The Anderson School in Chigwell was opened in September 2017 by charity the National Autistic Society (NAS). It said it would offer a specialist environment for 50 secondary pupils with high-functioning autism, to get GCSEs.
Councils in east London and Essex pay the NAS £42,000 a year for every pupil, rising to around £75,000 with ‘extras’ such as one-to-one teaching and therapy.It would probably be cheaper to send them to Eton!
But up to 20 youngsters, many of whom have nowhere else to go, have been removed or pulled out by parents in two years amid a catalogue of allegations.
In November 2019 Ofsted conducted an emergency inspection and found The Anderson School was failing to meet crucial standards.Shocker! What do the councils have to say?
A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “The council has placed one pupil at the Anderson School and we do not intend to place any more pupils there, unless concerns raised by Ofsted are addressed to their satisfaction.
“The cost for the child there is approx. £58,000. Officers have been in regular contact with the child’s parents, both by telephone and in person.”Hmmm... so what's the issue?
Parents who spoke to the Recorder claimed police were being repeatedly called to the site to deal with disturbances.
Youngsters with autism have been able to escape into Luxborough Lane, parents said, where a bridge passes over the M11, and also to climb onto the roof of the purpose-built site. They also claimed students have also been locked in rooms for hours by allegedly untrained staff for their own safety, and abandoned on school trips, including at Fairlop Water.
Two students have attempted suicide since September 2017. In both cases their parents claimed their experiences at the school had made things worse.Ah. One for the Charity Commission to investigate as well, I think?