Penn School logoThis morning, I have had confirmation from Bucks County Council it is actively working with parents to find places at new schools for current Penn School students.

The Council has been in touch with the special education needs and disability team at the Department for Education and the Department has endorsed the actions the Council is taking.

Fifteen children from Bucks are affected by the closure, eight of whom live in the Wycombe constituency. A number have already been found new places for September.

I will be monitoring the situation to ensure suitable places are found for everyone and to offer the Council whatever help I can.


  1. This is not true, places have been offered in schools that are at maximum capacity or do not fully meet the needs of the children.

    Giving a parent a list of schools to look at, is not the same as having a secured school place.

    The crux of the matter is that there are no suitable places for these children. My sister has tried the suggested schools, they were no good. The other schools are so far away that my parents cannot get her there, and boarding is simply not an option. I urge you to look again at this, please look deeply into the facts.

    This is not as cut and dry as it is being portrayed.

    Please do not throw these children to the winds.

  2. Good to see that you are monitoring the situation after knowing nothing about it a week ago and having been by-passed completely by your colleague for cutting the Department of Education, Ms Nicky Morgan.

    You -hopefully – can just about grasp the damage that is being done to these children.

    Who knows,you may even begin to understand the practical impossibility of replacing this unique provision.

    All of our children were tried and failed in the exact same schools you and your disingenuous colleagues in BCC are now offering as replacements.

    Your words are hollow.

    These people are being let down and we all look forward to finding an exclusive gated community replacing Penn School over the near future.

    A community living in wealthy isolation in the refurbished rooms of what should remain a place of compassionate learning.

    But hey… we are all in it together right?

  3. The content of this post could not have been written by anyone who actually understands these children. It is profoundly disappointing and demonstrates ignorance of the real educational and human challenges these vulnerable children have to confront.

    Now, not only do they have to face their whole life living with a disability, they also have to cope with the loss of their sanctuary and cruelly-unnecessary anxiety over where they are going to be next term.

    Fear of change and the unknown is the great enemy for autists and this will be torture beyond words.


    This explains why the vast majority of its students came to the school from outside Buckinghamshire… in our case my son traveled two hours per day in order to attend.

    Instead of having a world class education (I don’t care what inspectors have said to the contrary) they will have generic, one-size-fits-all SEN provision – often ceasing at 16 (though children legally must remain in education until 18).

    Within our county that is the case for all children with special needs.

    They will no longer have peers to relate to (sharing the same set of disabilities), with whom they have the chance to develop friendships. These friendships are so vital as they can have such a significant, positive effect on the mental health of the students.

    Are you aware, these vulnerable young people get together at Penn every PEPA day, and continue to keep in contact through facebook.

    When you have suffered a childhood with no friends – then tell these children that they will be given “appropriate” new provisions.


    I have lived through 21 years of poor educational provision, with the only real progress made at Penn for three years. That is the truth as I and my son have lived it.

    Your post made me so sad to be a ‘norm’ – because autistic people can’t lie and they can’t twist the facts through the deliberate act of exclusion: they believe the words whilst us “norms”…we can convince ourselves that we are doing “enough” when we know full well that we are letting ourselves as well as the people whose interests we serve.

    You have to stop politicking and actually listen to what the children are saying. Try, just for a minute or two, to image what it would be like to go to a school whilst seeing, hearing and sensing the world through an autistic brain…

    Then try and write your post again!

    • Nicola Saldanha

      WELL SAID. I am support assistant at Penn School and it and the students have touched my heart and shown me love, caring and compassion and understanding from one human to another like nowhere else in the world. IT IS TOTALLY UNIQUE AND SPECIAL……hoping for a miracle….

  4. Laura Ripley

    It is beyond crazy that Penn School is closing, there aren’t enough school places as it is for children without disabilities, let alone to add extra children to schools that are already at bursting point, with children who have complex needs which can’t possibly be met in these schools (even if the teaching staff would like to be able too).

    Why can’t the government start spending money where it is needed, instead of on ridiculous things like the HS2!? We need to be taking care of our young generation, they are the adults of our future and right now those in high places who could make the right decisions aren’t! We need MORE schools, not less! And we need more funding in place by Government to make sure all our schools can be the very best they can be. What is more important than a good childhood and a decent education?!!!?!!!

    If the Government and local councils won’t help these children, then perhaps a lottery winner or similar can be the hero that this school needs. Someone out there has the funds to give Penn School the funds it needs to carry on their fabulous work. Step up and be that hero please if you can, help make an example of those in high places that have no idea what they are doing!