School for special needs children opens

Tue 10 September 2019, 2:31 pm

A primary school in Peckham for children with special educational needs has opened, after being completely rebuilt with a range of extra facilities for pupils.

Cherry Garden Primary School is larger than the previous building and can accommodate 85 pupils with special education needs such as learning disabilities.

The site is home to specialist facilities such as a trampoline room for rebound therapy to help the development of motor skills, body awareness, balance, coordination and communication.

Cherry Garden also has a new hydrotherapy pool with climate control, so students can stay warm when going from the pool to the changing room.

Other specialist features at the school include a sensory room, art room, music room, music therapy room, food technology room and two soft play rooms.

There are dedicated support areas for teachers to work with parents on pupil development outside the school environment, and the new building has a training room for teachers from other schools.

The site also offers wider corridors to encourage independent mobility, and there is hoist coverage across the school including in all classrooms making all areas fully accessible.

The lower level of the school has the key stage one and key stage two classrooms with play areas divided up into a beach theme area, jungle area and sports area, to assist the school in teaching pupils how to navigate the real world environment.

Teresa Neary, headteacher at Cherry Garden School, said: “The children have responded really well to the new building. There is more space for children to independently transition around the school; they are calmer and even more engaged in the curriculum activities on offer.

"I was always keen to ensure that the school spaces allowed for the best possible opportunities for great learning to take place and alongside that the teachers had the best opportunities for great teaching. I also wanted a beautiful environment for both children and staff and the architects shared the same vision in terms of design. It is an incredible building and I still sometimes pinch myself that it’s our building.”

Councillor Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for children, schools and adult care, said: “This school is absolutely breathtaking. The facilities here are fantastic and I’m sure they will be hugely beneficial to pupils’ development. Community is really at the heart of this school so that not only will Cherry Garden pupils benefit from the specialist features but other children too.

“I am incredibly proud that we have a school like this in the borough delivering outstanding education provision and ensuring all children get the start in life they deserve.”