Ambitious about Autism to Open New College Campus in West London

Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism, has announced plans to open a new Ambitious College campus in West London in September 2017.

Ambitious College is London’s only registered specialist college dedicated specifically to supporting young people with complex autism for adult life. This new West London campus is being developed in partnership with West Thames College at Isleworth in Hounslow. The partnership will allow learners with autism to access learning, employment, social and leisure opportunities.

This latest announcement is part of the charity’s plans to provide more specialist further education provision to help young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. It follows the announcement last month (September) of a new Ambitious College campus in North London, opening in July 2016 in partnership with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Ambitious about Autism’s vision is to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism. By September 2017 the charity will have two Ambitious College campuses in London (Haringey and Hounslow) together with its ‘outstanding’ TreeHouse School in Muswell Hill.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said, “Every young person has the right to access the education they need to have a promising future. Young people with autism are no different. This partnership with West Thames College will provide a vast array of learning opportunities for our students as well as social and leisure opportunities through the outstanding facilities available on the Isleworth campus which make it one of the best campuses in London”.

“We also work with parents and carers to help them gain the knowledge and confidence to support their children through further education into adult life”.

Marjorie Semple, Principal of West Thames College said, “We are delighted to be working with Ambitious about Autism on this exciting new development at our Isleworth campus. The combination of vocational experience and employability skills we give to our students helps them to find a relevant job and overcome the barriers they face. We are also ambitious about autism, and together we will be working to create an autism-confident environment for all our learners, parents and staff”

The new West London site will be named the Pears Campus. Trevor Pears CMG said “We are delighted to be providing the lead gift for the Ambitious College campuses, which will improve opportunities for young people with autism across London to fulfil their true potential.”

All young people at Ambitious College access tailored study programmes which enable them to move towards their goals of independence, employment, better health and community inclusion. Skills such as communication, literacy, numeracy and ICT are also part of the College’s specialised curriculum.

Partnership working and co-location with mainstream colleges provides learners with the opportunity to access vocational learning and social opportunities alongside their peers and join mainstream classes and activities wherever possible. Learners benefit from a dedicated and specialist team of teaching and health professionals.

I was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism from 2011 – 2014, and I continue to take a strong interest in autism provision in Swindon and know many families who, like my own, are dealing with autism and what it means. This is fantastic news for the charity and for children and young people with autism.