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August 2019



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NASAT Trustee members visiting the Vanguard School construction site - group photo

Our new Vanguard School in Lambeth is one step closer to opening after the Department for Education signed the school’s funding agreement last week. With construction on the building going well, as seen by trustees of the NAS Academies Trust on a visit last week, the Lollard Street School is all set to open in January 2020!

This is a huge moment for us, the local council and all the parents who’ve been working together to make the school a reality.

The free school is being purpose-built for children and young people from Lambeth and surrounding boroughs who are on the autism spectrum and looking to go on to further education and employment. It will eventually cater for up to 78 students, aged between 11 and 19. It will grow gradually, with a phased intake of students, starting with years 7 and 8.

As well as high-quality learning facilities, the two-storey building (which was designed by Pozzoni Architecture and built by Galliford Try) will also contain a multi-use hall, which will be shared with the local community out-of-hours. The building will also contain a kitchen, storage spaces, and community break-out areas.

Its development reflects the local authority’s recognition of the need for more specialist education provision in the borough, especially for students who can access a mainstream curriculum. It will help autistic children get the education they need closer to home, reducing the numbers having to travel to schools outside the borough and giving parents more choice.

Although every autistic child is different, many can become overwhelmed in school environments by bright lights, loud noises or the unpredictable behaviour of other children. Some children on the autism spectrum are able to excel in mainstream schools with limited help, while others require more specialist support, like that offered by our Vanguard School. Without the right support and understanding, it can be almost impossible to learn and can even lead to children missing out on an education altogether.

Fleur Bothwick, Chair of Vanguard School Governors and NAS Academies Trust Board Trustee, said: “For me and other parents in the borough, this has been a long journey, with a great outcome. Bringing the expertise of the National Autistic Society in to our borough will be life changing for many children and young people on the autism spectrum and for their families. It will also benefit the local community, other schools, services and employers.”

We are so grateful to the National Autistic Society and the Department of Education for sharing our vision and turning it in to a reality.

Kirstie Fulthorpe, Managing Director for the NAS Academies Trust, said: “This is a huge moment for our charity, the local council and, especially, all the parents who’ve been working hard to make the school a reality.”

We’re very much looking forward to working together to realise the high ambitions we have for our school – and to giving local autistic children the best possible chance in life.

To find out more about the National Autistic Society’s Vanguard School and to sign up for updates on the school’s development, visit their website here.

Visit Vanguard School


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