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Plans for a new free school announced

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A group of dedicated parents that all have children on the Autism Spectrum and are in the early stages of applying to set up a free school in the Swale, specifically aimed at high functioning children on the autism spectrum.

Sarah Aldridge who is a founder member of the group behind the ‘Aspire Free School’ project explained that the group has been in existence for several years now and with the help of many parents and volunteers they are now at the stage where they are hoping to open the school for the September 2015 intake. 

Sarah Aldridge said "The school will endeavour to take children from ages 4 - 16 initially with the hope of extending this to 19 years of age at a later date. The group aims to cater for children both with and without a Statement of SEN."
“We plan to use a holistic approach placing equal importance on the emotional, social and academic development of each child. We will place a great importance on the sensory needs of the children, working to keep anxiety low and children happy, so that everyone can reach their full potential and flourish in life.” 
The group are also already running a very successful parents group locally, with meetings at the Vineyard Sittingbourne and sessions at The Orchards in Milton. A support group can be found on Facebook ( Friends of Aspire ) where we post details of meet ups and parents can share tips and advice with each other.

Sarah Aldridge, also told us that there is currently only one other school in Kent dedicated to high functioning children on the autism spectrum and therefore the schools intake would encompass much of Kent. 
Whilst the group has now established that there is a demand for this type of provision locally, they would still like to hear from parents or carers who would like to help support the application, which can be done via a short survey which you can find here 
If you can assist in any other capacity the group would also love to hear from you and there is a contact form on their website or you can email
For further information you can also visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.


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