Frequently Asked Questions about the Autism Schools Trust
The Autism Schools Trust (AST) aims to create inspirational schools that use evidence-based approaches to enable children with autism to learn and succeed.
The AST is sponsored by two organisations, Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions - both not-for-profit organisations with a wealth of experience in supporting children and adults with autism. The AST formed in December 2012 to support the set up of its first school, The Rise School.
Ambitious about Autism brings strong expertise and a track record in education and Dimensions brings extensive experience in enabling young people with autism to make a successful transition to adult life and work as part of their community.
Our Vision is for a world in which children and young people with autism live, work and thrive as part of communities that are ready to receive them.
Our Mission is to support inspirational and evidence-based schools in preparing children and young people with autism for adult life.
Q: Who set up the Autism Schools Trust?
The Autism Schools Trust is a ground-breaking collaboration between Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions, two national not-for-profit organisations with an excellent track record in supporting people with autism.
Ambitious about Autism
Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. It provides services, raises awareness and understanding, and campaigns for change.
Through TreeHouse School and Ambitious College, the charity offers specialist education and support.
Ambitious about Autism’s mission is to help children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve.
Dimensions is a specialist provider of a wide range of services for people with learning disabilities and people who experience autism. It is a not-for-profit organisation, supporting around 3,500 people and their families throughout England and Wales.
Dimensions has been providing support packages for families for almost 40 years. It offers a range of support services to children and adults of all ages, including those with complex needs or challenging behaviour.
Dimensions enables people to be part of their community and make their own choices and decisions about their lives.
Q: How many AST schools are there?
The Rise School will open in September 2014 in Hounslow, West London. The Autism School Trust is working with local authorities and local groups who share our commitment to developing high-quality, evidence-based schools for children with autism.
Q: This is the first multi-academy trust sponsored jointly by two autism organisations: Why have the two organisations got together?
Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions both support young people with autism to make a successful transition to adult life in their home communities.
Ambitious about Autism brings expertise and a track record in education; Dimensions has experience in enabling young people with autism to make a successful transition to adult life and employment.
The Autism Schools Trust draws on the expertise of both organisations, enabling us to support children and young people with autism through education and to make a successful transition to adult life.
Q: How is the Autism Schools Trust governed?
The Autism Schools Trust 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 Trust's school.
Q: Who funds the Autism Schools Trust?
Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions established and provide support to the Autism Schools Trust. Both organisations have extensive experience of securing support from statutory, trust, corporate and community sources.
Q: Will the Autism Schools Trust make a profit from its schools?
No. There are very strict rules about the governance and finances of free schools. Also, both Ambitious about Autism and Dimensions are charitable organisations that do not make a profit.