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VIP Visitor Officially Opens New Specialist School

Pupils at a brand-new specialist school were joined for a grand opening by VIP guests including their Member of Parliament.

The students, from Brookways School in North Cheam, London, were joined by their families, friends, staff and special VIP guest Mr Paul Scully MP, the constituency representative for Sutton and Cheam.

The school supports children and young people who are on the autism spectrum and as part of the celebration, students took their guests on a tour of their school, gave presentations and answered questions about what they think about Brookways.

There was also a feast for guests including cakes baked by the children themselves.

Brookways Opening

Photo shows (left to right) Paul Brosnan, Paul Scully MP, Melanie Whitfield and Richard Tassell

Mr Scully cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the school and unveiled a plaque to mark the event. There was also a talk by the students themselves as well as a speech by a student’s parent praising the school and its staff.

The independent specialist school offers places to children aged between seven and 16 with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, higher functioning autism, social emotional and mental health issues, ADHD and other challenges. The school supports young people for whom other education environments have not been able to meet their needs.

Head Teacher Melanie Whitfield is an experienced ASC practitioner and her vision for Brookways is for it to provide a vibrant learning space where up to 40 children can receive the educational and additional support they need to help them achieve their full potential. Additional therapeutic support such as including occupational therapy and speech and language therapy will be available “in-house”.

She said: “The grand opening was a chance for the pupils to show their loved ones and other invited guests just how proud they are of their school and to celebrate the many successes they have already achieved, even in the short time the school has been open. They were all specially chosen to be the first students as they will act as role models for the pupils who follow.

“Inviting a large number of people into the environment may have been challenging for some of the young people but they were all superb and were delighted to show people around their school.”

Mr Scully said: “There has been a shortfall of special educational needs provision in the area and the opening of Brookways is to be welcomed. It is clear how proud the young people are of their school and how much they enjoy coming here. It was a pleasure to meet them and I was delighted to open the school.”

Chief Executive of Kedleston Group, Paul Brosnan, said: “There are only two school rules at Brookways and they are ‘be kind, work hard’. We can assure all the young people here at Brookways that we will always work hard to give them whatever they need to succeed.”

Before the school was opened the team worked with architects and building teams to ensure the environment at the school was built in a bespoke way, creating learning spaces which are calm and welcoming and which take into account the sensory and other needs of the children.

The school environment is enabling for young people with consideration on colour, lighting and other elements.

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