An infant’s school’s ambitious plans for a purpose-built sensory room to help children with special educational needs and disabilities to learn is a step closer, thanks to a Closer To You grant from Ecclesiastical Insurance and SPF Private Clients.
SPF Chief Operating Officer James Rodea is also deputy chair of governors at Wheatfields Infants School in St Albans, so when he heard about Ecclesiastical’s plans to give away money to good causes close to the hearts of their brokers and other partners he leapt at the chance. He put together a proposal on behalf of SPF, and it was approved.
‘We cater for children aged between three and seven,’ said James, ‘and we have a strong ethos of inclusion and a passion for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. Like many traditional schools, Wheatfields was built in the 1960s. We have classrooms that were never designed to hold thirty children and become noisy and hot very quickly, where it’s hard to regulate the amount of light that comes in, and where the need for multiple exits does have the downside that classrooms have become virtual corridors. These and other factors such as food smells from the dining hall are overstimulating for children with atypical sensory processing and not conducive to learning.
‘We have a finite amount of space, so the idea is to create a new dedicated area where we focus on lighting, textures, sounds and smells – there is evidence that for many children this can increase concentration, alertness, calmness, and improve learning.
‘It’s really important that no child should be allowed to “fall through the gap” or be “left behind” and that all our youngsters have access to a continuum of support that responds to their particular needs and enables them to develop and learn at their own pace, without any pressure. We are just starting to move forward with this project, so the donation from Ecclesiastical is very timely and incredibly generous.’