Dunhurst's Block 1 and 2 pupils have the opportunity to participate in the School's Community Service Programme. On Wednesday afternoons the pupils visit Steep Primary School and Hollywater School for the Learning Disabled to help out with various activities at these schools. The Programme runs for one term and pupils are only expected to do one term of Community Service in the whole of their two years as a Block pupil.
The community service programme is a fantastic opportunity for children to see the world outside the school and play a role in supporting and helping other people. The children very much enjoy taking part and become confident volunteers with valuable team work skills.
Chris Foster, teacher at Hollywater School, said: "The pupils at Hollywater have very complex needs and communication is often very difficult for them to understand or express. Dunhurst pupils have worked enthusiastically with the children, adapted to various roles - played games, helped create resources, acted and helped the children to access stories in a multi-sensory way as well as being sensitive to the pupils' needs. Our children have enjoyed their company."
This is what four current helpers at Hollywater have to say about their experience.
"The Hollywater pupils really look forward to seeing us which makes me feel it’s all worthwhile. I have enjoyed joining in with basket ball games with them, it's a lot of fun.”
"We have helped in sport lessons with everything from gymnastics to teaching ball skills and we join in with the teams. It really makes you feel like part of the Hollywater community.”
“I have been helping the infants with IT skills. I have learnt a lot from watching the teacher using sign language with some of them.”
“I have helped supervise music and dance activities with the infants. I enjoy the responsibility of helping out – it makes you feel more like an adult. I used to be wary of people with disabilities but now I feel more at ease with them and enjoy their company”
Dunhurst's Creative Studies teacher, Louise Banks, runs the Programme. Louise comments: "Collaborations with local schools and care organisations are developed in such a way as to create mutually beneficial partnerships. Through Community Service, pupils develop an empathy and awareness of the needs and outlook of others in the wider world. It builds the confidence and skills for the Dunhurstians to participate more fully in society and enables them to make a positive contribution to their community. Pupils’ involvement is seen as part of their education in citizenship and social and personal development."