Sanderson High School – “I have seen new friendships – it’s brilliant!”

Monday 29th October – Friday 2nd November 2018, 34 visitors

Sanderson High School is an ASN Secondary School which serves East Kilbride (near Glasgow) and the surrounding area and caters for pupils with Additional Support Needs from S1-S6. Amanda, one of the teachers and group leaders brought a group of 13-14 year olds to give them an experience away from home, with the aim to help develop their independent living skills and confidence. Half the group stayed only for the first half the week; the other half stayed on until the Friday.

This was Amanda’s fifth visit to the Lake District Calvert Trust (LDCT) although the school have been visiting the Centre for perhaps 15 years! Asked why they remain loyal to us Amanda replied, “Because it’s a specialist centre – the accommodation is adapted and suits our needs; the kitchen is used to working with children and adults who have dietary needs so we know that when we come here and ask for blended food we know that we are going to get blended food. Anytime we have made a request for anything it has been accommodated.” Amanda continues, “Comparing to a mainstream centre – there is no comparison. We come here because the staff are continuously working with students with ASN, so they ‘get’ the pupils that we bring.” Amanda was pleased to say that the pupils leave “a little more independent than when they arrive.”

Amanda and the group especially enjoyed the ghyll scrambling and she was impressed by how well the pupils ma naged and added “It was great for team building because the pupils have to help each other. For the more complex students the swing and the ‘rock and ropes‘  gives them the freedom that they don’t otherwise have.”

Amanda remarked that “the pupils have bonded with each other more when they are out of school – I have seen new friendships – and there are new teacher/pupil relationships; it’s brilliant! We now know the pupils better which helps when we get back to school. It breaks down the barriers; they have seen us fly down a zip wire and fall over in the ghyll!”

As Amanda alludes to, the week has opened up relationships between the staff and the pupils, which is so important. One particular non-verbal pupil, with very little communication has really opened up. “I have really got to know him; I now know that he has got a few phrases and I can communicate with him a lot better, and I can read his emotions. I can see how he responds when he’s happy and see how he responds when he’s not happy and I will be able to use that in school; I can now recognise the signs.”

I asked about the accommodation, and the catering as we often get great feedback about both, “The accommodation is great for a Centre, and the food is great too with accommodating staff in the kitchen!”

Amanda offered advice for those looking to book, “Definitely come and try it with a group.” Amanda mentioned the Introductory Weekends which we run from time to time, and thought how useful they would be “Just come and see what’s available, because if you have never been before and you are looking for somewhere that specialises – it’s second to none.”

Amanda finished off by describing the week as “Inspiring; just to see how the pupils managed against all the adversity they face. When you think we are having a bad day you just have to look at what these other people can achieve.”

Why not come and visit to be inspired and see what we have to offer for your school or care organisation?!


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