Last night, I was privileged to join a stellar cast to open the new National Autistic Society (NAS) Cullum Centre at Hinchley Wood School. I went along to pay tribute to Headteacher Ben Bartlett, Mark Lever (Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society), Peter Cullum who funded the centre (along with his inspirational family), and the children and families who will benefit – as pictured below.
The Cullum Centre is an amazing opportunity to integrate autistic children into one of the very best secondary schools in Surrey, by creating the space and facilities for specialist support. I know first-hand from my own constituency casework just how valuable this centre will be.
It is fantastic that Hinchley Wood School was willing to take on the project, and this is the third of four Cullum Centres to come through the pipeline in Surrey. Peter Cullum, inspired by his grandson, has backed the initiative with his own money, and it just shows how we can do better in integrating special needs children into mainstream education.
The new government has set out its ambition to help every child realise their full potential. For autistic children, this is a beacon of how to make that a reality.