Empowering People, Launching lives

Our story

We are proud of how far we have come in our first 20 years and look forward to the impact that we can have for autistic people for decades to come.

BeyondAutism started as The Rainbow Charity in 2000, when a group of parents, led by Founder Karen Sorab, set up Rainbow School. We started with just 3 pupils in a run-down pre-fabricated hut on the grounds of Beatrix Potter School in Wandsworth.

Since then the charity has undergone a remarkable transformation, growing exponentially in response to need. We now deliver education to pupils from 16 London Local Authorities from our Early Years’ service to our Post-19 Provision.

“The first Rainbow School was hardly a school at all. It was little more than a hut, kindly lent to us by Beatrix Potter School in Wandsworth. But to my mind it still stands as a symbol: of who we are and what we can achieve through hard work, love for our children and the kindness of friends.

Now we’re extremely excited about the progress the charity is making. In the last five years we have launched a number of new services vastly increasing the number of children and young adults we can reach and in turn the number of families who benefit.”

Karen Sorab

The story so far…


We pilot a Fast Responder service in response to the growing number of fixed and permanent exclusions of autistic pupils and challenges faced by schools in supporting pupils at point of crisis.
In September we launch a pilot of a specialist nursery provision at our Early Years’ setting.


In February our Early Years’ moves into permanent premises in Bromley.
BeyondAutism now supports over 200 learners in London and beyond.


In September we change our vision to “ensure autistic child and young adults access an education which empowers a life full of choice, independence and opportunity”. We also launch our new 5-year strategy which reflects our aspiration at an individual level, through education and developing skills, whilst also influencing attitudes, resources and institutions more broadly in society.


In February we are awarded a grant of £380k from the National Lottery Community Fund to help fund our support service over the next 5 years.
Sixth Form expand into South Thames College in June.
In July the charity office moves to The Foundry, Vauxhall.
Post-19 open a second hub in Wandsworth in November.


In January pupils move into the newly redeveloped Tram House School.
After several pilots in 2017/18, in June our Early Years’ service becomes a permanent provision.
In September we hold our 1st annual Staff Conference.
In December Children in Need award our Early Years’ service a grant of £109k over 3 years.


Our first pilot of an exciting Early Years’ support service for children aged 15 months – 5 years takes place in May.
In September, Rainbow School becomes two separate schools, Park House School and Tram House School.
At the start of the 2017/18 academic year our Post-19 service becomes permanent with four learners accessing the Post-19 hub at Yarrow.

Launch of our 5-year strategy: Empowering People, Launching Lives.
The foundations of our Outreach and Training service are established.
In September we launch a pilot of our Post-19 service at Yarrow in Shepherd’s Bush.

Fundraising is completed to kit out the library and a soft play and sensory interaction suite.
Financing is successfully raised to purchase our Tram House site for redevelopment and our £1.5m capital appeal is launched.

Having fundraised over £570k Phase II works are completed at our Spencer Park site, equipping the school with a multipurpose hall, shower block and space for a library.

We re-brand the charity to BeyondAutism reflecting our ambition to exceed limits and empower autistic people to live independent lives.

Having raised £4.36m in donations and financing we purchase and complete the Phase I redevelopment of our second school site opposite Spencer Park in Wandsworth.

Rainbow School moves into Tram House, a rented property on Garratt Lane.


A group of parents led by Founder, Karen Sorab, found The Rainbow Charity and Rainbow School, with 3 pupils in temporary accommodation.

Registered Charity No. 1082599. Registered in England and Wales Ltd by guarantee No. 4041459 Registered Office: Ashurst LLP, London Fruit & Wool Exchange, 1 Duval Square, London, E1 6PW