Plans approved for new specialist autism school in Chessington

Kingston Council’s plans for a new specialist school for autistic children in the borough have taken a major step forward with approval at Planning Committee (26 May).

The council is committed to enabling children with special educational needs and disabilities to learn in the borough. Spring School will provide places for up to 90 local autistic children and young people aged four to 19, and will be built on part of the council-owned Moor Lane Centre site in Chessington.

The new special free school will be run by charity Ambitious about Autism and its schools trust.

Cllr Steph Archer, Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services including Education, said:
“We’re committed to ensuring children with special educational needs and disabilities can learn in the heart of our community. We have long hoped to have an autism-specialist school within the borough, so this is fantastic news.

“We look forward to working with Ambitious about Autism to make Spring School the outstanding special school that we and local families all want to see.”

The opening date for Spring School is yet to be finalised and it is hoped that a decision on whether it will open in September 2023 or September 2024 can be reached and publicised to parents and carers of prospective pupils before the summer holidays start this July.

Construction costs will be fully met by the Department for Education (DfE).

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive  of Ambitious about Autism, said: “Spring School will support autistic children and young people to be themselves and realise their ambitions.

“Using our Ambitious Approach to education, the school will provide a holistic curriculum with a significant focus on wellbeing, social and academic development. Pupils will be supported to achieve a wide range of accreditation, including GCSEs and opportunities to experience work-related programmes.

“We are keen to share our expertise in supporting autistic children and young people by offering autism training and advice to other education settings across the borough, so we can work towards an inclusive community for all autistic pupils in the area.”