The Newton Wright family felt the strains of having a disabled child in the sixties first hand, when their youngest child Andrew was born with Down’s syndrome and they were told that sending Andrew to a long-stay hospital was their only option. But Kenneth Newton-Wright was confident that Andrew could be educated and achieve his potential.
From that belief, Newton Wright envisioned a project that would be a home from home, providing care and education where people could live together and provide mutual support. With growing demand for places and as the children became adults, Newton Wright’s vision gradually developed into a self-sufficient village that would provide a loving and secure environment where people could achieve a ‘purposeful life’ throughout their life. This was the birth of his vision for MacIntyre.
“The basic theory is that I have believed for many years that these children are human beings, that they should be given the same opportunities and advantages that ordinary children have and this is what we try to give them here.”
– Kenneth Newton Wright, ATV Documentary, date
Macintyre Gains Charity Status
Newton Wright carried out extensive research and planning, now with even more determination after Andrew sadly passed away in 1966. He was faced with the challenge of raising the funds to start the project. Finally, a donation of £200 from the Sevenoaks Round Table enabled the registration of MacIntyre Schools Ltd as a national charity on December 15th 1966.
Marjorie Newton Wright with Andrew
Marje Cain on Macintyre Beginnings
“He had had a child with Down’s Syndrome. And he had gone along to the local education authority to see if they could actually tell him about education for Andrew. And they actually said was, ‘Sorry there is no education. Children with special needs do not fall under the Education Act’. So Ken was a pig-headed Scotsman and he decided that he was going to do something about it. And that’s how started.”
– Marje Caine, in interview for the Memories project in 2014
Sir David Berriman Remembers...
The alternatives for James were appalling. There were very few organisations in the country that provided individual care. There were long stay hospitals which were ghastly. They didn’t treat anybody as a human being, the whole approach was that people couldn’t be trusted to do anything so they just vegetated and I wasn’t prepared to have that so I was determined to do something – I wasn’t quite sure what – to ensure that James had a “normal life” and it was very lucky for everybody that Ken Newton-Wright was on the scene.