Bright new beginnings at Sperrinview Special School!
SEPTEMBER 2012 was a special time for the pupils, staff and parents of Sperrinview Special School, as not only did this mark the beginning of a new school year, but also saw the official opening of a brand new section of the building.
Several special guests attended a glittering Opening Ceremony on September 24, as Sperrinview Principal, Ms Paula Jordan, cut the ribbon along with Tony Murphy, Chief Executive of the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB).
A special commemorative plaque was also unveiled, which marked the official opening of the new section of the school - now including extra classrooms as well as an independent life skills teaching area.
Sperrinview Special School was first occupied in September 1996, and officially opening in September of the following year.
Catering for approximately 100 pupils with severe learning difficulties, the school is co-educational, inter-denominational and controlled.
Phase 1 of the two-phase extension was opened at Sperrinview in December 2010, providing two new classrooms and an independent life skills teaching area, with the second phase representing the addition of another two classrooms.
The school is well equipped, and has specialised rooms for each of the therapists, ie Speech and Language, Occupational and Physiotherapist.
There is also a sensory garden, specialised play areas, two multi sensory rooms, sensory areas, soft play room, library, and a toy library.
The Principal, Vice Principal, twelve full-time teachers [including two job-shares], one part-time teacher, twenty four full-time and four part-time classroom assistants [including five job-shares], plan and implement programmes for pupils.
In addition the therapists [referred to above] have input, as per recommendations in pupils’ statements of special educational needs.
Others, including the secretary, caretaker, groundsman, school meals staff, supervisory assistants, cleaners, bus escorts and drivers also make valuable contributions to school life.
Pre-school children attend for either a morning or afternoon session.
The main school population is divided, on the basis of age, into eleven classes.
The junior section of the school includes pupils from Pre-School, JA, JB, J1, J2 and J3.
Middle school consists of Classes M1, M2 and M3 and the senior school comprises Classes S1, S2 and S3.
Pupils are given opportunities to explore the wider community through frequent environmental visits. Participation in events such as the local festival and feis, visits to theatres and involvement in events organised by other schools/colleges, provide opportunities to integrate.
Work experience placements and careers education programmes, including visits to local industries, are further examples of community links.
At Sperrinview, staff promise parents that they will:
• Put pupils first
• Treat pupils fairly
• Provide a stimulating, nurturing educational environment
• Ensure that the pupils will be safe, supported and happy
• Respect all
• Communicate effectively
• Be understanding and supportive
• Be reliable/dependable
• Be honest
• Be flexible
• Be empathetic
• Be innovative
• Value the role of parents and work in co-operation with them
• Exchange ideas and suggestions
• Ensure parents feel welcome
• Inspire confidence and trust
• Manage behaviour
• Ensure continuity and consistency
• Provide quality education – teaching and learning
• Endeavour to assist each pupil to reach their full potential
• Know the pupils’ individual needs
• Provide a broad, enriching curriculum
• Work with appropriate medical personnel to meet pupils’ medical needs
• Provide quality care and ensure safety
• Promote confidentiality
• Go the extra mile
• Behave professionally
Pupils have a number of opportunities to become involved in the community, including through South West College, which provides students with a host of experiences, meeting and working with students of a similar age and older.
Using the College canteen and other facilities, for instance, can be challenging but also rewarding.
Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services are provided by personnel employed by the Southern Trust, as per recommendations on individual pupils’ statements.
The direct telephone lines on which therapists may be contacted in school are:
Speech and Language Therapy Tel: 028 8772 0892;
Physiotherapy Tel: 028 8772 0893;
Occupational Therapy Tel: 028 8772 0894;
Parents/Guardians who have concerns in relation to therapy issues should contact Dr McAlinden, Consultant Paediatrician in Community Child Health, Tel 028 3752 2967.
Members of the Community Learning Disability Team also provide support for pupils, parents and staff.
Multi-Sensory Areas and Soft Play Room
The multi-sensory areas and soft play room house a selection of stimulating, interactive equipment. The soft play room is for younger pupils but the sensory areas are available to all.
Sensory Garden, Adventure Playground and Woodland Classroom
The sensory garden, adventure playground and woodland classroom provide a wealth of environmental and sensory learning experiences for all pupils.
Each year one group of pupils participates in horse riding. Moy RDA [Riding for the Disabled Association] provides excellent outdoor facilities, horses and volunteers to assist at the once fortnightly sessions.
Pupils, who are able to access the pools at Dungannon Leisure Centre, participate in swimming programmes.
Students from second level schools and colleges join with Sperrinview for this activity.
An Easy Bath [jacuzzi bath] is available in school.
As part of their Physiotherapy programme, a selected group of pupils attend the hydrotherapy pool adjacent to Lisanally School in Armagh on a rota basis.
The award winning school magazine is produced twice in the school year, at Halloween and Easter. It is an attempt to highlight, record and celebrate pupils’ achievements and events associated with school life.
With the acquisition of up-to-date ICT resources, the quality is continually improving.
Pupils are rewarded for their efforts on an ongoing basis.
In June each sector of the school hold a celebration event involving pupils, parents and others associated with the school, to publicly recognise the efforts and achievements of each pupil.
Links with Other Schools/Agencies
Pupils have opportunities to meet and share experiences with counterparts from other special schools within and beyond the SELB area.
In addition there are established links with nursery, primary and post-primary schools and colleges in the Dungannon and Cookstown Area.
Sperrinview is a member of the Dungannon Learning Partnership within the Dungannon and Cookstown Area Learning Community.
Academic lessons, environmental projects and sporting events are examples of such contact.
The local council, business fraternity, statutory agencies and charitable organisations also lend valuable and much appreciated support.
Barnardo’s Counselling Service
A trained counsellor from Barnardo’s has been assigned to Sperrinview from 9.30-11.30 each Tuesday. Parents, staff or pupils themselves, may make referrals to Mrs Patricia Lindsay.
This service is part of the Department of Education’s commitment to provide counselling for all post primary pupils in Northern Ireland.
For further information about Sperrinview Special School, you can Telephone 028 8772 2467, email email@example.com or log onto www.sperrinview.ik.org
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Friday 24 May 2013
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