22nd October 2020 • My Family Our Needs

The world’s first International Baccalaureate special autism school to open in Cambridge.

The Cavendish School will be based in Impington and will open Autumn 2021. It will also be Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school provision for young people with autism.

The school will initially take up to 40 students in years 3 to 7. This will rise to a maximum capacity of 80 students from Year 3 to 13. It will also be accessible and available to those the current state provision does not cater for.

Celebrating diversity

Ryan Kelsall, Deputy CEO of The Learning Alliance – a new multi-academy trust of which The Cavendish School is a member – said:

“The Cavendish School will celebrate diversity and accept, respect and recognise neurological and developmental differences to support each individual student through a differentiated programme that builds and focuses on their skills. Through the knowledge and expertise of The Learning Alliance, The Cavendish School will deliver exemplary education provision for students with Educational Health Care Plans.”

The Cavendish School

The first of its kind

The Cavendish School will be an IB World School. Therefore, it will follow the IB programmes and accredited qualifications, alongside specific therapies or interventions as appropriate for individuals. The IB equips students with the skills, confidence and lifelong learning needed to thrive and make a difference. Each of the programme frameworks allows teachers to personalise learning to the unique abilities of their students.

“Through our IB offering, we will provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to become globally aware citizens, achieve a range of accredited qualifications and make measurable progress towards their own personal outcomes.” Leah Cooper, Assistant Principal for SEND/PP and SENCo at the co-located Impington Village College, currently seconded to The Cavendish School.

Removing barriers to inclusion


At the heart of The Cavendish School will be relationships. Furthermore, the important ways in which they can support the growth of each student. The team has drawn on the latest research into autism. It has also used its expertise in education and experience of working with young people with autism and their families. Beyond high-quality teaching, therapeutic support will be offered, so that all students have full access to the curriculum, to learn and to achieve. The school will offer students the opportunity for multidisciplinary support, which will be carefully matched to their needs.

“The Cavendish School aspires to remove the barriers to inclusion and achievement that many young people with autism face in their education. We’ve built on the best of current provision and the very latest research throughout the design and planning stages. The Cavendish School is set to have a transformative impact, giving its pupils an educational environment in which they will thrive.”

Julie Bailey, Chair of Governors at The Cavendish School and doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education within the University of Cambridge.

Keep up to date with the schools progress and find out more here