Students who attend Springwell Learning Community’s Kendray site are set to benefit from a transformed learning environment when they head back to their classrooms this week.
Springwell Learning Community comprises both Springwell Special Academy, for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, and Springwell Alternative Academy, for pupils excluded from mainstream settings. It operates a number of satellite settings around Barnsley, including the site at Kendray.
Funding of £1.3m was provided by Barnsley Council for a full refurbishment of the site, including the introduction of a new food technology room and multi-purpose design technology space. The building has also been remodelled, with several walls removed and replaced, and works including replacement of windows, doors, ceilings and flooring. Energy saving systems such as solar panels and a low carbon heat system have also been installed.
Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at Springwell Learning Community, said: “We’re all incredibly excited to welcome students back to the much-improved Kendray site. The new building will be transformational for both students and staff, and provides the high quality teaching environment that every child deserves.
“The refurbishment also enables us to provide 16 additional special school places, which means more students can access specialist provision closer to their homes. We’re really looking forward to seeing the new facilities being used.”
Shaun Kiernan, Director of Capital and IT at Wellspring Academy Trust, which Springwell Learning Community is part of, added: “At Wellspring, we firmly believe that all children are entitled to high quality, engaging, vibrant spaces in which to learn. The quality of school environments matters, and it has a real, tangible impact on the outcomes for children. Thanks to funding from BMBC, students at Springwell Learning Community’s Kendray site will benefit from a transformed building that is fit for purpose and can meet their needs. The whole team, including Triton Construction, Gate & Bar Ltd and LHL Group, have done an excellent job on this project and their work really will make a difference.”
Penny Field School in Meanwood, Leeds is a special school that supports children from 2 – 19 years of age. Due to the complex physical challenges that many of the children face, a hydrotherapy pool plays an essential role in delivering the care Penny Field pupils need.
The new pool, which replaces an old pool that was no longer fit for purpose, has been made possible thanks to a private donation to PhysCap, and also a donation by Wooden Spoon. The building contractor for the project was Whitaker & Leach, with the sensory install provided via Premier Solutions. Bespoke joinery was completed by MJA Joinery.
The pool was formally opened at 10am today, with special guests gathering to see it for the first time. Parents are delighted with the new provision, with Helen Burns, mum of Emily, saying: “The new hydrotherapy pool and sensory lighting is fantastic news for the entire school. My daughter loves spending time in the pool. It is both relaxing and stimulating. Being in the water enables her to move her limbs in different ways and gives a sense of freedom she doesn’t get in her wheelchair.
“The staff at Penny Field School work brilliantly with the children in a range of activities and knowing the Hydrotherapy Pool will benefit pupils for years to come is just brilliant. Thanks so much to Physcap and Wooden Spoon for their kind donations.”
Hannah Duffey, Headteacher at Penny Field School, added: “We can’t express enough how grateful we are to PhysCap, Wooden Spoon and the private donor. Our old pool was in dire need of renovation and repair. We didn’t have a functional changing area, tiles were coming off and it was getting to the point where it was becoming unusable. We use the pool every day and it’s an incredibly important part of the care that we offer to our children. This new pool will be transformational for our school and we can’t wait to see Penny Field pupils enjoying it.”
PhysCap Children’s Charity is 100% volunteer run and aims to help improve the lives of children across the Yorkshire region who suffer with both physical and mental disabilities. The charity has had a long standing relationship with Penny Field School, dating back to providing funding to enable children to participate in Snaps swimming club classes. More recently, PhysCap funded a £24,000 outdoor sensory area at Penny Field thanks to a kind donation from Martin Greenhow of Mojo Bars.
Speaking about the funding for this latest pool project at Penny Field School, Daniel Grey, PhysCap Chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see how fantastic it looks and we are thrilled at how much pleasure this will give the children at Pennyfield school, the teachers, the care workers and the wider community for many years to come.
“Seeing everyone here today gives us so much joy in the knowledge that we have helped improve the lives of so many people across the Yorkshire region, both now and in the future. Long may our relationship with Pennyfield school continue.”
Staff and students at a Wellspring special school in Barnsley are celebrating after being rated Outstanding by Ofsted for the third consecutive time.
In its latest Ofsted report, released over the summer, Greenacre School on Keresforth Hill Road was praised for maintaining its high standard of education and working well with external professionals to ensure pupils get the right support and are well prepared for adulthood.
Inspectors reported that: “The mission to ‘nurture, empower and prepare’ pupils for life is at the heart of this welcoming and inclusive school. Relationships between pupils and staff are warm and nurturing. Leaders listen to pupils. They ensure pupils have a ‘voice and choice’ in their education.”
They also praised the school’s approach to behaviour, stating: “Pupils’ behaviour is exceptional. Highly proficient staff support pupils to manage their behaviour very well. There is a strong ethos of respect for others. They have excellent attitudes to learning. They feel safe and are very well looked after.”
The school’s approach to developing its curriculum and the calibre of its teachers were also highlighted with inspectors reporting that: “The curriculum meets the needs of the range of pupils very well. The ‘access’ curriculum strongly underpins learning across the whole curriculum. It is thoughtfully designed and planned. Pupils, particularly those with complex needs, can engage with learning and develop personally…Teachers are highly skilled. They know individual pupils very well. They check frequently the progress pupils make. They use this information to plan pupils’ next steps effectively.”
Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at Greenacre School, said: “Greenacre is a wonderful school where staff go above and beyond every single day to ensure our pupils receive the highest quality education and care. Whilst the verdicts of our pupils and parents will always be our most important judgement, it is a great achievement to be rated Outstanding yet again by Ofsted, and we are very proud.
“As we look ahead, we are determined to build on our successes and continue to develop the services, resources and opportunities that we can offer Greenacre pupils. They deserve the very best and the best is what we are committed to providing.”
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “We are very proud to have had Greenacre School as part of our school community for the last five years. It continues to go from strength to strength, and delivers the quality of education that all our children and young people should enjoy. Sarah and the Greenacre team set the standard for SEND education and ensure that the Barnsley community has an incredible local resource to support some of their most vulnerable residents.”
Established in 2012, Wellspring Academy Trust is a family of mainstream primary and secondary schools, and SEND and Alternative Provision settings operating across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Wellspring’s mantra is ‘We Make A Difference’ and it is committed to providing the best possible education and improving life chances for all its students. By sharing best practice, resources, and expertise, the Trust supports schools to deliver exceptional education and serve the communities in which its academies operate.
A world-first new special school has opened its doors to students for the very first time.
Trent View College, situated at West Common Lane, Scunthorpe, is a new post-16 college for students with special educational needs designed to remove barriers to learning and help young people develop important life and employability skills and prepare them for adulthood.
Part of Wellspring Academy Trust, the new purpose-built £12 million school provides state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities for the 60 students who will attend. The building is testament to modern design, accessibility and inclusivity in education, and has been carefully designed to meet the learning objectives of those who will attend. A large commercial kitchen space will be used for students to both learn catering skills and prepare the meals for their fellow classmates, whilst a vehicle workshop will allow students to learn about car maintenance and repairs. The building also comprises a cafe which will serve the public and enable students to develop their hospitality skills. Complementing the vocational areas are carefully considered therapeutic spaces to provide support and intervention for young people with more complex needs. These include a hydrotherapy pool, rebound area and fully immersive sensory rooms. The combination of these facilities will support the model of social inclusion allowing all students to work together, providing a space to meet their individual needs and aspirations.
As well as offering the very best in inclusive post-16 learning facilities, the building itself is a world-first when it comes to environmental impact. Designed by HLM Architects and built by Morgan Sindall Construction , the school meets strict Passivhaus standards around energy efficiency and environmental impact. The inclusion of a heat-intensive hydrotherapy pool in the build makes Trent View College the first SEND school with a hydrotherapy pool in the world to achieve Passivhaus standards.
Sarah Parker, Principal at Trent View College, said: “Today is an incredibly exciting moment for the local community and for everyone who has been involved in the efforts to bring this wonderful new school to Scunthorpe. We now have this amazing new building and talented team in place to provide a nurturing space where our students can acquire vital life skills, engage in meaningful work and develop their routes toward independence. It will be life changing for the students attending.
“As well as world-class facilities for our students, this new school will also be a fantastic resource available for use by the wider community. We are very much looking forward to putting Trent View College at the heart of the Scunthorpe community and working closely with businesses and partners across the area.”
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “This is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and creative thinking from all partners involved in this project, and today is a truly proud moment for us all. At Wellspring, we prioritise inclusivity, forward-thinking, community involvement and a desire to always do things better. Trent View College epitomises that approach. The innovation and ambition behind this project has set the standard for what SEND schools can, and should, be. I look forward to watching the impact of Trent View College on its students and the Scunthorpe community over the coming months and years.”
Ben Hall, Area Director at Morgan Sindall Construction – Yorkshire, said: “At Morgan Sindall we are committed to equal opportunities and believe that everyone should be given the best possible chance at achieving their goals. It’s therefore a privilege to have contributed to the skills development of young people in the local community with special educational needs through the creation of Trent View College.
“It’s incredibly positive to see more demand for state-of-the-art facilities such as Trent View College. It indicates a change in ideals surrounding our education system and understanding of how we encourage the best out of everyone. Collaboration has been crucial to this project, and the support we’ve had from the Wellspring Academy Trust and HLM has given us the scope to apply our expertise in delivering this fantastic educational environment. Through the deployment of our Intelligent Solutions approach we were able to help this landmark college achieve Passivhaus accreditation.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Wellspring Academy Trust and look forward to seeing the impact of its work – and of Trent View College – in the near future.”
Catherine Ward, Associate & SEN Lead at HLM Architects, added: “HLM are incredibly proud to have been involved in the design and delivery of this unique special school. The new building will not only provide much needed school places and specialist facilities for post 16 students with SEND in North Lincolnshire but, also provide numerous benefits offered by Passivhaus design including; an energy efficient, sustainable, high performing building; lowered running cost; and a comfortable internal environment improving health and wellbeing of students and staff. The success of the design has been achieved through a collaborative process involving the Trust and DfE and provides a contemporary, exemplary sustainable school which meets the very specialist needs of the building users.”
Trent View College is a fully inclusive post-16 college, where individual differences are celebrated and aspirations are supported. Its aim is to develop inquisitive, aspirational and resilient young people who are fully equipped to engage and contribute to their own communities.
Progress towards a new Wellspring SEND school in Selby has advanced with the selection of Bowmer + Kirkland by the Department for Education as the main contractor tasked with bringing forward proposals for the new school.
The new 100 place all-through (3-19 years) school is proposed for a site off the A63 Hull Road in Osgodby and will provide much needed SEND places for the Selby area and new facilities for the community to share. The proposals will deliver a major investment from the Department for Education and North Yorkshire Council and will be part of Wellspring Academy Trust.
The project team is inviting local people to an exhibition to view the plans in more detail on Monday 18th September 2023, from 5-8pm at Barlby Library and Community Hub, or by visiting the project website selbyareasendschoolplans.co.uk where you can register for updates and leave your feedback.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said, “I am absolutely delighted that we are moving forward with the proposals to provide Selby and the surrounding area with a special school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
“The public engagement planned is an important milestone in the delivery of the new Special School. We will continue to work with the Department for Education and Wellspring Academy Trust to ensure our children and young people who need support have access to high quality specialist provision, local to them.”
James Beeston, Regional Design Manager at Bowmer + Kirkland, said, “Our proposals for the site, which has an education allocation in the draft emerging Selby Local Plan, will meet the latest standards of sustainable building regulations, be largely constructed off-site to help minimise disruption to neighbours and be of a high-quality architectural design that supports the needs of local children with SEND.”
Sean Kiernan, Director of Capital and IT at Wellspring Academy Trust, commented, “We believe that every child has the right to an engaging, exciting education. We champion inclusive education, stronger communities and improved life chances. The proposed new SEND school will help reduce school journey times for SEND pupils in the Selby area whilst providing a calm and safe environment which will make a significant difference to their outcomes.”
Moving between primary and secondary (or any type of transition between schools) is an incredibly daunting experience for any learner. When you add to that experience additional needs, it can very quickly become a potential minefield of problems for some students.
Supporting students through this process can be extremely difficult. Often little is known about either where they are going, or where they have come from. Matching up support can be complicated if similar options aren’t available and relationships are yet to be built with the new setting. On top of all that, the support that has enveloped a student from reception to year 6 disappears overnight when they leave primary in year 6 and they fundamentally ‘start from scratch’ in year 7. Getting transition right for all learners is important, but getting it right for students with additional needs is absolutely vital. It can quite simply be the difference between positive and negative outcomes in life.
From my experience of working across key stages I have found that the most successful transitions start early. For some, this is as far back as the middle of KS2 (especially for those with Education, Health & Care Plans). Meetings with parents and the student themselves should serve as a key starter to kicking-off the transition process. As with all students with additional needs, placing them in the middle of the situation then building provision around them is often the best way of dealing with the situation. The future setting needs to quickly build a picture of ‘what already works’, and then integrate that within their own practice and their own offer.
To aid this, key relationships need to be built between settings who regularly transfer pupils (this could be KS2-KS3 or KS4 into further education or even a PRU into mainstream). Knowing what a student has experienced previously and piecing together how and if that support can continue is really important to the successful transfer of all students. Furthermore, this can help the extended transition program as schools can have more informal aspects to a transition process in visits, meetings or even holding intervention sessions in the new setting. As these relationships grow it can support students and their families having more information about potential school choices and ensuring they are in the right place.
Ultimately, there isn’t a ‘fix all’ for nailing the transition process and it takes a great deal of careful planning twinned with a huge amount of flexibility to ensure that the transfer of a student is ultimately successful. Ensuring that the needs of the student are at the heart of every decision made around their transition is always something that should be taking place. Puzzling together the jigsaw of support will then inevitably, almost naturally, occur.
I will be speaking in more depth about this and how Beacon Academy have worked to ensure this process is something that has been successful in my JosieTV session on 12th January.
The creation of a new special school for 16-19 year olds in Scunthorpe is gathering pace ahead of its scheduled open date in September 2023.
As well as the build work being well underway, Trent View College has also moved on to a key milestone in the school’s development – recruiting the people who will get the school off to a successful start.
Sarah Parker, Trent View College’s Principal Designate, said: “This is a really exciting time in the Trent View College story. Not only are we seeing real physical progress on the site of the new school, but we are now in a position to start putting together the leadership team that will make the Trent View College ambition a reality. We’re inviting people interested in joining us to come along to one of two events at Holiday Inn, Doncaster this month to discover more about the new school and how they can be involved.
“We’re eager to hear from talented, dynamic and committed education leaders (and aspiring leaders) who want to help us build something incredibly special in Scunthorpe for 16-19 year olds. This is a once-in-a-career opportunity to be right there at the start of the creation of a new post-16 special school. People joining the team will be able to put their mark on something that will be a fantastic resource for the local community for years to come.”
The recruitment events will be held on Tuesday 11th October at 4.30pm- 6pm and Saturday 15th October at 9am – 11am at Holiday Inn Doncaster. Trent View College is part of Wellspring Academy Trust and leaders from across the Trust will be on hand at the events to also discuss leadership opportunities within Wellspring as a whole and at the 28 schools the Trust manages across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Wellspring schools comprise a mix of mainstream primary and secondary alongside special and alternative provision schools, offering a range of career opportunities both at school and at trust-level.
Dave Whitaker, Director of Learning at Wellspring, added: “We are always interested in meeting with education professionals who share our values and ethos. Our approach is focused on empathy and understanding, and putting our children and young people’s needs at the very heart of everything we do. As a fast growing multi-academy trust operating in a range of settings, we can help people to develop a career that really works for them. As well as Trent View College, we have a further two free schools in progress in Selby and Sheffield. There has never been a better time to join Wellspring.”
For more information, people can register their interest here