Broken-hearted parents grieve for daughter 'gifted with autism'

‘Caitlyn had an ability to see the world uniquely’: Broken-hearted parents release tribute to daughter ‘gifted with autism’ after 16-year-old is found dead at £44,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey School weeks before her GCSEs

  • Teenager Caitlyn Scott-Lee was found dead at the £44,000-a-year school
  • Wycombe Abbey School has said Caitlyn’s year group are ‘shocked and upset’ 

A 16-year-old girl was today praised for having ‘had an ability to see the world uniquely’ in a tribute after she was found dead at a top boarding school just weeks before her GCSE exams. 

Caitlyn Scott-Lee, a student in year 11, was found in a wooded area near a playing field at £44,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey School late on Friday night.

It is understood that her parents, banker Jonathan Scott-Lee and his accountant wife Tara, were abroad at the time and flew back following the tragic news.

Today, a tribute to Caitlyn revealed she was ‘gifted with autism’ and ‘had a particular passion for the theatre, arts, music, and the environment’.

It added: ‘The school community, friends and family are grieving her loss but we are comforted in her personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

‘Caitlyn enjoyed nature, the environment, sustainability and birds. She would have appreciated potted plants over cut flowers, and support for The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.’

In an email to parents in Caitlyn’s year, known as Upper V, this week, headmistress Jo Duncan said: ‘They are a close year group and, as you will understand, they are very shocked and upset.

‘It is an extremely difficult time for everyone and we will do our utmost to provide the additional pastoral care the girls will need.’

A parents’ charity event and funfair at the weekend were cancelled out of respect.

Caitlyn Scott-Lee, a student in year 11, was found in a wooded area near a playing field

Today, a tribute to Caitlyn revealed she was ‘gifted with autism’

Caitlyn Scott-Lee, 16, was found dead in a wooded area of the school last week 

Wycombe Abbey School has said they will do their ‘utmost to provide the additional pastoral care the girls will need’ following Caitlyn’s death

Ms Duncan ended her letter saying: ‘I am sure that you will join me and everyone at Wycombe Abbey in sending our deepest sympathies to Caitlyn’s parents, siblings and wider family who are in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.’

Two years ago, Mr Scott-Lee, a senior executive at HSBC in markets and acquisitions who specialises in cyber security, wrote an article with his wife, a chartered accountant, promoting the school on its website.

READ MORE: Teenage girl, 16, is found dead ‘in a wooded area close to playing field’ at £44,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey School


He said Caitlyn had spent time in various schools when the family lived in Singapore, but added: ‘Caitlyn has always had an affinity for the UK, and she had it in her own mind to really want to go to boarding school.

‘During our time in Singapore, Caitlyn was always the one working hard to get into a boarding school.

‘We did extensive research from abroad and looked at the top boarding schools in the UK and Wycombe Abbey in the UK was a great fit for Caitlyn.

‘However, it was Caitlyn’s exemplary work ethic and motivation that led to her eventually gain a place at Wycombe Abbey UK.’

He praised Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong’s handling of the pandemic and concluded: ‘If you want your kids to be both highly academic and learn to refine a character that you would be proud of, Wycombe Abbey is the school for you.

‘There is a clear heritage of academic excellence with an emphasis on developing well-rounded students of character.

‘It has been a wonderful journey for my daughters at Wycombe Abbey, and we look forward to being part of the Wycombe Abbey family for years to come.’

Tara Scott-Lee, who studied at Royal Holloway, University of London, and spent her early career at accounting firm Grant Thornton, now works as an accounts officer for the mental health charity Mind, in Buckinghamshire.

A parents’ charity event and funfair at the weekend were cancelled by the school (pictured) as a mark of respect 

Her husband describes himself on LinkedIn as currently working in Ontario, Canada, and as a Neurodiversity Ambassador (Mental Disability) for HSBC.

In its most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report, Wycombe Abbey was rated ‘excellent’ for pupils’ academic achievements and personal development.

Wycombe Abbey, established in 1896, has 650 female pupils aged 11 to 18 and each girl has her own ‘House Mother’, a girl in the year above in the same house who looks after her, especially in her early days at the school.

It regularly ranks among the top girls’ schools in the country and the Good Schools Guide (GSG) summary reports: ‘Workload is immense,’ was overriding theme from parents; ‘it’s hard for girls to fit it all in.’

‘Conflicting parental views on whether school allows a rounded education. We heard of some girls with such full CVs they didn’t have space for that small matter of DofE Gold on the UCAS form and others who had limped through seven years with no time for anything other than hard graft.’

Wycombe Abbey: More than a century of history

Wycombe Abbey is one of the oldest independent girls schools in the country. 

Founded in 1896 by Dame Francis Dove, the school is situated on 69 hectares of land centred around the Grade II-listed Abbey. 

The school charges £44,000 a year for pupils and currently houses over 600 girls. 

Notable former pupils include Smack the Pony TV star Sally Phillips, suffragette Elsie Bowerman, journalist India Knight, Lady Nicholas Windsor and the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore.

The entry continued: ‘In the exam results Olympics, Wycombe goes for gold. Parents report (mainly, but not exclusively) ‘faultless’ teaching, with the overriding aim to deliver a clean sheet of stellar grades at GCSE and A level.

‘It doesn’t happen by accident,’ reckon pupils. ‘Gazing out the window just isn’t an option – the teachers are totally on it.’

On pastoral care, the GSG reported that: ‘Not every parent we spoke to sang its praises, but for those with daughters who had genuinely needed intervention during their time here (with eg mental health problems, eating disorders or SEN diagnoses), the plaudits gushed forth.’

In 2019, another pupil from the school, gifted violinist Katya Tsukanova, 17, died in her father’s Kensington mansion after taking a deadly cocktail of cocaine and ketamine.

She was one of Britain’s brightest musicians and had given a concert at the Royal Opera House just days before her death.

Her father, former Russian banker Igor Tsukanov, found her unconscious at the family home in the early hours and she was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save her.

Among the school’s notable alumnae are actors Rachael Stirling and Sally Phillips, former top judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Lady Nicholas Windsor, daughter-in-law of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘Thames Valley Police was called to the Wycombe Abbey School at around 11.40pm on Friday after a 16-year-old girl was sadly found to have died.

‘Her death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.’

Wycombe Abbey School declined to comment.

Caitlyn’s funeral will be held next month at Greenacres Chiltern, a woodland cemetery and ceremonial park in Buckinghamshire.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or go to 

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