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ASC Centre

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July 2022 - Click here

Autism Schools Project & Bedford Open Door

Autism Schools Project


Mark Rutherford School is committed to raising the achievement of students by providing access to the opportunities and resources they need to succeed. We take a holistic approach to working with our SEND and disadvantaged students with the aim of raising achievement for all. All students are encouraged, motivated and inspired to do their best by staff.

If you would like any further information please call 01234 290200.



At Mark Rutherford School, regardless of Special Educational Need and/or Disability (SEND) we:

  1. Provide high quality provision for students who may have additional needs in any of the following:
    1. Cognition and Learning
    2. Communication and Interaction
    3. Emotional, social and mental health
    4. Physical and Sensory
  2. Have high expectations and aspirations for all students.
  3. Ensure that students learn and interact in a caring, happy, safe and secure environment.
  4. Make every effort to ensure equality of educational access and opportunity.
  5. Provide maximum opportunity to develop and reach individual potential academically, socially and personally.
  6. Encourage every student to develop their skills of communication.
  7. Challenge students to become as independent as possible.
  8. Have a clear focus on improving outcomes for students.
  9. The views and participation of students, family/carers are fundamental.
  10. Listen to, and involve students, family/carers and other professionals in decision making.
  11. Understand the importance of friendships and encourage respectful, trusting relationships throughout the school.
  12. Facilitate the inclusion of all students, including those with Special Educational Need and/or Disability in the school curriculum, sports and activities such as visits and residential trips.
  13. Empower students to be an individual.
  14. Publish information about the school's policies for the identification, assessment and provision for all students.

We would like to work closely with families to be able to shape support to individual students. If you have any queries or concerns please contact the SENCo Mrs J Strong on 01234 290200 or

Please click here to view the Provision Map

Please click here to view the SEND Information Report


The Nightingale ASC Centre

The Nightingale ASC Centre is a mainstream provision for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan which states autism as their primary need.

"The school is a very tolerant and inclusive community. The Nightingale Centre, for pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is well integrated into the life of the school."
Ofsted, March 2020.

We believe it is vital for students to achieve their full potential and importance is placed upon achievement at all levels.

The ASC Centre is a calm, nurturing and positive environment for students to access which supports their daily organisation and the teaching of life and social skills. Students are fully integrated into the school community and supported by trained and experienced staff.

"The work of the specialist unit for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is outstanding."
Ofsted, November 2012.

The ASC Centre provides a range of interventions and a multidisciplinary approach to meeting student needs. Whilst we are a TEACCH provision, no single approach is taken when supporting our students as we believe individual needs can only be met through a range of approaches including the SPELL framework and Social Stories.

The ASC Centre has developed a holistic approach; working in partnership with parents and carers, outside agencies and other schools. The provision balances achievement for all with student well-being whilst keeping the student's best interests at the heart of what we do.

"The school's resource unit for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder continues to offer high quality provision for a small number of pupils, some of whom are in the sixth form. These pupils receive individually tailored programmes of work, some of which lead to formal qualifications and some of which are designed to prepare them for their next steps."
Ofsted, March 2016.

Please note, ASC Centre places are allocated by Bedford Borough SEND Team and not by Mark Rutherford School. However, we welcome visits by appointment only outside of the usual school day.

For further information, please contact:

Mr M Gibbs
Head of ASC Provision


Young Carers

A young or sibling carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps look after or is affected by a relative who has a long-term illness, disability, mental health condition, or a drug or alcohol dependency. Most young carers look after one of their parents or care for a brother or sister.

The responsibilities that young carers have at home vary greatly. At Mark Rutherford, we want to ensure that all our young carers receive the support they need to succeed at school. In order to achieve this, the following interventions have been put into place:

  • The named person in school, responsible for young carers, meets with them once a term, individually to discuss their progress, any issues they have and possible solutions
  • There is a breakfast drop-in once a fortnight for identified young carers and anyone interested in finding out more about young carers
  • All young carers are given a timeout card, which identifies the named person in school responsible for young carers, a reminder of the breakfast drop-in and an email address enabling contact with the identified named person

We also work very closely with the young carer's team at Carers in Bedfordshire - a charity organisation which offers support to young people who help to care for a family member. They offer a range of clubs, residential trips, one to one support and bursaries. The Young Carer's team work with families to agree an individualised plan to ensure they get the support that suits their needs. For further information about this organisation, please see the links below.


Young Adult Carers and Further Education

If you are aged 16-25 and have a caring responsibility, you are considered to be a 'young adult carer'. There are approximately 375,000 young adult carers in the UK, all facing different challenges and responsibilities. If you provide regular care and support to a family member, partner or friend, you may be eligible to access additional support while studying. Below are just two of the many charities providing support, information and advice to young adult carers.

The Carers Trust offers support to those who give unpaid care to a family member or friend - find out more at

If someone in your family has a life-threatening illness, Hope Support Services can help. Visit their website to find out more or watch their video to find out how to contact them.

You might be interested in watching Ben's story.


Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: