Case Study - Freehold Community Primary Academy
The primary school is in Chadderton, Oldham is a mainstream school with 486 children, of which 77 have special educational needs. Freehold Community Primary have children from nursery through to year 6. The school is in a deprived area of England and the children do not have enough sensory provision to go round.
The school faces additional challenges within the comunity as many families treat special needs support as a taboo topic. This means that the support the children get in school is vital to their wellbeing.
The school was brought to the attention of Fledglings through the Oldham Parent Carer Forum (PCF). The challenge was how to fund such a provision, and once funding sourced how to ensure that those funds were put to the best use. Fledglings found an opportunity through the East Lancashire Freemasons Charity (ELMC) to provide fund enabling them to supply items to help.
Fledglings is the not-for-profit shop of the national charity Contact. Part of what they do is try to find organisations that will fund sensory products for schools and community hubs, especially in deprived areas where the children that attend are not likely to have items at home to help. Mainstream schools cater for a wide range of children and children with SEN provision can be quite limited through their budgets.
The connection was made to East Lancashire Freemasons, through both Lisa’s husband and a supplier of Fledglings. The Freemasons raise a lot of money for many charities across the country. Each area has its own fundraising team that help local charities and organisations. A request that was made to the ELMC and it was successfully granted. This was then matched by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the national Freemason charity.
The dots were joined up when Lisa realised there was an opportunity for a school in Oldham. Lisa was aware of the need through previously setting up a Sensory Toy Lending Library with the Oldham Parent Carer Forum. This organisation is run through Point and it was through the connection with Andrea Greenwood their development manager, that Lisa from Fledglings requested details of a school in need.
The aim was to find a school that would benefit from a charitable donation from the East Lancashire Freemasons Charity, that would improve the school day for those children in the school that have a SEN provision. The next step, was to work with the school and them their parents to identify the products that would bring the most benefit. Finally, Fledglings to arrange for the items to be delivered in adavnce of the end of the school year.
The school was selected based on the number of children that needed the support, the location and the number of free school meals that were claimed. By working with the PCF team, they could advise on where the benefit would make the most difference. Freehold Community Primary Academy is fortunate in that the school has two SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) Adele Blackburn and Danielle Sparks. These two ladies work tirelessly to provide the extra support that the children in their care need. To establish what products were needed and would help the most, they discussed the options with the parents of the children. All of them were aligned and from that using the budget they picked a selection of products from the Fledglings website.
The products that the school and parents chose to help included:
- A mini trampoline - these are used to help children regulate their temperature. They are used often and more than one is needed when you have 77 children.
- A Whizzy Dizzy – this help with balance, special awareness, and gross motor skills.
- Two Fit Chairs - acting as a sensory fidget tool, our students can get the continual sensory output they need to focus on learning in the classroom (through bouncing).
A Squeeze seat - this canoe is a perfect element to exercise / calming process, thanks to the pressure exerted around the bodies of the small ones. It helps children with sensory processing disorders, autism, and ADHD.
- A set of Exploration Circle Set with Colour Trays - these trays allow for varied materials to be placed in each to help those with a touch sensory need.
- A Balancing path – this helps children to develop their balance and physical motor skills as you can increase the challenge levels.
- Two Fidget Foot Rollers – these are for the classroom as they allow the user to burn excess energy whilst in a seated or standing position. This can allow the user to increase their focus/concentration in the classroom or work environment.
- A Trace and Balance board – helps with balance, spatial awareness and gross motor skills.
- A Therapy Peanut Ball - encourages children to engage core muscles to build strength and improve posture.
- A pack of Glitter Tubes – provides sensory and visual stimulation.
- A Movin’ Sit Cushion – can help improve posture, provide sensory feedback and calm fidgeters - helping children to remain focused for longer.
- A pack of Tactile Matts – these are ideal for colour recognition and sensory activities because each glove has a different texture.
"Hi everyone, Thank you so much for this. We are thrilled. We really appreciate it. The difference these products make to the children is great" Adele and Danielle.
The items that the school have received will help the children as they start the new school year in September. Many of the smaller items will be used in the classroom. The SENCO team are looking to enhance the sensory space they have over the summer holidays and are looking to create an outdoor space subject to funding. Some of the children struggle to play outside with so many others running around and they need their own space.