A NEW school for pupils across Essex with severe autism has opened this month after a long wait.

The new special education needs school will offer support for children with learning difficulties, with a curriculum individually prepared for each pupil, and for their parents.

It was initially hoped the Chatten Free School in Witham would open in September 2018 but delays had continually pushed the project back.

The school was given the green light by Essex County Council and the Department for Education last year.

Headteacher Adam Dean said: “To finally be open and full of our amazing children and staff feels beyond incredible.

“Our staff team are all amazing – professional, enthusiastic and most importantly eager to learn and make a difference in the lives of our pupils.

“I have seen so much progress in the children in such a short space of time and I am so excited to see where they all will be in a few months and a few years’ time.

“Our purpose as a school is to open up the world for our pupils, to give them skills that help them access that world in a meaningful way and it feels incredible to finally be able to do that.

“Since the inception of the school five years ago, being head here has been a long-held dream for me.

“Now we are open I can honestly say that I have the best job in the world.

“I am overwhelmed with pride for our amazing team, incredible pupils and beautiful school building.”

The school is based off Rickstones Road and can take up to 75 pupils with complex autism.

The school is split into 15 classes and employs more than 100 members of staff so each pupil can be taught on a one-to-one basis.

It is been named after severely autistic former Essex pupil Bradley Chatten who had to go to school more than 100 miles away because there was nowhere suitable in Essex for him.

That resulted in him being separated from his parents, sparking calls to build a new school for severely autistic children in the county.

Conservative Witham MP and Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to give the Chatten Free School her support.