Project Gets Underway For A Special School

The Rise School for children with autism plans 2014 opening


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A group of parents have come together to set up a Special Free School in west London which they hope will open in September 2014 to cater for students with autism.

The group of parents and educators plans to situate The Rise School within a mainstream secondary school and to offer small classes of eight children taught by qualified teachers. The school would cater for children and young adults aged from 4-19. They are currently seeking a suitable venue, which could be anywhere in west London, including Chiswick.

It is hoped that the children from The Rise School would be supported to take part in lessons in the partner mainstream school some of the time.

Charlotte Warner and her son Alex

One of the organisers, Charlotte Warner, said that the school was designed to help pupils go on to lead independent and fulfilling adult lives. Her seven year old son Alex, is autistic.

She says;,"My son is bright, friendly and capable - how can it be right for him or for society that he ends up living in a residential home, unemployed?  The average cost of supporting one person with high functioning autism is over £3m.  This is a terrible waste of human life and potential."

It is believed that 85% of adults with autism are not in paid employment and the group organising the school wants to ensure that their children have the opportunity to get jobs. Autism is a lifelong disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with other people.  One in a hundred people have an autism spectrum disorder, meaning that half a million people in the UK are affected.

She said the model for the school is genuinely innovative, and would offer an academically challenging curriculum, therapeutic support and mainstream co-location. The school is designed to help pupils go on to lead independent and fulfilling adult lives.  85% of students should leave to go on to higher and further education, employment or training.

The Rise School is sponsored by two leading national charitable organisations in the field of autism.  Ambitious about Autism runs TreeHouse, a school with Ofsted rated Outstanding status, and Ambitious Support, a college-based programme in north London for young people with autism. Dimensions supports 3,000 people with autism and with learning disabilities to live and work in their own communities. 

The School is the response of a group of parents and educators who believe it is unacceptable that 85% of adults with autism are not in paid employment.  With the right intervention, therapies and support, people with autism can make extraordinary progress in tackling their barriers to learning and living in mainstream society, they say.

A public meeting will be held for those interested in The Rise School project on April 25th in the Parish Hall, St Michael and All Angels, Priory Avenue (corner of Woodstock Road) Chiswick W4 1TX

Doors open at 7pm, for refreshments and a presentation by members of the team.

Another meeting will be held in Richmond on May 21st. 

For more information, or to register and interest in the School, please visit or call 07435 345996.

April 21, 2013

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