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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust

Q: What is the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust?

The Ambitous about Autism Autism Schools Trust (AST) is a multi-academy trust that supports the development of new special schools to enable children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. It was previously known as the Autism Schools Trust. It is a charity and company limited by guarantee.

Our vision is for social and academic inclusion from as early an age as possible for our pupils. Our schools are designed to be inspirational and transformational, with a broad and challenging curriculum in an environment oof high expectations and close individual focus. 

The AST is led by an experienced team of people passionate about enabling education to transform the life chances of children and young people with autism. With the right levels of support and challenge at school, we know they can go on to make a successful transition to adult life. 

Q: Why was the Trust established?

The AST was established to support the development of new special schools to enable children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. 

Q: Who set up the Trust?

The AST was established in December 2012 as a ground-breaking collaboration between Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions, two national non-profit organisations with an excellent track record in autism provision. It was previously known as the Autism Schools Trust. 

In 2017 the AST Board made the deciion to transfer the support services provided by Dimensions to Ambitious about Autism and for Ambitious about Autism to become the sole organisational member of the AST.

Dimensions continues to support the AST with the transition of pupils into employment and housing beyond school. 

Q: How many AST schools are there?

The Rise School is the first school set-up by the AST in September 2014. It is a dedicated to educating pupils with autism aged 4 to 18 years old. The Rise School is located in West London on the same campus as the Springwest Academy, a thriving secondary mainstream school. Pupils attending The Rise School access the national curriculum at approximately age-appropriate levels. 

The AST is working with local authorities and local groups who share our commitment to developing high-quality, evidence-based schools for children with autism.

Q: Does the AST have any plans to open further schools?

We welcome the opportunity to discuss new opportunities with parent groups, schools and local authorities. 

Q: How is the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust governed?

The  AST is governed by a Board of Trustees. Trustees have the range of skills, experience and perspectives needed to govern the organisation. The board includes parents of pupils from the AST's school. 

Q: Who funds the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust?

The AST is funded via a combination of fee income (from the Education Funding Agency and Local Authorities) and voluntary income. Ambitious about Autism provides support to the AST. It has extensive experience of securing support from statutory, trust, corporate and community sources.

Q: Will the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust make a profit from its schools?

No. There are very strict rules about the governance and finances of free schools. Ambitious about Autism is a charitable organisations that do not make a profit.

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