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The Walnuts School
Admirals Drive, Simpson, MK8 0PU, UK Milton Keynes
+44 (0)1908 563885


Welcome to The Walnuts!

As the school is entering a period of expansion and change I thought that the time was right to have the opportunity to share these developments by way of a website. I hope you find it helpful and informative. We intend to update the information often so it will be worth adding the site to your list of “favourites” and making it a regular to visit.

The governors, staff and parents of the pupils at The Walnuts School are all extremely excited by the prospect of being in new accommodation, co-sited with Hazeley Secondary School , from September 2006. This co-siting will not only enable the school to develop secondary provision as the age range increases to 19 but also pupils of The Walnuts School will continue to benefit from mainstream inclusion experiences that are a successful element of the education the pupils receive.

The prime objective as the school grows will be to ensure that the values and ethos that underpin the quality and success of the educational experiences are not compromised.

For any new parents looking at the website I hope your child will be very happy, and that you and your family will soon feel part of the family of the school. Parental involvement in school life is welcomed and encouraged, as we believe that an active partnership between home and school provides invaluable support.

Our aim is to make the site as useful, fun and informative as possible so if you have any suggestions as to how we may be able to improve the site please feel free to make them by emailing us at

About The Walnuts School

The Walnuts School is a community residential special school for pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) situated in a beautiful rural setting in the village of Simpson, Milton Keynes. It is a unique and very special school. Visitors comment on the peaceful and caring learning environment created by a community of people who, through their different roles and responsibilities, create this positive, happy, learning atmosphere where the children thrive.

The majority of the children come from the Milton Keynes area. There are, at present, 60 children on roll at The Walnuts (aged 4-16 yrs), and most have been diagnosed as having Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

Accommodation is split between the original house (now used mainly for boarding and dining areas), the main school building and two new temporary classrooms. There is also an art/computer room, food technology area, indoor PE space and two well-equipped outdoor play areas.

There are six classes (groups), and, starting with the youngest group, these are:

There is a high staff to pupil ratio. Class grouping is flexible, at present each group consists of 9/10 children, the class teacher and 3 teaching assistants. The school employs two part-time Speech and Language Therapists for a total of six days per week.

At present it is Council policy to offer children attending The Walnuts School home to school transport. Contracted taxis or minibuses, with an escort, are provided. The school bus with an escort also transports pupils. Some of the younger children are transported by their parents. Parents are responsible for seeing their child on and off the transport.

The school day begins at 9.00am and finishes at 3.00pm.

Lunchtime is 12.15pm to 1.00pm and playtime is from 1.00pm to 1.30pm.

The Walnuts provides cooked lunchtime meals that are prepared on the premises. A register of those pupils who have school meals is kept and an invoice is sent home half-termly (currently £1.20 per day). Some of our pupils prefer to bring in their own packed lunch. If a family is in receipt of Income Support, they may be entitled to free school meals. Necessary forms can be obtained via the school office.

Residential Accommodation - The Boarding House provides the opportunity for children to access the 24-hour curriculum. It is co-ordinated by The Head of Care, with a team of three residential childcare officers. Access to boarding is usually decided, according to need, at the Annual Review. A child may stay for one to four nights, an after school activity e.g. trampolining/swimming, or stay for tea. The residential and school staff liaise closely, ensuring continuity and consistency for each child.

The Walnuts School is well supported by a team of committed Governors and an active parents association – The Friends of Walnuts – who support the school and arrange regular fund raising activities.

There are optional school sweatshirt/polo-shirts in blue and red, bearing the school name and logo, which can be purchased from The Friends of Walnuts. Parents are requested to send in wellingtons, which are kept in school as well as PE clothes, which should be clearly named.

The Walnuts has an open-door policy and visitors are always welcome. However, anyone wanting to visit should telephone first, as we are a very small school and need to plan visits carefully.


The ethos at The Walnuts School is a ‘ living’ set of principles to enhance the experience of all involved in the school community. In order to achieve this we need to:

  • Value and respect ourselves and all other members of our community as individuals with a unique contribution to make
  • Acknowledge and celebrate each others skills, experiences and characteristics and accept each person as a ‘whole’
  • Know that problems can be shared and ask for support and help
  • Create an atmosphere where conflicts can be resolved harmoniously


All pupils at the school have a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN). When a child is referred by the Local Education Authority, they are seen by a member of our Outreach team in their present local school or nursery and invited to visit The Walnuts.

Staff and parents can then discuss whether the school could meet the needs of the child. If this is the case, then the parents can request the LEA to place the child at the school. The school is accessible to wheelchairs.


The school philosophy is rooted in respect for the individual and co-operation between all. In a safe environment it is possible to challenge the pupils, explore feelings, discuss conflicts and enable pupils to believe that they are worthwhile people. At The Walnuts School, we provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum for every child in an environment where learning is exciting, enjoyable, visual, practical and experiential. The curriculum at The Walnuts School relates to all aspects of school life and is a vehicle through which the staff and governors seek to achieve the best possible progress and highest attainment for all pupils.

The National Curriculum and the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, provide the framework for the delivery of the whole Curriculum at the Walnuts School . It is delivered in accordance with the Education Act 1997 and the Code of Practice 2001.

The core subjects taught are - English, Maths, Science and ICT

And the foundation subjects - Humanities(geography/history),P.E.,

Music, Art, Design Technology, PSHE and


The curriculum also includes Religious Education.

Communication - Each child is a unique individual; however, the underlying difficulty for every Walnuts child lies in the area of communication. We therefore provide a structured environment where spoken language is clear and precise and, where appropriate, written communication, symbols and sometimes gestures are used to reinforce both expressive and receptive language.

To develop this important area of the curriculum, the main visual approach used to support pupil’s communication is Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Symbols are used throughout the 24-hour curriculum to support the understanding of language e.g. individual and/or group visual timetables. The Speech and Language therapists, along with the whole staff, are constantly reviewing and updating this important area.

Sex and Relationship Education – Sex education is generally delivered as part of the Science and PSHE curriculum. From Year 7, the ‘Living Your Life’ resource is used. This consists of modules, which include, group building, the physical self, emotions, relationships, sexual expression, choices and consequences and personal health and safety. Parents are informed whenever these modules are to be taught.


The School will:

  • Care for your child’ssafety and happiness.
  • Ensure that your child achieves their full potential as a valued member of the school community.
  • Keep an open door policy, and make arrangements for a member of staff to see you within 48 hours of a phone call
  • Share any concerns or problems with you that affect your child’s work or behaviour.
  • Hold termly parent’s evenings when you can see your child’s work and talk to staff.
  • Keep ongoing records of your child’s progress which will be available to you.
  • Keep you informed about School activities through the Home/School Book, regular letters home, news sheets and notices about special events.
  • Send a book or activity home for you to share with your child.
  • We will encourage your child to be a good friend to others.
  • We will encourage your child to be a helpful member of the Walnuts School .
  • We will encourage your child to try their best at their work.

The Family will:

  • Let the school know about any concerns or problems that might affect their child’s work or behaviour.
  • Ring the school on the first day of absence if their child is not well enough to attend.
  • Try to attend annual review meetings.
  • Try to attend parents evenings or make an alternative time to come in and see their child’s work.
  • Possibly share an activity or book with their child.

Together we will:

  • Encourage each other to keep to this agreement
  • Celebrate each others achievements
  • Support child’s learning to help them achieve their best.
  • Work together to make The Walnuts a happy and supportive place to be.


primary schools in Milton Keynes, secondary schools in Milton Keynes, schools in Milton Keynes

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