Double celebration for ‘world class’ school as paralympic swimmer opens sensory room
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A school is celebrating after attaining World Class status, and becoming the first school in Waveney to be crowned with the accreditation.
Staff and pupils from the Ashley School Academy Trust expressed delight after receiving the World Class Schools Quality Mark (WCSQM) award.
The school, based at Ashley Downs in Lowestoft, was awarded the status - which is given to selected schools with an 'outstanding' Ofsted rating - at an event last week.
With special schools being accredited for the first time, the quality mark accreditation was made at an awards ceremony at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in London – as 200 staff and pupils from around 50 World Class schools across the UK came together.
A WCSQM spokesman said: 'WCSQM is a UK charity working to accredit non-selective, Ofsted outstanding state schools across the UK with our quality mark accreditation. We have also worked closely with some of the best special schools in the country to trial a new WCSQM special school framework.'
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And in a double boost for the special school, dreams were realised as a 'fantastic facility' was unveiled during an official opening this week.
For the past two years the special school has linked up with representatives of businesses and individuals to raise more than £18,000 to create a new sensory room.
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The 'exciting addition' to the school's facilities was unveiled at an official opening on Wednesday, as British Paralympic swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate cut a ribbon to open the sensory room.
Praising the efforts of all the fundraisers, she said: 'It is really great that all of you helped with this project and it is a privilege to have been asked. Its really nice to see how the school has developed.'
The fundraising, which was organised by the school's speech and language team and led by Emma Wicks, started in 2016 after sensory circuits were successfully used in school.
Mrs Wicks said: 'We have been using this fantastic facility for a term and a half and children of all ages just love it.
'The smiles on their faces say it all. We are absolutely amazed with the amount of money that has been raised and we are so grateful for all the donations. We have a tree in the hallway to the new sensory room painted and created by a young pupil, which is a lasting memory to you all as our supporters are all featured.'
Sensory learning is seen as an instrumental part of the learning process for special needs pupils, and will provide an environment where pupils can relax as well as being a space for specialist interventions and counselling.
As the new sensory room was unveiled at the special opening ceremony, Andy McAvoy, deputy headteacher at the school, said: 'As an outstanding school we are constantly looking to enhance and improve our provision and the addition of such a wonderful facility will enrich yet further experiences and opportunities for our pupils.
'We thank all those people and organisations that donated so generously.'