens of children with additional support needs when it first opened in 2011.

It was originally pitched as a 52-week residential and day-specialist school for families who had autistic children in the South Lanarkshire area.

Although the council-owned building was described as state-of-the-art and a much needed resource when it was first opened, it has now been abandoned after failing to attract enough residents.

The two children have been moved to Daldorch House.  

Bernadette Casey, principal at The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “In March 2016 we told South Lanarkshire Council that we would not be renewing our contract to deliver education and care services at Arran House when it came to an end in January 2017.

“This was not an easy decision, but in the five years that we worked at Arran House the school was never at full capacity, and since 2011 it has only supported two young people.

“As a charity, we have a responsibility to use our resources effectively to provide high-quality support where it is needed.

“There simply wasn’t enough demand for the school in South Lanarkshire.”

She added: “The two young people have now made a smooth transition to Daldorch House which is our residential school in East Ayrshire,” added the principal.

“Many staff from Arran House moved with them, giving our pupils stability in the education and care they receive.”

An estimated 50,000 people in Scotland have autism and nearly 1,000 with the condition are thought to live within East Kilbride.

Anne Donaldson, South Lanarkshire Council’s head of inclusion, said: “Arran house is owned by the council and operated as a satellite base for Daldorch House, an independent residential school in Ayrshire which is managed by the National Autistic Society.

“As the two young people who used the facility are now beyond school age, they have made the transition to alternative provision.

“As a result Arran House was closed in December 2016.”

16th August 2018 by George McCann

Well yet another kick in the face for families with autistic children, South Lanarkshire Council is nothing but a Council that likes to bully families. I lodged an official complaint against Anne Donaldson and this complaint was passed to Anne Donaldson to investigate, so far 2 years later no reply. My autistic son was lost whilst at school and Anne Donaldson refuses to investigate, we have had to fight and fight and fight to get nowhere. We have been trying to get our son into a NAT run school since May 2016 and at no point was this school mentioned, so how can they provide places for children when the school was never offered as an option to parents? When it comes to the next elections people need to NOT VOTE until this corrupt Council has sacked all it’s arrogant incompetent managers and stops the culture of hiring “friends” into management positions who have absolute no clue about the job, it’s not the job of parents to educate Inclusion managers on how to do their job.

16th August 2018 by George McCann

I would like to add to my previous comments: when my son went into primary 1 we were told we had 2 weeks to respond to the autistic provision and they could not guarantee another provision as they had to refuse another 80 children. How can they refuse these other 80 children when there was an empty school.