Building work signed off at new special school for young people with autism

The official date for the building work at The Cavendish School, a unique special school for young people with autism, has been set. Commencing on Monday 11 January 2021, The Cavendish School will be built on the south- east side of the existing Impington Village College campus, and will include the erection of one single-storey and one two-storey detached buildings. The layout and design of the school has been developed to meet the needs

of its students, to be conducive to learning and sensitive to the social and emotional demands of individuals. The new site will include calm sensory breakout rooms, as well as a horticultural room which will enrich the school’s vocational offering with opportunities for planting and growing. Breakout rooms will provide staff members and students with the appropriate space so they can feel supported and respected, regardless of any neurological or developmental differences. The corridors of the buildings will be wider than usual and will not contain

any dead-ends to help students navigate their way around the school more easily, without feeling trapped or claustrophobic. The presence of natural light, proven to be particularly beneficial to young people with autism, has also been factored into the design of the classrooms so that they are well-lit places for learning. Ryan Kelsall, Deputy CEO of Eastern Learning Alliance, of which The

Cavendish School is part of, said: “It’s incredibly exciting that we now have a date for the on-site building work to get started in preparation for the official launch of The Cavendish School in autumn 2021. One of our aims is to provide a safe, nurturing space, alongside inclusive and comprehensive support so that all of our students thrive. It is fantastic to see the first building blocks of that promise come to fruition.”

The Cavendish School will be the world’s first International Baccalaureate

special autism school and Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school for young people with autism. The school aspires to support students in its mission of ‘enabling the self’; equipping students with the skills, confidence and abilities to take their place in the world. Initially the school will admit around 40 students (Years 3 to 7) and will then grow, year on year, to a maximum capacity of 80 students, aged 7 to 19 years (Years 3 to 13). Kelsall continued: “Our hope is that young people with autism learn to

love and celebrate their differences – seeing them as bridges, not barriers. The Cavendish School and its unique building design has been developed in such a way to empower students in their journey of finding their own way in the world.”


Food for Life offers lockdown learning support for schools and parents with FREE membership

Following the announcement of a third national lockdown, the biggest national school healthy eating programme, Food for Life, is offering free membership to schools during lockdown and through until the Easter holidays. The primary aim is to support schools, parents and carers to effectively continue good food and growing education, particularly during this period of additional disruption during lockdown. Food for Life supports schools to get pupils eating healthy food and

reconnect them with where their food comes from. The ongoing pandemic has highlighted that now, more than ever, good health is key, and food has a crucial role to play. Food for Life strives to support schools in their good food and growing learning, encouraging positive food and health attitudes for life. Independent studies report that joining Food for Life has increased school

meal take up, attendance, increased confidence of staff and enriched their school curriculum. It could also help schools meet Ofsted criteria. Primary schools across the UK will now have free access to a range of

curriculum tools and materials, including Jamie Oliver Kitchen Garden Project resources, designed by experts to get children cooking, growing and eating amazing food that’s good for the planet too. These resources can be shared with parents who are home educating and will benefit children of key workers who are still attending school. According to Sophia Koniarska, Associate Director at Food for Life, “The

latest lockdown and subsequent closure of schools has hit at a time when energy and resource are low. We have heard some truly inspirational stories of teachers using innovative methods to teach safely with reduced numbers,

4 January 2021

whilst also supporting pupils learning with their families at home. “Here at Food for Life we are keen to support teachers and home learning

to incorporate good food education as much as possible. Never has it been more important for our younger generation to have an understanding of good food and where it comes from, embedding positive health habits and food enjoyment for life. We of course look forward to continue our support in classrooms and school dining rooms once lockdown has lifted.”


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