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Wings Cumbria Equine Facilitated Learning Program

At Wings Cumbria a large number of pupils are accessing an Equine Facilitated Learning Programme at a local stables.  Pupils are learning from the Outside the Classroom learning experience and benefit immensely. The Equine Facilitated Learning Programme has two educational tiers. Nine pupils are working towards AQA unit awards and since the beginning of this school year, between them, they have earned more than 100 certificates, in Horse Care, Stable Management and Riding. Four pupils have also progressed on to completing an EQL (Equine Qualification Limited) Level 1 and will be going on to Level 2 next year.  All of the participants agree that the opportunities have helped them learn new skills, overcome fears, have a sense of responsibility,  and improved their physical fitness and self-esteem.

Wings Cumbria Equine 1

Wings Notts introduces Sculpture Workshops

The Art Department at Wings Notts are developing lots of new and creative initiatives, one of which are the Thursday Sculpture Workshops

Pupils have been developing their skills in clay modelling around a wire frame, papier–mâché modelling using willow to build the shapes, soapstone carving, print and mask making using clay and mixed media.

Sculpture girl Notts

Plans for the summer are to construct earth sculptures around the school grounds of different animals found within the vast grounds of Wings Notts such as badgers and rabbits.

The school has welcomed James Sutton MRBS into the department to lead on this new three dimensional skills day. The classes have proved very popular with excellent attendance from all groups.  The pupil show lots of enthusiasm and are having fun which is vital to the pupils learning experience and their social and emotional well-being. 

Elizabeth (pictured) said; “It’s been really cool, I really enjoy the sessions”. 

We look forward to the summer and viewing the earth sculptures.

Holiday memories to chase the clouds away!

I'm pleased to write with the latest news about Wings School Cumbria. 

Holiday CumbriaHoliday Memories It may seem a long time ago now, but before the start of this term, two young people from the school had a very successful trip to Alton Towers and Splash Park – they both took part in a team-building high ropes challenge too. A group of young people from Wings Cumbria also enjoyed another holiday, this time to Bournemouth, which was a similar success. The young people enjoyed time on the beach, with some extremely warm weather adding to the enjoyment! Other fun activities included using the indoor and outdoor swimming facilities and trampolining and crazy golf were also on the schedule. The group also visited the Air Festival. The pupils behaved in an exemplary way throughout the stay and staff were extremely impressed with each of them and and extremely proud also. There were also trips to Blackpool and Edinburgh throughout the year where the young people enjoyed exploring the sights, whilst learning through their exposure to history, science, geography and social skills development.

Get Snappy! Staff member Paul McDowell went with some pupils to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Rheged Centre and on the way the pupils took the opportunity to take their own photographs from around the Lakes so they can enter their own competitions - good luck to our young photographers! In Mr McDowell’s Photography Class, two of our year 11 pupils were the first in Wings' history to gain grades in an AS Photography exam. 

Learning Outside the Classroom The Crocky Trail is a unique learning experience that covers all aspects of the curriculum and as such is an ideal day of learning outside the classroom, while being lots of fun at the same time! From physical education to learning about nature and the environment, our pupils and staff let their imaginations run wild at the Crocky Trail as they enjoyed the thrill of being in the great outdoors and putting their cunning and balancing skills to the test. They also had to work together as a team while putting their personal survival skills to the test! As one young person said: "We had a day in which we were able to succeed and achieve but watch out for the crocodiles!"

Sporty Success Wings Cumbria’s football team have been competing in tournaments, having been performing well in the football league throughout the previous school year and came close in two tournaments, getting to the final each time but narrowly losing out. Then came the final tournament of the school year, the biggest competition and the one every school wants to win, The Cooper Shield. Despite challenging rounds, more penalty shoot outs and drama the team won the cup. This is the first time Wings have won a trophy in over 15 years, the players played brilliantly and should be proud of themselves. Well done to them. All in all, another remarkable year of learning and achievement at Wings School Cumbria. Here's to more in 2017!

Old Arley Football Success

On Friday 10th February 2017, Arc School Old Arley travelled over to Walsall to play their third game of the season against a new team to the league, Elmwood School.

Old Arley Soccer1

The pitch and goals were very small, but our players knew how to work them to our advantage. Old Arley took the lead early but Elmwood soon equalised and began to control the game. However, a great kick from our Goalkeeper allowed the second goal of the day. Old Arley then were given a penalty it was converted beautifully to give Arc a comfortable 3-1 lead. Elmwood soon replied though, making the score 3-2 and really began to apply the pressure on Arc. However, Old Arley managed to intercept an Elmwood pass to smash home a fourth goal to and seal a comfortable 4-2 win. 

A game full of action and a hat trick leaving Old Arley in the top three!! Well done lads!

Wings School Notts, “Outstanding” in Care now receives "Good" from Ofsted for Education

Specialist residential school Wings School Nottingham has been rated as Good for its education provision by regulator Ofsted. The news comes just weeks after Ofsted's inspectors found Wings Nottingham care provision to be "outstanding".

Inspectors who visited the school praised its broad curriculum and the quality of teaching and assessment.

This, they said, allowed pupils to make good progress from their mostly low starting points. The report added: "Disadvantaged pupils make strong progress towards challenging targets and begin to close the gaps in their knowledge, understanding and skills."

The report also highlighted that all pupils who left the school at the end of Year 11 in the last two years had moved on to suitable destinations in further education or training.

There was also praise for pupils' attendance and behaviour which, it was noted, "demonstrated strong improvements once they have settled into the expectations of the school."

blazer smallThe school provides residential education and care for young people aged between 9 and 17 and who have social, emotional and mental health challenges. Pupils can be supported at the school on a daily, 38 or 52-week basis. The school provides therapeutic support which includes clinical and educational psychology, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

School Principal John Gibbon said: "We're delighted that the achievements of pupils and staff have been recognised in this way by Ofsted. The school was recently also found to provide Outstanding care and this combination of quality education and care will help pupils achieve to the best of their ability."

Lee Reed, Chief Operating Officer at Kedleston Group, which owns and operates several specialist day and residential schools including Wings Notts, said: "This report, coupled with our recent outstanding rating for care, is testament to the hard work and commitment of both pupils and staff at Wings School Nottingham. We strive to provide the best possible environment for learning and for children to achieve and we're proud this has been recognised by Ofsted."

At the end of 2016 inspectors who visited the school said they had rated Wings Nottingham as Outstanding because: "From their starting points, young people have made exceptional progress in all areas of their lives. Over time, concerning and potentially risky behaviours of young people have reduced considerably and they develop skills in being able to better consider and address their own behaviours and emotions."

They also found that young people's attendance and engagement in formal education is excellent and exceeds national averages while staff work very closely and proactively with the school to ensure consistency of care and support to young people.

Inspectors also said that young people gain GCSE qualifications and make successful transitions to further education or training provision and that this significantly improves their chances of securing employment as adults.

You can read both reports here:

Wings Notts Care Ofsted Report:

Wings Notts Education Ofsted Report:  

Olsen House School opens new ASC provision in Liverpool

On Thursday 2nd February 2017, the new ASC provision, at Olsen House School, in Crosby, Liverpool, was opened by well-known boxing family members Steven and Callum Smith who are from the city. 


The school’s “Bluebird” unit, named by a current pupil, is a specialist ASC-friendly provision. While set within Olsen House School, the unit has its own separate entrance and outside space for pupils.

Decorated throughout with calm, low arousal colours, the provision offers the latest sensory-friendly changeable lighting in order to create an autism-friendly learning environment. Areas within the unit have been developed to support the different learning styles and sensory needs of the individual pupils. 

Bluebird also offers smaller class sizes with high staff ratios, in which students can thrive following their own individualised learning pathway, supported by the specialist staff. The learning spaces have been designed to enable pupils to work in an environment that is comfortable for them and takes into consideration their sensory needs. 

All pupils will have the opportunity to work with the school’s speech and language therapist with a focus on social communication, including listening and understanding and expressive communication. There will also be programmes to develop skills to engage and work others and develop positive relationships.

Head teacher Alison Ford said: “Specialist staff will be working in Bluebird. This is a new exciting addition at the school and has been developed to meet the needs of pupils who may have a primary diagnosis of ASC alongside other diagnosis including ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and sensory processing disorders. 

“We are delighted the Smith brothers will be joining us to officially open the new unit today.”

The four brothers of the Smith family - Paul, Stephen, Liam and Callum - made history when they became the first family to crown four siblings as British champions.

Smith Brothers

Their sister Holly, 15, has autism and the Smith family actively promote and support autism awareness as much as they can. The brothers all fight with the word “Autism” featured prominently on the back of their shorts. They do it to honour Holly and to raise awareness of the condition. 

To arrange a visit to the Bluebird ASC provision at Olsen House or to speak with the Head Teacher, Alison Ford please contact her directly on 0151 924 0234 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Olsen House School is a specialist school, in Crosby, Liverpool. It can support young people aged between seven and 16 who have various educational and social needs.

callum stephen smith open bluebird

WBC Silver champions Callum and Stephen Smith with Olsen House Year six pupil Brandon