By Craig Hingston

A uniquely designed school for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or intellectual delay is being built at Dural.

New Hope School will feature a “village community” layout to accommodate up to 72 students. The Principal, Dr Ted Boyce, said, “They are cottage type buildings so that the students feel at home and a sense of peace.”

“Ever since New Hope School commenced in 2015 we knew that the current buildings would not be our permanent home”, added the New Hope School Director, Dianne Dowson, “These new buildings will allow us to grow to meet the needs of more families. They will include therapy rooms, withdrawal rooms, kitchen facilities and staff areas. Future stages will include an assembly room, sensory room, technology rooms and a library. Of course, the buildings are not what creates the character of a school. New Hope School is a unique and special place already and we are known for the care that we provide to our students.”

Dr Tina Lamont, Assistant Principal, originally came up with the concept for these highly specialised campuses.

“Our schools commenced 41 years ago integrating children with learning disabilities into mainstream schooling. We seek to integrate children who are atypical because my view is that children who are highly gifted in areas of learning need just as much special care and nurture as children with special needs. We want all of our students individually to be cared for in special ways. The reason for the commencement of the Hope Schools was that we have received grace, kindness and compassion from God, and we want to show that to the families and students who have these needs. That has been a very important element behind what we do and why we do it.”

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