The Cavendish School proposal update
Hello and welcome to the first newsletter update regarding The Cavendish School proposal 

Thank you for expressing interest in The Cavendish School, the proposed new school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition (ASC).  
We have been overwhelmed with the positivity and feedback received from prospective parents and professionals who work with young people. What is clear is that new provision for young people with ASC in Cambridgeshire is desperately needed, and that you have strong views and ideas about what it should look like. We continue to need your input, thoughts and encouragement to help shape plans.  Please do forward this to friends and colleagues who you think may wish to contribute.
Drop in sessions
On Tuesday 19 July there will be informal drop-in sessions for parents of young people with ASC. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and to share your thoughts and experiences. (There is no need to attend the whole session - you can just drop in at a time to suit you.)

Tuesday 19 July, 2 – 3.30pm or 7.30 – 9pm
Carnegie Room at Impington Village College.  Please go to the main school reception on arrival.

Application update 
The working group is busy completing the in-depth application which must be submitted to the central government Department for Education in September.  We have submitted a draft of the detailed education plan for guidance from the New Schools Network who is supporting the application.  On Monday we received feedback which was very encouraging, but inevitably has resulted in suggestions of areas to be developed and improved.  The feedback we receive from you is also being incorporated into the proposal to help shape plans.  We need to hear your stories and experiences as they will inform the curriculum for the new school. 

Once the proposal is submitted in September we will then wait to hear if it has been successful before we can move on to the next stage of development.  The ultimate aim is to open the new school in new premises in September 2018.    

Who is involved?
The application is being developed by a working group with a range of different skills and experiences:
  • Robert Campbell – Executive Principal, Impington Village College
  • Sharonne Horlock – SENCO, Impington Village College
  • Jenni Ramos – Parent of young person with ASC
  • Fran Difranco – Director of Business and Administration, Impington Village College
The proposal is also informed by input from:
  • Parents of current and prospective students
  • Young people and adults with ASC
  • Professional agencies and individuals currently working with young people in Cambridgeshire
  • Adrian Loades - Executive Director: Children, Families and Adults Services, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • New Schools Network

Help us shape the proposal

The feedback we receive from you is crucial in helping to shape the proposal.  We encourage you to ask questions via our website, and in each newsletter we will ask for your input on a specific question.  Please click below to answer this week’s question:
What therapeutic approaches would you like to see in a new school for young people with ASC?
Our first public event to introduce the new school proposal took place on 24 June and was attended by over 100 people. The evening included a performance of Living with Luke, an original piece of theatre which charts the relationship between a dad and his son with autistic spectrum condition. The play is based on blogs of Danson Thunderbolt, and we thank Steve and Debbie Hannam for sharing their story with us.  The play represents the experience of one family, and we invite other families to share their thoughts so that they can help to inform plans.
Q & A

You can ask questions onli
ne via our website .  Here are some answers to questions recently asked:

Question:  What age children will be able to attend the school?
Answer:  Once The Cavednish School is established it will welcome young people from age 9 to age 19 (school Year 5 to Year 13). In the first year, 2018, students will only be admitted for Years 5, 6 and 7 and in Year 12. In each subsequent year, we will admit ‘upwards’ (thus the Year 7s from 2018 become the Year 8s of 2019 and so on) to develop and grow the culture of the school successfully.  
If you have a child with ASC who may be interested in attending then please let us know. 
Question:  What level of individual need does the school plan to accept as the autistic spectrum is very broad?
Answer:  There is no black and white answer to this question as each young person is an individual with a unique set of needs, strengths and interests. When a parent expresses interest we would start an investigatory process to learn about their child. The aim is to establish whether The Cavendish School would be right for each individual, and whether the school can meet their needs within the cohort of students.  Each student who attends The Cavendish School will have a bespoke programme of learning that is tailored to their own needs and interests. On offer will be an eclectic range of therapies and learning opportunities designed to support and challenge them as an individual.
Question:  Will the school cater for girls as well as boys?

Answer:  The Cavendish School will cater for both girls and boys whose primary need is autism.  The presentation of ASC is girls can be very different from boys. Many of the diagnostic systems and stereotypes of ASC are based on males, so there are likely to be many girls with ASC in schools whose needs are not identified or understood. Our challenge is to develop a programme which responds to gender-related ASC differences.  Sharonne Horlock, who sits on the National ASC and Girls Forum, is drawing on the latest research and thinking to inform plans.

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The Cavendish School · Impington Village College · New Road · Impington, Cambridgeshire CB24 9LX · United Kingdom

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