The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog

RSS

Katie Price to found free school for special needs children

The former glamour model will work with other local parents to open a school for the visually impaired.

Katie Price.
Katie Price, launching her magazine "Katie". September 2011. Photograph: Getty Images

News about Katie Price tends to focus on her latest love interest, autobiography, or reality TV show. Yet the glamour model turned businesswoman’s latest venture is somewhat different: she is founding a free school to provide for children like her son Harvey, who has special educational needs.

Harvey, 10, has autism, Prader-Willi syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes easy weight gain) and septo-optic dysplasia, which means he has visual impairments.

Price told the Guardian:

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be starting a school. But we're planning to open in September 2013, on a site in Sevenoaks in Kent. It's going to be called the Visually Impaired Special Needs academy – it will have places for at least 20 children initially, but we hope to go up to 90 in time. And once we've got it off the ground, we hope to open more schools just like it: because we haven't got enough special needs schools in Britain, and we have to get them so that children like Harvey have the best chance in life.

The decision was prompted by the closure of the school Harvey currently attends, Dorton House in Sevenoaks, which is run by the Royal London Society for Blind People.

Price is working with her mother, Amy Price, and a group of five or six other parents affected by the school closure. They should hear this month whether their bid will be approved.

Until now, she has been quiet about her involvement for fear it would jeopardise the bid, but now plans to use her celebrity status to help raise funds and awareness. In a development that is perhaps unsurprising given that Price spends much of her life in front of a camera, I've been told that the founding of the school will feature in her reality show.