Holiday activity club days offer a ‘lifeline’ for families

Teddy Tonkiss and Brandon Lambert with Keith Jepson of Passmaster Coaching and Bikeability

A specialist education academy in Shrewsbury says it is planning to hold more ‘holiday club days’ this summer following the huge success of its latest sessions.

Severndale Specialist Academy at Monkmoor, which is part of the Learning Community Trust, specialises in educating young people with moderate, severe and complex learning difficulties.

It took part in the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, set up by the Government for school aged children from reception to year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals.

Maddison Iamandi having fun

Parents said the scheme, which ran for four days over easter, offered them a ‘lifeline’ and provided them with ‘a well needed bit of respite’.

Assistant principal Lorna Matley said Severndale had funding to run a further 10 days during the summer holidays – enough to offer at least one day to all pupils who receive benefits-related free school meals.

“The school holidays are a pressure point for all families, but especially those who have children with additional needs,” she said.

“There is very little for the families of Severndale pupils to access during the holiday period, so the HAF holiday sessions are particularly welcomed by our parents.

“We know that the school holidays can be a challenging time for Severndale families, and it is important to us that they can access as much support as possible when school is closed.

“Our pilot HAF project provided four days for our Pathway One learners, including multi-sport street games, arts and crafts, bike-ability sessions, cooking and messy play.”

The sessions, which were run in partnership with specialist coaching company Passmaster, lasted four hours on each day and included a free lunch.

Lorna said: “We received some wonderful feedback from parents, who told us how much their children had enjoyed themselves, and all the outside play.

“One told us how it was so reassuring to know their son was in safe hand and happy while they had a coffee in peace – describing it as ‘bliss’.

“Another said the sessions were a lifeline to them, giving them the best end of term break they had had. The children loved it, and we could all see how happy they were by the smiles on their faces.”

The Learning Community Trust, which has been running since 2017, has a number of Shropshire schools under its wing including Hadley Learning Community, Ercall Wood, Telford Priory, Burton Borough and Charlton secondary schools in Telford.

It also runs Queensway special school, plus primary schools in Hadley, Wellington, Crudgington, and the newly opened primary school at Allscott Meads, on the site of the former sugar beet factory.



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