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Impington Village College

The Cavendish School

Impington Village College is submitting an application to establish a special free school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition (ASC). The Cavendish School will provide a highly specialised environment for up to 70 young people age 9 to 19 (Year 5 – 13) with ASC. The school will aspire to remove limitations, celebrating neurodiversity by supporting and guiding students as individuals.

Why is there need for the new school?

At the moment Cambridgeshire County Council has to place over 70 young people age 9 -19 with autism in independent or ‘out-of-county’ provision. The Government has invited applications to open new free schools before the next deadline of September 2016. With an excellent track record for supporting children with a range of special education and complex needs, IVC is in a good position to respond to the need for a new dedicated school in Cambridgeshire.

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 a separate school run independently of IVC and will receive dedicated funding.

When and where is this happening?

The process for establishing a new school is incredibly rigorous and initially involves an in-depth application to the Department for Education before the deadline in September 2016. If the application is approved the proposal will move on to the next stage of development with the ultimate aim of opening in September 2018. It is proposed that The Cavendish School will be located in a dedicated new building on the College grounds.

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 ASC can pursue their ambitions as Henry did.

How can you find out more?

There will be a special launch event at Impington Village College on Friday 24 June, 7pm. To find out more, to join our mailing list or to book tickets for the launch please visit