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(UK) Essex: Autism school to close; "severely autistic children" left with "no suitable place"

June 5, 2020, Epping Forest Guardian: Anderson School parents plea for Essex County Council's help https://www.eppingforestguardian.co.uk/news/18499015.anderson-school-parents-plea-essex-county-councils-help/ Parents with severely autistic children are calling on Essex County Council (ECC) to step in after a charity suddenly pulled the plug on a school for autistic children. The National Autistic Society, which was handed the keys to Anderson School in September 2017, announced in April it was closing in the face of “very challenging circumstances”, including prolems with recruitment and retention of staff. Ofsted rated the £15million [$19M US] school, that was built on the former Spurs training ground in Chigwell, as ‘inadequate’ in April and the charity believes it could take years to bring the school up to the appropriate level.... …. The purpose-built school opened in 2017, funded by the Anderson Foundation and run by the National Autistic Society. ... The NAS’ decision has left around 50 students with no suitable school place for the next school year. ... A statement from the school’s chief executive, Caroline Stevens, in April said: “Despite putting in a lot of energy and expertise to try to improve the school, we have sadly not been able to turn the situation around.  We know it could take years to bring the school up to the level we expect, and that would simply not be fair on our students, their families or carers. “So, we have taken the very difficult decision to close the school at the end of the summer term, in July. This is never a decision that I would want to make, but I believe it is the right decision for our students’ long-term education and wellbeing.” Mr Forrest added: “The parents got told at the same time as the council. “And they are being very cagey about the reasons for closing – they say it would take too long to bring it up to the standard the children deserve, but instead they don’t have a school at all. “What’s worse not having a great education or no education at all? “That why most of us parents don’t believe that as a storyline.”…