Autistic student celebrates GCSE success and mainstream college place

Nat Dudman passed his GCSEs at specialist school LVS Hassocks and is now going to Northbrook College in Shoreham.
Nat Dudman passed his GCSEs at specialist school LVS Hassocks and is now going to Northbrook College in Shoreham.

A student with autism at specialist school LVS Hassocks is celebrating after he received a 6 in his art GCSE and a place back in mainstream education.

Nat Dudman was told at his mainstream primary school that he would never be able to take exams, but he sat some GCSEs a year early last summer at LVS Hassocks, receiving a B and two 4s, and is now looking forward to an independent future.

LVS Hassocks student Nat Dudman with his grandfather Colin Sayers and mother Linda Sayers.

LVS Hassocks student Nat Dudman with his grandfather Colin Sayers and mother Linda Sayers.

He will start in September at Northbrook College in Shoreham to study aeronautical engineering.

Nat Dudman, 16, moved to LVS Hassocks, for young people on the autism spectrum, five years ago and has subsequently thrived, gaining academic and independence skills.

Colin Sayers, his grandfather, said: “When Nat left his mainstream junior school, he had nowhere to go – no school would take him on due to problems he had triggered by his autism.

"LVS Hassocks gave him a chance and the change in him has been unbelievable since joining.

"He’s gone from nothing to taking exams early last year, more this year, and now going on to college to study aeronautical engineering.

"The school has really brought him on and understood him, and he’s learned so much there".

Other GCSE results at LVS Hassocks included a 7 (equivalent of an A) in English literature.

Parents of two other students expressed their delight that their children had even sat GCSEs as they had never thought they would be capable of doing so.

The school’s students also received a range of BTEC awards and functional skills qualifications.

Sarah Sherwood, LVS Hassocks director of Special Educational Needs (SEN), said: “Sitting GCSEs can be a daunting prospect for anyone, let alone those with autism.

"A combination of excellent teachers and a supportive, expert therapy team means we can prepare students for exams and independent futures.

"Nat is a fine example of the progress and achievement we can make with our students to give them the confidence and tools to live independent, successful futures."