St. Francis Special School in Beaufort has launched a new funding drive to provide suitable playground facilities for students with high needs and complex disabilities
St Francis Special School (SFSS) is situated on the grounds of Mary of the Angels and caters for 50 students with a wide range of special needs incorporating moderate to severe/profound learning disabilities, ASD, life-limiting conditions and various syndromes and disorders.
Principal Liam Twomey “Our mission is to enable, encourage and enrich the lives of our students. The school is built around the needs of the students, where socialisation, fun and play are important parts of their experience.”
In 2015, a school extension provided specialised classrooms for three classes of students with severe/ profound difficulties and one reception class. However, the main school playground is inaccessible or unsuitable for many of these students.
The school is appealing for funding to build a specialised playground which will include a custom wheelchair swing, roundabout, wheelchair seesaw, sensory house and sand table.
Catriona Healy (Sev/Profound Class Teacher)
Children learn and develop a lot through play, and those with special needs are no exception. Play is a cornerstone of development for all children. In addition, play can support the specific difficulties a child might have. Play is really a kind of therapy for these students.
Louise Keating (Sev/Profound Class Teacher)
We want to offer a safe environment for stimulating the senses, encouraging imaginative play and exercising muscles while providing an inviting space for group play with other children. It would mean so much not only to their school life but also to the overall quality of life for these students.
The cost of proposed works will total 100,000 euro and the school is appealing for corporate donations, private donations and also building materials, skilled and non-skilled labour, design or building expertise and people’s assistance with fund raising efforts.