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Repair Shop presenter opens city's latest SEND resource unit

TV star Jay Blades MBE, presenter of BBC One's The Repair Shop, officially unveiled The Ark at St Michael's CE Primary School in Tettenhall on Friday 8 April.

It is Wolverhampton's 13th specialist resource centre or unit, designed to enable more children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to be supported in mainstream education.

All provide targeted support to help pupils make progress, achieve their identified outcomes and attend mainstream schools.

Jay said: “The Ark is all about giving everybody an equal start to their education. I never had the greatest start and The Ark is exactly what I needed when I was younger.”

Brenda Wile, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Deputy Director of Education, said: "The development of specialist resource hubs and units at schools across the city is a crucial component of our ongoing efforts to ensure that all children and young people with SEND receive the help and support they need to achieve.

"They provide pupils with specialist support, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or music therapy as appropriate."

The Ark offers up to 16 places for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, enabling more youngsters to benefit from the education and support provided by St Michael’s and helping further address an existing demand issue which has meant that some pupils with SEND have had to attend educational placements outside of the city.

Headteacher Kate Jackson said: "Children with social, emotional and mental health needs may experience a wide range of difficulties that manifest in many ways. These include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying behaviours that challenge.

“At The Ark, we aim to support children whose need provision that is not routinely found within mainstream educational settings. The evidence is compelling that providing a safe, nurturing, predictable and caring environment will support pupils' social, emotional and mental health development, and our provision has been designed with this in mind.

"The Ark includes a nurture room, therapeutic spaces and sensory equipment, and we have an enhanced PSHE curriculum focused on specific areas of need for individual pupils as well as strong partnerships with external agencies, such as CAMHS.

"However, core to all we do at The Ark are positive relationships; showing pupils that they matter and that genuinely emotionally investing in their development makes the most significant difference for them."

Brenda added: "By creating this network of resources, we are broadening the range of provision for children with SEND in Wolverhampton, bridging the gap between special and mainstream schools, offering greater choice for parents and enabling children with more complex needs to be educated alongside their mainstream peers."


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