Latest news

DfE approve plans for The Cavendish School

News release:  Wednesday 12 April
The Department for Education today announced that The Cavendish School is one of eight new free schools that have been approved to open in Cambridgeshire.  The new special school, which is being set up by the Morris Education Trust, is due to open on the site at Impington Village College in 2019.

The school has been approved to offer specialist provision for children with autism spectrum condition aged 9 to 19.  The Trust has been working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Local Authority from the outset to develop the proposals which will offer local children and families excellent state provision and to meet rising needs.  The Trust will partner with the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University to ensure leading edge research can support the school as it opens and grows.

Robert Campbell, CEO of the Morris Education Trust and Executive Principal at Impington Village College said: 

“This is wonderful news for the local area and for the families that the new school will serve. It was the Cambridge News who notably highlighted the need for specialist provision for children with autism. As soon as we started our work last year, it was clear there was real support there from the Local Authority, from other schools and especially from families whose children have the condition, which we were able to build on and use to develop our plans. The news today is a great tribute to those involved, the wonderful education professionals based here at Impington along with the parents who offered great insights into what might be needed for their children with autism spectrum condition. The phrase that we developed to sum up what The Cavendish School hopes to achieve is ‘Enabling the self’. We are one hugely important step closer to fulfilling that vision today.” 

Toby Young, Director of New Schools Network, said:

“The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous so it is a testament to the Morris Education Trust’s hard work that they have been approved to open. This is the largest ever cohort of free schools to be approved, a sign of this Government’s commitment to extending the benefits of the free schools policy to all parts of the country.

“This is a big day for free schools. With 800 either opened or approved to open, providing 400,000 places when full, free schools are now a permanent part of England’s educational landscape.” 

Interested parents can find out more at or contact

The Cavendish School proposal

In September 2016, after months of hard work, the Morris Education Trust formally submitted a free school application to the Government Department for Education (DfE).  The Cavendish School will be a special school dedicated to young people with autism spectrum condition (ASC). The school will serve families across Cambridgeshire, offering places for children with an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in Years 5 to 13.

Robert submits the application.jpg
Robert Campbell, Executive Principal

Comprising over 140 pages, the application to the DfE is detailed and authoritative.  We are very hopeful that it will be successful.  The process now includes several stages.  Firstly we expect to find out in 6-8 weeks whether our application has been shortlisted to progress.  If successful, at this stage we will be invited for interview at the DfE to present our case and to answer specific and detailed questions about our plans.  This should take place before Christmas and we will learn the outcome in early 2017.  If we are successful at this stage then the DfE will approve our application to progress to the pre-opening stage.  The Secretary of State will not confirm an opening date until an application is established in the pre-opening stage, but our ambition is to complete building works in time for the school to open in September 2018.

Thank you to all the colleagues, parents, young people and professionals who have contributed so far to help shape the vision for The Cavendish School.  We continue to need your input and support and will update you on progress as we move forward.  For more details please visit The Cavendish School website.