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News and events index

29 March 2017

Minister Opens London’s First College for Learners with Autism

The Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, will officially open London’s first specialist day college for young people with autism, Ambitious College, on Thursday 30th March, in the run up to World Autism Awareness Month in April.

Young people with autism, especially those with complex needs, face real barriers to accessing education and training beyond school, severely reducing their chances of transitioning to a fulfilling adulthood. Ambitious about Autism, the charity for children and young people with autism, set out their vision for the further education of young people with autism. Ambitious College provides specialist further education provision to support young people to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to live, work and contribute as part of their communities.


The new Pears Campus, co-located with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), first opened its doors to learners in September 2016 and has already received an award for its impact on the local community. Partnership working and co-location with the mainstream college provides learners with the opportunity to access vocational learning and social opportunities alongside their peers. Learners benefit from a dedicated and specialist team of teaching and health professionals.

The college is the first special college in London dedicated to providing further education to young people with complex autism and Ambitious about Autism hopes this new and pioneering model of provision will set the blueprint for future developments in this field.

The official opening will be attended by the Minister Edward Timpson MP, local MP David Lammy, Catherine West MP and the Deputy Mayor of London, Joanne McCartney, who is responsible for education. Trevor Pears from the Pears Foundation, the lead partners of Ambitious College, will also be coming along together other generous supporters including the Wolfson Foundation, all of whom have supported the charity’s £4.4million Ambitious Futures Appeal.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “The opening of Ambitious College is a very exciting chapter in our history and I look forward to welcoming the Minister and sharing this very important day with us.”

“Only 1 in 4 young people with autism progress beyond school to any form of education or training. This statistic gave us the impetus to establish Ambitious College as we believe every young person with autism has a fundamental right to an education which is key to transforming their lives. With the right support, young people with autism can learn, thrive and achieve and go on to lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

“We are also extremely grateful to our lead partners the Pears Foundation and our other generous supporters in helping us to make Ambitious College a reality.”

For further information about Ambitious College or to access a prospectus, please go to the website

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