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New funding to help autistic pupils 'prepare for adulthood'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A school for children with a diagnosis of autism (ASD) is to receive millions in funding for a new sixth form for its students, the only one of its kind in Hackney.

The Garden School in Stoke Newington, which has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted twice and hosts 150 students, has been vocal about the need for a post-16 provision for the borough for years.

Now Hackney Council has approved just over £1.5m in central government grant money to fund a feasibility study and future expansion of a new site for the sixth form, with the Garden to put up £500,000 for the remaining investment.

A Garden School spokesperson said: “It’s early days, but it obviously is really exciting news for our parents in particular, because there is no specialist post-16 provision for students with a diagnosis of autism like this in the borough, and we’ve been requesting it for four or five years.

“All indicators are that we will get this post-16 provision, as the council seems to be onside as well. Because it’s on another site, we’ll be able to develop a lot more focus on preparation for adulthood.

“What we want to do is set them up for the next stage of their life, and see how we can move them into the community and find supportive settings and placements."

The sixth form new site would prevent students having to leave their community for their education.