The Morris Education Trust has been approved to open a special free school dedicated to children with autism. The Cavendish School will provide a highly specialised environment for up to 80 children aged 7 to 19 (Year 3 – 13).

When and where is this happening?

The process for establishing a new school is incredibly rigorous and initially involved an in-depth application to the Department for Education (DfE) which we submitted in September 2016. The DfE announced on 12 April 2017 that our application was approved to move onto the next stage of development. The original ambition was to open the school for new students in September 2018, however due to significant site and planning issues and restrictions with the Education Funding and Skills Agency (ESFA) this has been delayed.

We are delighted to confirm that our opening date for TCS will now be September 2021. This will be a two phase project with part of the original buildings on the existing Impington Village College site being refurbished and a new school building being added to the site.  We will share updates as we make progress with the project.

Why is there need for the new school?

At the moment Cambridgeshire County Council has to place over 80 young people age 7 -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 autism 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.