Autism school headteacher from Sussex shortlisted for prestigious national award

A headteacher from Sussex has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for her work.

Jen Weeks runs a special school for children on the autistic spectrum and has made many changes since she took charge four years ago.

These include requiring all sixth-formers to take 'A' level art, introducing a GCSE in horticulture and setting up a cafe for students to run.

Students Jake, 18, and Jody, 14, both say the school has made a massive difference to them.

Jen Weeks has now been nominated for a national award for the difference she has made at LVS Hassocks.

The school at Sayers Common is an independent school but all children are funded by local authorities.

Jen Weeks is among eight on the shortlist for the Times Educational Supplement's 'Headteacher of the Year' award.

She says the accolade is a team effort for what is a real community school.

The school now has its own cafe run by students and every Friday morning it is open to the public.

This helps children with social communication and developing independence.

Among those that enjoy the weekly cafe are Sienna-Grace, 12, Isaac, 14, Archie, 12, and Charlie, 14.