A YEAR 11 pupil at the Dean Academy says he is “really proud” of the school’s provision for people with autism after staff and students took part in a series of activities to raise awareness and funds for a leading support charity.

The school teamed up with Tesco in Lydney to host a cake sale for the National Autistic Society, which provides support and guidance for autistic people and their families, as part of World Autism Acceptance Week at the end of March.

Year 11 student Maddox Tippins has received help from the school’s EPIC centre, which provides extra assistance for interaction and communication, and wanted to help raise funds for the charity.

He contacted Lydney Tesco, who generously donated doughnuts for the cake sale.

Maddox, who is the community and inclusion leader on the school’s student leadership team said: “What makes The Dean Academy special is that EPIC has been able to help me succeed in school.

“The EPIC unit is the only one of its kind in Gloucestershire, and it is something I am really proud to be a part of.

“The provisions here mean a lot as it has benefited me both inside and outside of the school community.”

Mrs Gemma Turley, who works at the centre said: “We are extremely proud and privileged to be the only local secondary school to have provision in place for students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“Without the support of the National Autistic Society this type of provision may never have been developed.

“It is also a testament to our school, by the understanding and care shown, that our students thrive both academically and personally, allowing them to achieve their goals and thrive in society.”

World Autism Acceptance Week ran from March 28 to April 3.

Gemma explained: “The main point of World Autism Acceptance week is to have fun and raise awareness.

“As the past couple of weeks have demonstrated, being supportive can have a massive impact and can transform lives and change attitudes.

“To think that 60 years ago, autistic people were not fully understood with hardly any in mainstream education, is so far apart from where we are today.”