Thames Valley Free School for autistic pupils planned

A free school for children with autism and Asperger syndrome is set to open in Berkshire.

The Thames Valley Free School, which is sponsored by the National Autistic Society (NAS), is scheduled to open in Reading in September 2013.

The school, which was approved by the Department of Education in July, will serve 50 pupils aged 5 to 16 from the Thames Valley region.

A six-week public consultation on the plans runs until 15 January 2013.

'Community links'

Fiona Veitch, the school's principal, said: "A key aspect of the new school will be that it will aim to work in partnership with mainstream schools and colleges in the areas where pupils are from.

"They will have the opportunity to attend classes, activities and events at those schools or colleges, if and when this is appropriate for them."

Ms Veitch added the school wanted pupils to "maintain their links with their communities".

The NAS and Reading Borough Council are finalising plans for the site of the school.

An open evening about the school will be held on 3 December 2012 in the Waterhouse Chamber of Reading Town Hall.

Free schools are set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, businesses, universities, trusts, religious or voluntary groups, but funded directly by central government.

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