Free School
For ASC pupils


With the closure of PATCHAM HOUSE school there will be no provision for young people aged 11-16 with high functioning autistic spectrum conditions.  Mainstream education is unsuitable for most young people on the autistic spectrum, many of whom require quiet and structured environments.  Many young people who attend mainstream schools are subsequently excluded and sent to Pupil Referral Units.

Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s) rarely enable young people to achieve their full academic potential as only 15 hours of education is provided and the full range of subjects available to secondary school students is not offered.  Young people who are high functioning on the autistic spectrum are very capable of achieving not only GCSE’s but AS and A levels and Degrees and other higher level qualifications. We propose to set up a FREE SPECIAL School or schools, within the city limits of Brighton and Hove, for young people aged 7-19 with autistic spectrum conditions and complex needs including medical, speech and language, and communication needs.  A key of the school(s) feature will be the emphasis placed on ensuring that young people become socially adept and achieve their full academic potential.  We will strive to ensure that young people are prepared for further and higher education and vocational training according to their interests, aptitudes and abilities.  It will be necessary to decide whether to have one school that caters for young people aged7 – 19, perhaps split into three age range departments.  Alternatively it may be more appropriate to have 2 or 3 schools on the same site that meet the needs of the different age ranges and offer progression. Brighton and Hove is one of a few local authorities that do not provide specialist provision for high functioning young persons with autistic spectrum conditions.  Many young people are either sent to schools out of area or attend mainstream school.  Although Brighton and Hove meet the transport costs of travelling out of area, the additional time travelling increases the school day and limits the amount of time for other activities and sports.  It is also very difficult for young people to make and maintain friendships if their classmates live a long distance away. The money spent on transport costs would be better spent on providing places at specialist schools that meet the needs of young people with high functioning autism. We propose to hold a public meeting regularly for all interested parents and educationalists in order to consider the feasibility of setting up a FREE school or schools that meet the specialist need of our young people.

For any more information please email terri.oatley@yahoo.co.uk