Founder and Chair of Trustees
“The students want to repeat learning experiences again and again, because they are framed within the things they love to do and happen at the best time of the day for them.”
Marion, has dedicated her life to changing the lives of and raising awareness for tens of thousands children and adults with the severest learning difficulties and autism.
Marion founded The Loddon School in 1988, as a charitable trust to provide a much needed school in the south of England for children who can no longer live at home because of their exceptional support needs. It is the only school of its kind in the UK.
Having worked as a teacher and director in special education since 1961, Marion recognised that it was vital that there was somewhere to go, other than hospital for these special children who can no longer live at home because of their profound learning difficulties. She had been deeply touched by seeing families at their wits end, and not knowing what to do for the best to help their child.
Prior to opening the School she had visited children with severe learning difficulties and autism in their homes. The only way parents could ensure that their child would not harm themselves, whilst they got a good night sleep was to put bars on the child’s bedroom windows or in the severest of cases, secure the child’s bed with a cage.
Marion knew that these parents and children needed a different answer, so they could all live more fulfilling lives.
The teaching and home life Marion introduced to families at The Loddon School focuses on care and learning, tailored to the individual person and their changing needs. Whilst ‘managing’ children and adults with severe learning difficulties and autism had been previously focused on physical and reactive interventions, the support Marion pioneered is delivered in a proactive, positive and therapeutic environment.
Still going strong today, Marion’s inspirational commitment has given hundreds of children, so long been overlooked by society a life they can enjoy.
Marion’s investment in The Loddon School’s positive and proactive approach has enabled the School’s students to enjoy learning for the first time in their lives.
The students want to repeat learning experiences again and again, because they are framed within the things they love to do and happen at the best time of the day for them.
The focus on developing the strengths of the individual and not on making them “fit in” helps them to grow into confident young adults who know they can take some control over their own lives and get their message across in positive ways.
Many of the students of The Loddon School, with the right support, go on to live fulfilling lives taking holidays, managing their own households and build meaningful relationships.