Capturing the dream……..

Marion Cornick 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.

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 intellectual 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 intellectual difficulties and autism in their homes.  Parents were often at their wits end and unable cope or get a good night’s sleep because their child’s behaviour was so challenging.

Marion knew that these parents and children needed a different answer, so they could all live more fulfilling lives.

Pursuing the dream……..

The school started with one child, a 13 year old boy with Autism, the last child to leave a hospital which was facing imminent closure.

Supporting this young man, and the experiences of the early children helped shape the early philosophy and approaches to our work. Very soon it was evident that to adopt a traditional approach to education would be ineffective – children found it too challenging to sit at a desk in a classroom to learn. The approach needed to be flexible allowing for children to learn at a time, and in a way that best suited them. The approach used focused on personalised care and support in an environment where children could relax and learn skills for life. It was a pioneering approach which continues to be at the heart of  The Loddon School® today. One where education and care are delivered in a proactive, positive and therapeutic environment.

The approach continues to evolve, thanks to the hundreds of children who attend and have attended the School. Each and every one of them with their individual challenges make us think and encourage us to problem solve. Staff never give up, they focus on developing the strengths of the child and not on making them fit in”. This 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.

The school continues to evolve and has now grown to be a well-known establishment nationally and internationally for 28 children.

Sharing our work……

In addition to establishing a school Marion also wanted to ensure that good practice could be made available to others who would not necessarily experience The Loddon School® directly. With this in mind she made provision within the charity to also focus on the dissemination of good practice through the provision of training.

People soon realised the benefits of the approach by the amazing achievements made by the pupils from the school, which led to requests and recommendations to supply training in the approach used throughout the UK, and so the external training division of the Charity was created.

Training was initially provided on the basis of ‘sharing skills and knowledge’ and by the mid 1990’s demand was such that formalised courses were introduced which later became accredited to the British Institute of Learning Disabilities – BILD Code of Practice through the BILD Physical Intervention Scheme.

The accreditation scheme was introduced in 2001 and was derived as an outcome from the BILD Publication ‘Physical Interventions A Policy Framework which Marion contributed to alongside John Harris, Alan Jefferson, Richard Mills and David Allen and was first published in 1996.

PROACT-SCIPr-UK® was one of the first organisations to gain BILD accreditation in 2002 and with a change in emphasis from reactive to proactive strategies generally in the UK prompted us to the move from *SCIP® to PROACT-SCIPr-UK®.

In 2008 Loddon Training & Consultancy was formally established as a business unit within the Charity to support this dissemination of knowledge Training has been provided nationally to both schools and health and social care providers, with the number of Instructors teaching the programme currently at 700+.

The 2015 re-accreditation of PROACT-SCIPr-UK® reported:

‘Overall I found this to be a good submission, which if anything does not fully reflect the quality of the systems and practice which make PROACT-SCIPr-UK® an excellent ambassador for the BILD Code of Practice. In short stating that PROACT-SCIPr-UK® exceeds the requirements of the BILD Code of Practice, for which the Loddon Foundation is very proud.

Loddon Training & Consultancy continues to develop its services which are now extended to the provision of Outreach work for Parents and Carers and internationally to small on-going programmes in Romania and Zambia.