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Medway Autism Group and Information Centre (Magic) hope to set up a school for children and teens with autism in Medway

A charity hopes to open a specialist school for children and teenagers with autism.

Medway Autism Group and Information Centre (Magic) is working with the Department for Education to set up a school for pupils aged five to 19 with autism and other challenging behaviours.

Magic already runs a tuition centre designed for children aged five to 18 but the charity believes more provision is needed in the Towns to educate children with complex needs.

Children working at Magic's tuition centre
Children working at Magic's tuition centre

Jackie Pierce, operations manager at Magic, said: “It has been highlighted to us that there is a lack of long-term provision for some of the children in the area with more complex autism spectrum disorder needs so Magic has decided to open a school.”

The school will offer students a personalised curriculum tailored to their individual needs to make sure they are able to progress academically, socially and emotionally.

But Magic must first prove to the Department for Education (DfE) it has the expertise and ability to run a school. It is working on their application.

The process has been given a boost after Magic was awarded a place on the New Schools Network’s development programme. The charity helps groups, who hope to open free schools, during their application.

Nick Timothy, New Schools Network’s director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Magic School on to our development programme and we look forward to working with them as they develop their plans in more detail and work with their local community to gather support for their proposed new school.”

Gayna Simmonds, chief executive of Magic
Gayna Simmonds, chief executive of Magic

The application has to be submitted by the end of September and it is hoped the DfE will announce its decision in January.

If the school is given the go- ahead, it would be up to the government to agree on a suitable location in the Medway area.

Magic has been providing support for children and their parents for more than a decade. The charity was created by mum-of-two Gayna Simmons after she realised her own children needed more support.

Magic is holding an open day at its headquarters at Bradbury House, View Road, Cliffe Woods, on Monday, August 29, between noon to 4pm. All welcome.

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