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Our School

We opened Church Lawton School in 2015 as a free school for autistic children. We provide a complete education all the way from age 4 to age 19, building each child’s development week by week, term by term and year by year.

We are a local school, educating children from East Cheshire, Staffordshire and Stoke. We opened because our research showed that autistic children need this specialist provision to thrive academically and socially. We have spaces for 60 children and every child here has the potential to achieve well academically. We have high expectations of them all.

We designed and built our school specifically for autistic children, and have created a comfortable, quiet and spacious place to learn. Our classes are small and all our staff are trained and experienced in working with autistic children. We see how relieved children are when they come here - at last they have found a school that understands them.

We celebrate your child’s strengths and recognise what they find hard, and help them to develop all their skills through a highly individual programme. Above all, we take time to get to know your child so that they enjoy school, learn well and become ever more confident in their own abilities.

Warm wishes,

Paul Scales


School facts

  • Specialists in teaching autistic children
  • Students aged 11-19 years
  • Primary, secondary and sixth form
  • Ages 4 to 19
  • Girls and boys

An ambitious, rounded education for every child

We are a high-performing school, providing an exceptional education to all our children. We are here to provide academic excellence and an environment where all our pupils learn well.

We aim for our pupils to achieve in appropriate and different public examinations ranging from Unit Award Schemes to GCSEs and A levels, and more: we teach to the extremes of your child’s educational ability, giving equal attention to the things they are great at and the things they struggle with. They can study vocational, specialist and higher level subjects in a local school or college, which means that they can choose from an extremely wide range of subjects and qualifications.

We deliver the full National Curriculum throughout the school, starting with the Early Years Foundation Stage for our youngest children. Our long experience of teaching autistic children lets us deliver each subject in a practical and structured way that plays to your child’s strengths. Our students have a range of abilities and our high staffing levels means we can provide small group teaching as well as individual support.

The student’s timetable includes support from our education psychologists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapist.

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) is an important part of our curriculum at every stage. Through it we introduce our students to life skills, and as your child enters Key Stage 4 they will learn about careers, work experience, and sex and relationship education with your consent.

Your child will study at the level they are ready for, regardless of their age and we will draw on expertise from within the school and beyond to ensure that your child is always challenged to their full ability.

Our School Day

Some students start with a physical activity followed by relaxation, which helps your child to be ready to learn, especially if they have had a long journey to school.

In our Early Years and Primary department your child will spend most of their time with their own teacher and support staff. They are also taught by specialists in PE and Adventure Learning.

In our secondary department students either move up from our primary department or join as a new pupil in KS3. English and Maths lessons are taught in the mornings as evidence shows this is the best time for concentration. The full national curriculum including Religious Education is offered, and is adapted to the pace and learning style of each group. We teach independence and social skills as well as academic lessons throughout KS3.

Dependent upon the appropriate pathway, students may start in a class where they have a team of staff for most lessons, however they will gradually become expected to move around the building more than in the primary department and also will be taught by different staff for specialist subjects. They will remain with their class teacher. Other pathways allow students to work with specialist subject teachers for their core lessons. Their support staff move with them to each lesson.

Post-16 learning

Our 6th Form Centre is where our young people prepare actively for adult life among students of their own age, focusing on problem solving and decision making, and on independent living skills.

A really important feature of life in the centre is the amount of time our young people spend learning outside the centre every day. This allows them to gain valuable experience of life outside school, mixing with other young people, gaining confidence, and seeing that everything they have learned is good preparation for adult life. Our strong links to local colleges mean our young people can choose from an enormous range of subjects, follow their interests and skills, and try new subjects and activities. They can also learn while working with local employers.


At Church Lawton School, we recognise the transformative power of music in the lives of our students, especially those with autism. Music is a universal language that can bridge communication gaps, stimulate cognitive functions, and provide emotional expression. Our commitment to integrating music into our educational approach is rooted in its profound impact on enhancing social skills, boosting self-esteem, and fostering a sense of community amongst students.

Our music program is designed to be inclusive and adaptive, catering to the unique needs and abilities of each student. Our students engage in various musical activities, including playing instruments, singing, and movement to music, which not only develops their musical skills but also promotes sensory integration and fine motor skills.

To further enhance the role of music in our school, we have produced our Music Development Plan. This plan outlines our strategic vision for expanding and enriching our music program. Key initiatives include professional development for staff, and the creation of collaborative music projects with local musicians and community organisations. Our goal is to ensure that students at Church Lawton School can experience the joy and benefits of music, ultimately leading to improved educational outcomes and personal growth.

Download the Music Development Plan

Learning beyond Church Lawton School

Our education is designed to help your child gain knowledge and skills that will take them on to further study and adult life. We therefore give all our pupils plenty of opportunities to extend their learning beyond our classrooms.

We make regular visits to places of interest such as local farms, parks and National Trust properties, linking our trips to the topics we are studying in class. We encourage your child to interact with as many people as possible, building their confidence and skills, for example by choosing and buying their own snacks in a local shop.

What Makes Us Different?

Every child in our school has a diagnosis of autism and we have designed our approach and environment to make Church Lawton School a great place for them to learn.

Our pupils have the potential to do well academically, and the individual programmes we create for them encourage them to thrive, grow and exceed expectations in everything they do.

We have individual learning areas in every classroom for times when a child needs to learn alone, and in our separate specialist learning centre we can support children with more complex needs.

A child with a particular gift for a subject can study at a level that challenges them, thanks to our flexible timetabling. We encourage all our pupils to take external exams and expect most to pursue their education at a university level.

Many of our children are talented in science and media technology subjects, and our staff expertise and resources mean that they explore these subjects creatively and in depth.

More than this, we help each child to build their own personal, social and life skills so that they leave us as confident, resilient and valuable young adults with an important contribution to make to the wider world.

The Student Executive Team

The Student Executive Team is a dedicated group of students selected from each school within the Liberty Trust to represent the diverse voices of their peers. These leaders are passionate about advocating for their fellow students, ensuring that their ideas, concerns, and aspirations are heard and addressed. By serving on the executive team, these students work collaboratively with The CEO Dr Nic Crossley, The Trust Executive Team and Senior Leadership within the schools to foster a supportive and inclusive environment. Their commitment to making a positive impact is evident in their efforts to enhance school policies, organise events, and initiate programmes that reflect the interests and needs of the student body. Together, they strive to create a dynamic and engaging school community where every student can thrive.

A child in a suitDescription automatically generated  Ethan Sneed

Hello, I'm Ethan, and I am thrilled to be part of the school executive student leadership team. My passion for this role stems from a deep commitment to being a voice for my fellow students. I believe that by listening to your concerns and ideas, we can work together to implement initiatives that truly reflect our collective vision. I'm dedicated to fostering a supportive and engaging atmosphere where every student has the opportunity to contribute and thrive. Let's join forces to create positive changes and make our school an even better place for everyone.

A child in a suitDescription automatically generated  Zachary Ellis

Hi everyone, I'm Zach, and I'm honoured to serve as a member of the school executive student leadership team this year. I am passionate about being on this board because I believe in the power of student voices to drive meaningful change. My goal is to ensure that every student feels heard and represented. I am eager to collaborate with all of you to create an inclusive and dynamic school environment where everyone's ideas can flourish. Together, we can make a real difference and leave a lasting positive impact on our school community.

Contact Church Lawton School

Church Lawton School
Cherry Tree Avenue
Church Lawton

Call: 01270 877 601


  • Paul Scales, Principal - 01270 877 601
  • Sarah Burton, Business Manager - 01270 877 601

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about our school, please do get in touch. Should you require paper copies of the documentation on our website, then these can be sent to you free of charge by contacting us via

If you are interested in a place at Church Lawton School, please look at our admissions page, which describes the process and policy.

For any other questions and advice, please ring us on 01270 877601.