Education provider Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust will run the borough’s new special school in Chessington.

The Department for Education made the announcement in July and the Trust was chosen following a rigorous and competitive application and interview process. Currently, they run one highly-regarded special free school, The Rise School in Hounslow, plus a non-maintained special school and a specialist post-16 college, all meeting the needs of children and/or young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The free school for children and young people with ASD is expected to open by 2023 at the Moor Lane Centre site in Chessington, subject to Kingston Council making a formal decision to lease part of the site for that purpose, and will eventually accommodate up to 90 pupils aged four to 19.

Cllr Diane White, Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services including Education, said: “This is exciting news! I know from the Achieving for Children officers who took part in the DfE’s selection and interview process that they were very impressed by Ambitious About Autism’s plans and desire to make this school a truly exceptional beacon of excellence within our borough.

“As it will be Autism-specific, the school will fill a major gap in our local provision and will help to ensure that as many of our local children and young people as possible can be educated within the borough and within their home community.

“I am sure that Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust will be warmly welcomed into our local family of schools and they can count on the council and Achieving for Children to do all we can to assist them in making the school an outstanding success.”

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism Schools Trusts, said: “Our mission is to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism. To do this we develop and run innovative and high-quality specialist education provision that enables autistic pupils to learn, thrive and achieve their potential in adulthood.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the partner for the development of the Kingston special free school and we’re really looking forward to working together with local commissioners, young people, parents and carers and the whole community to create a wonderful new learning environment where autistic young people can reach their academic potential, strive for independence and lead rich and fulfilling lives.”