The Morris Education Trust has submitted an application to the DfE to establish a special free school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition (ASC).  The Cavendish School will provide a highly specialised environment for up to 70 young people age 9 to 19 (Year 5 – 13) with ASC.  

UPDATE 12 April 2017:  At 8.15am this morning we heard news from the DfE that our application has been approved to move to the pre-opening stage.  We are of course delighted with the news.  There is much work to be done now in developing the plans with the aim of opening in September 2019.  We continue to need the support and experience of prospective parents and the wider community to ensure The Cavendish School is developed in the best way possible.  Please join the mailing list to keep up to date, and watch this space for news as we progress.


Please download Introducing The Cavendish School booklet 

When and where is this happening?

The process for establishing a new school is incredibly rigorous and initially involves an in-depth application to the Department for Education (DfE) which we submitted  in September 2016.  The DfE announced on 12 April that our application has been approved to move onto the next stage of development.  The original ambition was to open the school for new students in September 2018, but it looks likely that this will be delayed until September 2019 due to restrictions in place with the Education Funding Agency.  The plans now move to the pre-opening phase which is a lengthy process which will involve more engagement with parents, prospective students and stakeholders.

Why is there need for the new school?

At the moment Cambridgeshire County Council has to place over 70 young people age 9 -19 with autism in independent or ‘out-of-county’ provision.  With an excellent track record for supporting children with a range of special education and complex needs, Impington Village College is in a good position to respond to the need for a new dedicated school in Cambridgeshire.  (Impington Village College is part of the Morris Education Trust who submitted the application).

What is a special free school?

Free schools are new, state-funded schools that are independent of Local Authority control and set up in areas with demonstrable need.  Special free schools are free schools that provide specialist, full-time education for pupils with a specific SEN, either with or without a statement or EHC Plan or EHC Plan. Once open, free schools have the same legal status as academies and are funded and held accountable in the same ways.  The Cavendish School will have its own Headteacher and be inspected separately by Ofsted.

How will it be funded?

The Cavendish School will be part of the Morris Education Trust.  It will be a separate school run independently of Impington Village College and will receive dedicated funding.

What will it be like to be a student at The Cavendish School?

Children with autism have the same aspirations as ‘neuro-typical’ children including a need to communicate, a desire for friendships and meaningful relationships, being employed in purposeful activities, being independent and to be happy.  The Cavendish School will support every student as an individual to develop and flourish to the best of their ability, academically, socially, emotionally and personally.  At the heart of the school will be relationships and their importance in supporting the growth of each young person.   There will be a bespoke curriculum that reflects the needs and interests of each individual, and a programme of opportunities including extra-curricular which is centred around each student.

Where does the name come from?

Henry Cavendish was a distinguished British natural philosopher and scientist of the 18th century.  Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called inflammable air.  He was known for great accuracy and precision in his research, and it is thought he was on the autism spectrum.  The Cavendish School has been named to remind us that anyone with ASC can pursue their ambitions as Henry did.

How can you get involved?

We want to reach out to prospective parents and the wider community for input to support the development of the new school proposal.  If you would like to keep in touch and contribute your thoughts please add your details to our mailing list.