World’s first IB special autism school appoints Deputy Headteacher

The Cavendish School, the world’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) special autism school, opening on the outskirts of Cambridge in Autumn 2021, has appointed Stephanie Smith as its Deputy Headteacher.

The Cavendish School will also be Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school for young people with autism, and Stephanie joins having previously worked at Medeshamstede Academy in Peterborough, a similar size school with just over 100 students aged 4 – 16 with autism.

Discussing her appointment, Stephanie said: “My heart lies in working with children and young people with autism and it is my mission to support students in achieving success and thriving in their adult lives. This is why the aim of The Cavendish School stood out to me – to provide a safe, nurturing space, alongside inclusive and comprehensive support so that all students thrive. I am looking forward to working with the students and their families throughout the entirety of their educational journey.”

Stephanie has been involved in the autism community for over 10 years, working within mainstream primaries, secondaries and special needs schools. She trained in Mathematics at Stanground Academy, before going on to complete a national award for special educational needs coordination. Stephanie has already started supporting The Cavendish School as well as the Local Authority with the admission of students and is engaging with IB training to ensure the curriculum is both aligned with the IB philosophy as well as meeting the specific needs of the school community.

The Cavendish School aspires to support students in its mission of ‘enabling the self’; equipping students with the skills, confidence and abilities to take their place in the world. Initially the school will admit around 40 students (Years 3 to 7) and will then grow, year on year, to a maximum capacity of 80 students, aged 7 to 19 years (Years 3 to 13).

Ryan Kelsall, Deputy CEO of Eastern Learning Alliance, of which The Cavendish School is part of, said: “As we move ever closer to our official opening date, it’s fantastic to bring Stephanie onto the team. I know that through her expertise and knowledge, we will be able to deliver exemplary education provision for students with Educational Health Care Plans and remove the barriers to inclusion and achievement that many young people with autism face within their education.”