Capella House, a new free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities, will open in Twickenham thanks to Richmond Council.

The school (formerly to be called ‘Maaz’) was proposed by the Auriga Academy Trust in September 2016 and approved by the then Secretary of State for Education in May 2017. It will provide 72 places for children and young people aged four to 19 with special educational needs. The pupils will have speech, language and communication as their primary need and may also have associated social, emotional and mental health needs and/or autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).

Since then, however, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has been unable to secure a suitable site which could accommodate the whole school. The Council has therefore stepped in and offered them two sites in Twickenham for the school.

It was agreed at the Cabinet meeting last night (7 June 2018) that the Council would lease Amyand House, in Amyand Park Road, for the school’s primary phase year-groups, and part of the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus, in Egerton Road, for its secondary phase.

Capella House will open in September 2019 with a secondary intake, and, subject to planning permission for internal modifications of Amyand House, will admit its first primary intake in September 2020.

Cllr Penny Frost, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, said:

“There is a growing need and demand for more special school places within the borough.

“It is absolutely vital that we meet a wider range of special educational needs and disabilities locally, so that children and young people can be educated within their local community rather than having to travel further afield - often considerably further - for their schooling

“We already work very closely with the Auriga Academy Trust, who run our two fantastic special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore, and look forward to them making Capella House the outstanding local school that we need.”

John Kipps, CEO of the Auriga Academy Trust, added:

“I am delighted that Richmond Council have continued to support us by finding suitable sites for Capella House. Opening this new special school will enable the Auriga Academy Trust to further expand the local provision of special school places for Richmond, enabling us to help keep these vulnerable children and young people in their home community.”

— from a Richmond Council press release - 8 June 2018