New £15,000 sensory play area helps pupils learn

Children, parents and teachers are to celebrate the completion of a £15,000 sensory play area and garden at their school, funded through the Realise Foundation charity.

The work has been done at Blackfriars School, Newcastle, which is attended by children with physical disabilities or with learning disabilities.
The school applied for funding to create the garden in order to support pupils in their learning and development.
A tea party is to be held on Wednesday, 6 November, to mark completion of the work and to introduce the garden to pupils and the wider community.
Ruth O’Connor, assistant head at the school, said: “This was a neglected part of our school grounds which has been transformed into a wonderful sensory experience.
“Our pupils, particularly those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, learn through their senses and this garden allows them to see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
“It is also a resource for groups who come to the school to visit. They can now enjoy a real connection with nature.”
The Realise Foundation, which is part of the Aspire Group, supported building of the garden with a £15,000 grant. Teams of apprentices from Aspire’s training company PM Training carried out the work, thereby gaining valuable work experience.
In addition colleagues from Aspire’s asset management & development and employment & skills teams carried out a total of 108 hours of volunteering at the school to help improve the grounds and plant new shrubs and bushes.
Will Nixon, chief executive of the Realise Foundation, said: “The teachers, helpers and parents at Blackfriars are inspirational in the work they do.
“It has been a privilege as a local community organisation to support them and create this wonderful new play area and sensory garden.”