A Teesside special school has revealed how sport is playing a key role in its commitment to unlocking the potential of pupils with a wide range of learning difficulties.
Sporty students at Kirkleatham Hall School, near Redcar, are enjoying a range of new activities this summer – thanks to a cash windfall from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
The school topped an online poll ahead of 14 other local sports clubs and projects to win £5,000 in the charitable movement’s Sporting Golden Giveaway.
Sport and PE play a huge health and well-being role at Kirkleatham Hall, whose students, aged 2-19, have a range of conditions including autism, Downs Syndrome, and severe to profound learning difficulties.
And the school have spent their charity money wisely, buying new indoor curling and swimming pool equipment, balance bikes which students with mobility issues can ride, and steps for their trampoline.
Kirkleatham Hall’s students are looking sporty too, as some new red hoodies with the school’s crest on have been bought for them to wear to outside sports events.
Chis Horner, the schools’ PE coordinator, said: “Sport and PE is a massive part of our education at Kirkleatham, which is why we applied to the Philanthropic Foundation for a Golden Giveaway donation.
“We were absolutely delighted to win the £5,000. It’s been a real boost for us, and we decided to spend some of the money on kit for indoor curling because it’s an all-inclusive sport.
“We have got a ramp so students in wheelchairs can play, and the floating hammocks we have bought for our swimming pool allow our students with profound needs to lay on them and experience the feeling of the water.
“The students absolutely love the balance bikes as well.
“The Philanthropic Foundation cash has made a real difference to our school and our students’ everyday lives.
“We are really grateful, and I would like to thank everyone who voted for us and allowed us to enhance our students’ sporting experience.”
Harriet Spalding of the Philanthropic Foundation’s patrons, property specialists Mandale Group, paid a visit to see the school’s pupils making use of the new equipment.
She said: “I was so impressed with Kirkleatham School and the facilities they offer. It’s a fantastic to place for the children to learn in an environement where they receive real support and can socialise.
“It was a privilege to get such an insight into the challenges the school and its staff are overcoming in giving the pupils opportunities to take part in team sports.”