Congratulations to Mark Kirkdale who completed the Brighton Marathon on Sunday in 1 hour 43 mins!
Thank you Mark for your amazing effort for Woodlands Meed and Kangaroos and to everyone who has sponsored Mark.
Thank you Mark for your amazing effort for Woodlands Meed and Kangaroos and to everyone who has sponsored Mark.
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Students (and staff!) from Mountain and Lake class had a brilliant time at Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove recently where they had the opportunity to experience a number of different sports.
Sports included wheelchair basketball, visually impaired cricket, blindfolded football, table top cricket, JOLF and wheelchair cricket.
This was a fantastically successful day where our students were able to try a range of inclusive sports which they thoroughly enjoyed.
Well Done B1 & B2!
B1 & B2 completed The Brighton Marathon at the weekend already raising over £1,000 for Friends of Woodlands Meed!
Woodlands Meed Deputy Head Teacher, Tom Brown and his friend once again have completed a full marathon dressed as the Bananas in Pyjamas to raise money for Woodlands Meed. You might just spot B1 & B2 in some future marathon events too, keep your eyes ‘peeled’!
There’s still time to sponsor them and thank you to everyone who already has!
Whilst listening to the radio on her way to work at Woodlands Meed College, teacher Yasmine Joy heard that Zoe Ball was asking for people to text or write in questions for Author David Walliams.
Since Yasmine’s class were currently reading the David Walliams classic,"Bad Dad", as part of their police academy project she decided to challenge her class to come up with some questions to send to Zoe.
No one could believe it when Zoe’s team contacted Yasmine’s class as "superfans" and asked them to do a surprise zoom with David Walliams. As an extra surprise all the class also received a signed copy of David’s new book "Mega Monster".
Five students were selected to ask questions and they greeted Zoe and David wearing face masks of Zoe and David. The students were told that they would speak to Zoe, but they didn’t know they would get to speak to David too. Teacher, Yasmine Joy commented ‘It was an incredible experience for all involved and the students really loved getting to ask questions directly to David about his books, I’m so glad we emailed Zoe’
The students had lots to say about the experience too, "I love David Walliams, this is amazing", "Zoe Ball is so lovely, I hope we get to meet her one day" and "Are we really going to meet them?" were just a few of the comments.
Highlights of the students online meeting were broadcast on Thursday’s radio show as part of Zoe’s revived Live and Kicking feature called Cloud 9 as part of BBC Radio 2’s Summer of ’96 Season.
Local business KPS Services kindly donated 12 log seats for our Forest School this week. The logs mean we are now able to seat a class for circle activities during our Forest School sessions.
Forest School teacher, Naomi Blee was delighted with the delivery ‘the children are really enjoying the log seats, they make a fantastic addition to our Forest School area and will make a big difference to some of the activities we can do, thank you to KPS’.
An amazing £600 was raised last weekend with a cake in the garden and cookbook sale organised by one of our parents. The money raised is going to the Food Tech Department for new equipment.
Transport driver, Trevor Moore hasn’t let lockdown stop him from raising funds for Woodlands Meed School and College. Despite a fundraising biking tour of his beloved homeland of Northern Ireland being cancelled last year because of Covid, Trevor has continued to raise funds by collecting money at any socially distanced biking events that have been possible over the last few months.
Trevor has a long history of fundraising for local good causes using his bike and vast knowledge of biking events, especially in Ireland. It was through Trevor that Woodlands Meed were nominated as the Triumph Owner Motor Cycle Club’s (TOMCC), West Sussex, charity of 2021.
Trevor said ‘I am now 75 years old and feel lucky to be able to share my biking experience with other enthusiastic bikers and organizing tours of Ireland by bike is just one of the ways I have raised money for lots of good causes over the years and I’m delighted to be able to now do this for Woodlands Meed. I see every day how fantastic the students I take to and pick up from School and College are and how they benefit from a place like Woodlands Meed.’
Trevor is planning to continue his fundraising in August by taking a group of keen bikers on a Northern Ireland tour, sharing his vast local knowledge and expertise. If you would like to join Trevor and friends on the tour get in touch with Trevor on 07592609093.
The Grand Brighton Executive Chef leads virtual cook along for special needs students
Following on from the success of their virtual careers week, students at Woodlands Meed College in Burgess Hill have been cooking up a storm with the help of Executive Chef Alan White of The Grand Brighton. As well as the virtual cook along under Alan’s direction the students also learned about working in hotel kitchens and the hotel industry.
Andi Hirons, People Director at The Grand Brighton gave the students an overview about the different opportunities available at The Grand Brighton and in hospitality in general and Alan White explained the personal attributes they look for in the kitchen staff.
Both Andi and Alan have worked at The Grand Hotel for 15 years and were able to give the students a very clear insight in to the working life of a hotel and the passion they felt for the hotel and the industry.
During the cook along Alan demonstrated and supported the students to make a delicious Eggs Benedict, sharing chef’s tips of the trade with his delighted audience. Alan was able to see online what the students had produced and was most impressed by their effort and enthusiasm. He gave feedback on how some of the plates could be improved and tips for next time.
Executive Chef Alan White said after the event “It was an absolute pleasure to work with such passionate, focused and exciting students from Woodlands Meed College… the energy on the TEAMS session was amazing, they did a brilliant job preparing the classic “Eggs Benedict”. I was very proud to be part of the session, thank you! Keep it cooking guys…”
Andi Hirons, People Director added “What a fabulous session! Key to our success at The Grand is working in the local community providing opportunities and access to careers for adults who may perceive these to be out of reach. We strive to provide innovative work experience offerings to inspire young students from diverse backgrounds, into a career in hospitality. Our “Taste of Hospitality” hands-on sessions play a key role in showcasing the skills required outside of an academic background. These events often lead to meaningful work experience placements, prior to securing paid employment with us. We are keen to develop partnerships with colleges and schools to ensure that students with learning disabilities know they are valued in the workplace, and can reach their full potential.”
Adam Rowland, Head teacher at Woodlands Meed commented ‘Meaningful encounters with workplaces like The Grand Hotel Brighton give our students the opportunity to see different careers and workplaces that might interest them in the future. Being able to do a virtual cook along with Alan and hear from Andi about working life in a hotel was really appreciated by the students and staff who took part, thank you to Andi and Alan in making this such a positive experience for our students.’
The students were buzzing with enthusiasm after the session, when asked what they enjoyed about the experience the feedback was very positive. ‘I really enjoyed learning about what jobs they do at the hotel.’, ‘The cooking and the eating!’, ‘I really liked the chef he gave good information’ were just some of the comments. ‘How to cook Eggs Benedict’, ‘How to cook portions’ and ‘How to cook safely’ were mentioned when asked what they felt they learnt.
This event is part of Woodlands Meed focus on supporting young people on their journey to employment and offer a broad range of ideas and success stories of those with SEND.
Pupils and Teachers from Woodlands Meed Special School in Burgess Hill were over the moon to receive news that £1040 of Usborne books are heading their way after a fantastic joint fundraising effort by keen readers and local Usborne Books seller Amanda Saunders.
This is the third year that the School pupils have taken part in the ‘Ready Steady Read and Listen Challenge’ organised by Amanda and coordinated at Woodlands Meed by Assistant Head Teacher, Martin Woods.
The children managed to raise £650 through their sponsored read and listen during the School’s Book Week back in April. Usborne added 60% through their Ready Steady Read and Listen Scheme which meant the School has an incredible £1040 to spend on new books.
Martin Woods was delighted to be able to order so many new books for the pupils
"We are incredibly grateful to our generous parents and supporters for helping us raise this money and to Amanda at Usborne for helping us make this money go even further. Being able to choose fantastic books for our children to enhance and support their learning and nurture a love of books and reading is amazing. We are so proud of the fantastic reading and listening the children did during our Book Week to help achieve this.’
A spectacular week of interactive experiences to inform, educate and celebrate opportunities for young people with SEND
Popular comedian, TV personality and SEND ambassador, Rosie Jones and ‘The Greatest Dancer’ star, Andrew Self got Woodlands Meed’s virtual careers fair off to a dynamic start this week as they appeared on screen across classrooms.
More inspirational talks followed throughout the week from Robert White, Autistic comedian from Britain’s Got Talent, Luke Stephenson, a comedian with Tourettes, Joe James, world renowned Autistic Photographer and Chris Bonnello, Autistic author of The Underdogs books and Autisticnotweird.com website.
The event is Woodlands Meed’s first virtual careers fair and offered students the chance to hear from a range of inspirational speakers about how they have coped with the challenges of SEND to be able to find the careers they now enjoy. One of the key messages repeated by all the speakers was
“Don’t let anything hold you back”
Rosie Jones, talked about her career to date and her new children’s book ‘The Amazing Edie Eckhart’. She told students about her time at school and how she enjoyed English the most because her teacher always told her she could do better and she wanted to prove him right! Rosie also gave an excellent insight into the comedy circuit. Her advice to students was not to think of the future as a whole because it could be overwhelming, but just focus on the next step. She said after the event
“I loved speaking at the virtual careers fair. It was the most perfect start to my week. I just hope next time we can do it in person! “
Andrew Self, a dancer and model with Down Syndrome answered the pupil’s questions about dance and gave a performance which all the students really enjoyed. His message was simple
“If you enjoy something just go for it!”
Autistic Photographer, Joe James talked about photography and his job as a security guard. His key message to the students was - don’t let anyone hold your back or tell you your worth.
Actor, Luke Stephenson who has Tourettes, talked about his acting career and the misconceptions around Tourettes that it’s not just swearing. He told the students to
“Always believe in yourself! Go out and smash it! “
Chris Bonnello, Autistic author of the Under Dogs series of books, encouraged students to keep their career options open. He also gave them tips on how to prepare for interviews and how to talk about autism in a positive way. He advised the students to 'play to their strengths' and 'to recognise what they are good at'.
Britain’s Got Talent contestant, Robert White an Autistic comedian, writer and musician spoke about his diagnosis, and created some short musical numbers for the pupils live online and answered questions about Britain’s Got Talent.
Additionally, the week long event also connected the students with local businesses and employers with a series of engaging talks. The students had a chance to hear from a range of local employers about job opportunities and potential career paths available to them as well as ask questions.
Local businesses Albion in the Community, Places for People, Kanwish Designs, Sharpe Cat Printing, Dozy Pheasant Brewing Co, Mother Goose Swim School, Lipstick & Barrel and Nails by Vivienne all took part giving students a broad view of workplaces and what future careers and employment might look like.
Across the UK only 6% of people with SEND are currently employed and in Sussex the statistic is even more shocking with only 2% employed, with over 70% of those who are able wanting to work.
Adam Rowland, Head teacher and his team are passionate about changing this statistic for their students
“We are really excited to offer our students the chance to take part in our first virtual careers fair. Being able to connect with employers, local businesses and to hear inspirational stories from some well known faces like Rosie Jones and Andrew Self has been a unique opportunity to give our students an insight into what the future could hold and hear from speakers who have dealt with some of the challenges our students face. It is a great start in helping to encourage our young people to feel inspired about their own transition and career paths”.
“The week has been a fantastic opportunity for us to work collaboratively with local businesses and our SEND advocates to inspire and support our students to think about their future and we will build on this week’s success to grow and develop our support of SEND employment opportunities.”
The students also heard from some Woodlands Meed Alumni. Carl Morgan, an ex-pupil, spoke about how despite his struggles with reading and writing has set up his own business - Sussex Prestige Cars which is thriving. His key message to the students was it doesn’t always have to matter about qualifications, work the hardest you can, go the extra mile and be the best at what you can do.
The feedback and comments from the students was testimony to what many had taken away from the week,
“Rosie’s disability hasn't stopped her. I feel like nothing is going to stop me. “
“You can do anything if you put your mind to it “
“You can still succeed even with a disability”
“The way he decided to talk about the way he has autism and that he had challenges to overcome. “
“He was funny and told us funny stories and inspired us to be ourselves and no matter how far our dreams are we can reach it. “
“I learnt that you should never give up if you are being bullied or being called ‘not good enough’. Joe James didn’t give up, he got up and became more confident in life.”
This event is part of Woodlands Meed’s focus on supporting young people on their journey to employment and offer a broad range of ideas and success stories of those with SEND who have bucked the trend and built a successful career doing something they enjoy.
To find out more about supporting people with SEND in the workplace, sharing your careers experience with our students or how we can help support your business with SEND work placements please contact email@example.com
A generous donation to the Friends of Woodlands Meed has meant 7 brand new laptops have been provided to students of Woodlands Meed that were struggling to have access to online learning during the current lockdown.
After hearing on the news how many children around the country were without access to online learning, the kind donor got in touch to see what they could do to help those at Woodlands Meed and offered to donate the money they had saved on their train season ticket whilst working from home during the pandemic.
Woodlands Meed were already part of the business2schools laptop recycling scheme and had managed to give some recycled laptops to students but the donation meant more students were able to be helped to make learning at home easier.
Head teacher at Woodlands Meed, Adam Rowland said ‘This donation is amazing and supports the efforts to share Woodlands Meed resources with families to ensure all pupils have access to the IT resources they need for home learning. We are extremely grateful for this kind donation and the difference it will make to our families ’
Senior IT Technician Dean Okoh, was delighted to get the new laptops ready and loaded with the learning applications each student needed to enjoy their new laptop and home learning. Pictured, Dean with the newly delivered laptops.
Woodlands Meed is a maintained special school based in Burgess Hill. The School and College aim to meet the needs of all pupils in the local area who require a special school placement and make provisions for a wide range of complex learning difficulties and disabilities.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about fundraising or how you could help Woodlands Meed.