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Rebound Therapy Unit for Disabled Children

posted on 19 June 2017

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The Royal Arch Freemasons of Warwickshire have made a substantial impact on this special school

With the support of Royal Arch Freemasons in Warwickshire the Wilson Stuart School is able to provide greater support for their pupils.

Wilson Stuart is a Special Academy located in Perry Common, Erdington in the north of Birmingham. It aims to empower pupils to establish their own place within society with as much independence, confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness as possible, irrespective of any disability, gender, cultural or linguistic differences.

It caters for 240 pupils aged 2-25 years and as the School's website outlines 'some pupils have additional difficulties including sensory impairment, learning difficulties, communication difficulties or complex medical conditions. It has outstanding purpose built facilities and highly trained, enthusiastic and committed staff. This combination enables it to provide the specialised individual programmes required by its pupils'.

A nursery accommodates up to 12 children and there are separate Primary and Secondary Departments. The Sixth Form programme offers a variety of academic and vocational qualifications. It helps prepare students for life post 19 by offering valuable extra curricular activities, work experiences and delivering key life skills as part of the overall curriculum. September 2013 saw the Academy launch a vocational programme for students aged 19-25, which has been developed in partnership with University College Birmingham.

The school is very highly rated; the last 5 OFSTED inspections have all resulted in an 'Outstanding’ report the latest taking place in February 2015. The school are justifiably very proud of their achievements and strive daily to maintain excellent standards.

In 2010, Wilson Stuart established a pilot study into the potential impact that Rebound Therapy might have on pupils, most especially those with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD). They utilised different organisations who provided taster sessions and it became apparent quite quickly that it was having have a significant and beneficial impact on learning. After this successful pilot, they purchased a rebound therapy trampoline bed and trained one of their staff as a rebound therapy coach. Over the next three years, rebound therapy became embedded into the curriculum. They trained an additional three staff and had, by November 2014, maximised the delivery of this therapy for the children with complex physical needs.

But the provision of this support was made difficult by the physical limitations of the school buildings. The class sessions of rebound therapy were carried out in the Hall space of the Secondary School, with one or two students on the trampoline bed at any one time and the remainder of the group working on a different physical development therapy called Sherbourne Movement with other staff at ground level. While this took place the hall, generally used as a gym, was unavailable for use by other pupils. Usage of the hall had to be rationed with some effect on the curriculum of others. Also not all of the children could be placed in the hoist which was needed to lift them onto the trampoline denying them the opportunity to take part and benefit from the therapy.

The school needed a dedicated Rebound Therapy Room specially designed with two beds, large and small and most importantly built at floor level. The RA Benevolent Fund were delighted to help by offering to fund the purchase and installation of the necessary equipment including trampoline beds, matting and the hoists needed to transfer children from and to wheelchairs to the tune of £23,000. But once work commenced it transpired, upon excavating the selected area, the location could only accommodate one bed. However, a previously planned extension for the nursery area was then rearranged to accommodate the second bed within the original budget but this then became a two-phased project and our funding was split.

In March 2016, Members of the RA Benevolent Fund Committee visited Wilson Stuart School to accompany their President, Michael Irving, when he presented a cheque for £13,200 and opened the first phase rebound therapy room. A sponsored 'Bounceathon' was held to showcase the event.

We now look forward to Friday 13th October, for an official opening of the new extension by the new Lady Mayoress, Councillor Anne Underwood and Mr Colin Diamond, CBE, Birmingham City Director of Children's Services when the ME Grand Superintendent, E Comp Philip L. Hall accompanied by the President, Michael Irving, will make a presentation of a second cheque to the school on behalf of the RA Benevolent Fund.

Wilson Stuart School now has 7 qualified therapists and Rebound Therapy is part of the curriculum for all those PMLD children who need it. It has already proved immensely beneficial; not only to these children but also to the school as a whole by releasing the main Hall for activities that benefit the other children.

By their generosity, the Royal Arch Freemasons of Warwickshire have made a substantial impact on this special school and the very special children that attend it.

To see children using the facility and what the school has to say click http://www.wilsonstuart.co.uk/about-us/rebound-therapy/

Rebound Therapy Unit for Disabled Children