Case Study: St Peters School
Celebrating Difference -
St Peter’s Church of England Primary School
Based in Hawkney near Tunbridge Wells, St Peter’s Church of England Primary School is a small school with just over 200 children aged between 4 and 12. Always aiming to be a centre of excellence, St Peter’s welcomes a diverse community, whilst ensuring every child achieves their full potential.
In 2021, St Peter’s relocated to a new, purpose-built building that allowed them to support a larger number of children. This expansion of pupils meant the needs of the children at the school changed as SENCO, Vicky Jenner explains:
“As our school expanded, it became apparent that we also had a much more diverse school community, and so we wanted to embrace this and support everyone’s needs to our best ability. One way of doing this was to embrace diversity by teaching the children more about disability.”
Vicky led an awareness day that the school named ‘Celebrating Differences’ which allowed the children to gain a more in-depth understanding of disability.
“We have one child currently learning braille at St Peter’s, so we asked their teaching assistant to provide the children with a lesson on it,”, said Vicky. “Another teacher gave a lesson on sign language, and we also had a short presentation from a vision impairment expert. Three of our children gave a wonderful presentation about their experience of dyslexia, we also had Makaton lessons and art challenges. However, we really needed to offer the children an insight into physical disability, preferably through someone that could speak from their own personal experience.
“I had heard about Bascule Disability Training’s school awareness days, from a friend who is another SENCO at a different primary school, and Chris came highly recommended.
“Chris visited the school for the day and led several different sessions, discussions, activities and games, all specifically tailored to each year group. Chris told the children about practical things like how he drives a car and lives independently on a day-to-day basis, and that really opened up the children’s eyes. It let them imagine life from his perspective.”
A positive learning experience
“After the Celebrating Differences day, we had such positive feedback from the parents,” said Vicky. “One said that their child came back and talked continuously about the day and their new knowledge of disability. Another said her daughter had spoken about the questions she had asked Chris and explained how positive and encouraging Chris had been – the children seemed to have learnt a lot!”
Learning about difference
“I think anyone can stand up and talk about disability in PHSE lessons, but it really resonates with the children when it comes from someone who understands it, lives and experiences it every day.” said Vicky.
“Chris has discovered a range of unique methods of reaching all age groups, and so all the children are engaged, and absorbed in all the activities and discussions. They asked him thoughtful and well-considered questions and were really responsive to his activities, and the younger pupils loved playing Boccia!
“Many parents commented on how their children had really empathised and understood disability after Chris’s workshops. They were able to understand things from his perspective.
“Chris’s choice of activities and discussions make it very real for the children, it gives them a very important and meaningful learning experience.”