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Our Academies


About the new school…

SAIL (Salisbury Academy for Inspirational Learning) is a Special Education free school that has been proposed by Wiltshire local authority for sponsorship by Reach South Academy Trust (Reach South). This new Academy will be a free school that offers full time special education, care and therapeutic support to vulnerable children and young people with Education and Healthcare Plans. SAIL will be welcoming and working with a neuro diverse population of up to 150 children aged between 4-19 with a primary diagnosis of autism or a SEMH (social, emotional, mental health) profile.

To support the project, the Department for Education (DfE) is currently in the process of redeveloping a former educational site based on Wilton Road in Salisbury, with the aim of delivering it to Reach South by Spring 2024.

The premises will be converted to specifically meet the needs of its neuro diverse population. Meanwhile, the design of the building and SAIL’s curriculum will ensure that, where appropriate, pupils who are different ages or have different diagnosis are able to be educated and cared for separately. There will be different specialist environments within the buildings e.g. appropriate to the needs of 4-6 years olds (primary classrooms and play equipment) and post 16 pupils (‘life skills’ –independent areas) that ensure the curriculum meets the needs of different identified cohorts. The school will be effectively ‘zoned’ so that whilst all can have access to all areas, there is no unnecessary mixing of ages or populations and that all transitions are carefully managed to meet pupil need.

Reach South has been working in partnership with both the Department for Education and Wiltshire Council to ensure the new school is ready to open by September 2023. However, refurbishment of the permanent site encountered some unexpected delays following some surveys of the site. These revealed that further additional refurbishment works would be required, which ultimately delayed the planned opening by a few months. Therefore, to ensure sufficient spaces are available in the interim, the SAIL project team worked together to provide an alternative solution whereby SAIL will open as an entity in temporary accommodation at the sites of Pembroke Park Primary School and Sarum Academy (currently the site of Springfields South) until the permanent site is ready to open. Further details on how the temporary sites will intend to operate, will be made available in early 2023.

Once the permanent site has been completed and handed over to Reach South, children from the temporary sites will each commence their transition period [in accordance with their personal requirements] to move to the official SAIL school site on Wilton Road. Therefore, our intentions are to begin to transition to this site from January 2024.


SAIL will focus on ‘building safe independent lives’ for the autistic and SEMH population through a process of understanding, support and enablement. To achieve this goal the school will look at the unique impact autism and social, emotional and mental health experiences has on the individual child. From this it will aim as a school to personalise the child’s curriculum, care and therapeutic package to ensure every child achieves and experiences success and independence. This key intent is underpinned by a number of principles that:

  • Ensure that all children make progress.
  • Build and foster positive relationships with parents and carers.
  • Put pupil voice is at the heart of everything.
  • Support all children, so they trust and feel safe and secure.
  • Ensure every child succeeds as an independent learner.

Our curriculum…

SAIL acknowledges that autism and SEMH are an umbrella term for a range of pupil need. As a result, it is important that SAIL is clear on who it is for. All pupils will be admitted in line with the Code of Practice (2015). However, there are a number of key criteria that will inform the building of the school cohort. SAIL Academy will primarily cater for pupils aged 4-19 with a diagnosis of autism, or an SEMH presentation and:

  • Have academic potential to achieve a range of qualifications by the end of year 11, but on entry have difficulty in accessing the primary and secondary National Curriculum;
  • Present as having social, emotional and communication difficulties (autism) that result in learning needs;
  • Require structured additional support to develop social, emotional, and independence skills.
  • Require structured support for early childhood trauma, identified conduct diagnosis/disorder or have a mental health profile where the needs can be met in school.

In order to be admitted to SAIL, the pupil’s attainment in the areas of the National Curriculum, independence, self-management/regulation and organisational skills must comply with the following criteria;

  • For admission in EYFS pupils should have a diagnosis of autism or an SEMH presentation and be working at a minimum of 24 months at age 4 on the EYFS framework.
  • At the end of KS1 for admission into KS2, pupils should be working at the end of pre-key stage standards and accessing a curriculum that is differentiated for their presenting need.
  • At the end of KS2 for admissions into KS3, pupils should be functioning and attaining at Year 3 level in core subjects according to teacher assessed levels. Where entry is in Year 3, 4, 5 or 6 pupils should have the potential and capacity to achieve Stage 3 by the end of KS2 with autism or SEMH friendly enablement strategies.
  • At KS3 pupils must be able to access an academy curriculum that pitched at Stage -6 that is differentiated for pupils with autism or an SEMH presentation.
  • The placement of KS4 pupils needs to be considered separately from KS1, 2 and 3. Pupils will not be admitted in KS4 unless there is clear evidence that the pupil is compatible with the provision of efficient education.
  • A pupil will not be admitted to the Academy if they do not present as having a diagnosis that matches the Academy’s designation e.g. PMLD.

Additionally, pupil needs may cause them to require provision that may include:

  • Access to trained, specialist staff including SALT, OT, Educational Psychologist, and counselling.
  • A personalised curriculum
  • Individualised teaching based on need,
  • A structured school day,
  • Social communication support
  • Targeted social and emotional support,
  • An emotionally secure environment.

Please note, SAIL will unfortunately be unable to meet the needs of all learners who have a diagnosis or may present with following needs: (It is up to the Governing Body and Head teacher’s discretion to assess need and match to the Academy’s current provision/resources. The Academy must take reasonable steps to meet need where possible, Education Act 1996).

  • Complex medical needs
  • Eating disorders
  • Psychological disturbance
  • Low functioning autism
  • Complex Neurological disorders
  • Non-Verbal pupils
  • PMLD
  • SLD
  • Profoundly deaf or visually impaired
  • High Dependency – intimate care


For any further questions on the school or project progress, please feel free to contact the SAIL team on:

For queries regarding admissions, please liaise in the first instance with your local SEND Lead Worker for an application form and information. Thereafter, please feel free to contact the team for further details on:


Contact Us

Reach South Academy Trust, c/o UTC Plymouth, Park Avenue, Devonport, Plymouth, PL1 4RL

T: 01752 987060