"Break down the barriers our students face"

Our Children in Need funded project update report was submitted on Tuesday 1st September 2020. It details some of the work we have done so far with this funding.

The funding allows us to offer sports sessions in the SEN schools in the Blackpool and Fylde areas. The six SEN schools we work in are Park Academy, Highfurlong, Woodlands, Westbury, Red Rose, and Pear Tree.

In these schools we work with a very broad spectrum of disabilities. Some of the disabilities the young people live with are intellectual disability, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, fragile x syndrome, angel man syndrome, PMLD, ADHD, auditory disabilities, cognitive disabilities, behavioural and emotional difficulties etc.

Due to this diversity in disabilities, it requires us to plan sessions around a variety of sports, so that everyone gets a chance to be involved. Some of the sports we offer are football, multi-skills physical activity sessions, boccia, new age curling, parachute games, catch and throwing games, handball, adapted volleyball, badminton, dodgeball and much more. The aims of all the sessions relate to our three objectives we agreed with Children in Need to measure.

The objectives for each session are:

  • To “reduce feelings of exclusion and marginalisation”
  • To “increase physical health”
  • To “empower people to try new things”

Feedback from each school has been fantastic.

Mr Johnson said, “The sessions Blackpool Community Trust have delivered through the Children in Need funding have had a massive impact on the pupils which have attended them. The pupils have commented about how the sessions have made them feel positive about themselves and given them the opportunity to develop new and existing skills.”

Miss Altham said, “The Community Trust staff providing the support have been fantastic, they have worked well with staff and pupils to break down the barriers our students face and ensure all activities are accessible for all learners.”

Miss Macleod said, “I would just like to say a massive thank you on behalf of students and staff to the community trust staff for the provision that we have received. The students love the session and your staff have worked very hard to develop a great relationship with all pupils. The pupils look forward to the sessions and this rapport helps them to get fully involved in the session. We have a diverse group of learners with a range of needs and each one is included in their own way and is celebrated and praised for their particular way of contributing.”.

A pupil said, “It is something I can do, and it is so fun”.

Another pupil said, “It is so much fun, I like the Trust staff. I like the games, they are fun”.

In March 2020 we had to adapt our sessions due to Covid-19. We put together videos and information sheets for our SEN students and posted them across our social media platforms, tagging in all the SEN schools we work with, so they could still engage in sports/physical activity sessions at home. We also offered a Zoom meeting to some of our SEN pupils where we did some online quizzes and a talked about how they were getting on during the lockdown

Statistics from the first year of the Children in Need funded project, up until Covid-19, saw us engage with 134 pupils, deliver 128.25 sessions hours and deliver 157 sessions.