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  • New school for children with severe autism is given green light by Government – Gazette

New school for children with severe autism is given green light by Government – Gazette

Thursday, 13 April, 2017

New school for children with severe autism is given green light by Government – Gazette

THE Government has given the go-ahead for a new school dedicated to children with severe autism.

The Chatten Free School is one of 131 new schools which will be built nationwide.

The backing from the Department for Education, which was announced yesterday, is the largest wave of free schools to be released in this Parliament.

The Chatten Free School will be part of the Market Field Learning Community and will be named after a former student at Market Field School, Brad Chatten.

Brad, who has autism, learning difficulties, sensory processing disorder and challenging behaviour. was a student at the special school in Elmstead Market for six years.

However, when he reached 16, Brad had to move to a residential school in Rutland , 125 miles away from home, as there were no appropriate post-16 school places any closer.

Now the Government has agreed for a new 65-place school to be built caring for children with extreme autism.

Gary Smith, head teacher at Market Field School, said: “We have been trying to get this for about ten years.

“It will mean children with extreme autism no longer have to go outside the county and won’t have to move away from home. We will name it in Brad’s honour.”

The new school will be built in Witham and will serve children with extreme autism from across north Essex.

Mr Smith said Essex County Council would secure a site and said he was hopeful the new school could be built and ready for use by September next year.

Brad’s father, Nick, said the family was honoured the new school would be named after him.

He said: “It is quite an emotional position.

“It highlights the fact we could not find a school here in Essex for Brad when he reached 16. It recognises there are not enough places in the system for youngsters like Brad.

“It is also exciting. There will be 65 more school places for severely autistic children who will no longer have to go outside the county.

“It means other parents won’t have to go through the angst of searching out alternatives and children won’t have to leave their families.”

The Chatten family have to undertake a five hour round trip when they visit Brad at weekends.

However, Mr Chatten said Brad’s welfare had to come first and he has settled down well in his new school.

He said: “The distance is difficult but at the end of the day Brad has the care with specialist provision to ensure he is safe and his skills are being developed.

“The team at Market Field is so strong and they will be able to support this type of development.

“It is good there will be this sort of provision in Essex now.”


Source: New school for children with severe autism is given green light by Government - Gazette

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