One year on | The Forest School
Last year, The Forest School in Knaresborough just outside of Harrogate received a brand new specially adapted minibus from the Lord's Taverners. It replaced one of the two minibuses that the Forest School had, which were both over 13 years old, in need of constant costly repair and frequently broke down. Having reliable and fit for purpose transport is vital to special educational needs (SEN) schools, and the new minibus has made a huge to difference to the lives of these young people in Yorkshire.
The Forest School is a local authority maintained SEN school for young people aged 3-16. The school is a specialist college for communication and interaction and all pupils have an Education and Health Care Plan. The minibus is used on a daily basis for local visits to the school's allotment, swimming lessons, Riding for the Disabled, Duke of Edinburgh walks and voluntary work, as well as special trips to the pantomime or to 10 pin bowling.
We caught up with Paul James, Assistant Headteacher, who told us about the impact that the bus has had on the school over the past year, and about a recent trip away:
"The Lord's Taverners minibus was used on the recent Year 9 residential at Alnwick in Northumberland. It's brilliant to have access to our own minibus for visits like this because we have the chance to take our pupils to places that they would not normally be able to visit with their friends and peers. Some may go with their family, but being with your friends, getting along and exploring new places are all important life skills. Whilst away on the residential, we visited beautiful Beadnell Bay, took a very choppy boat trip from Seahouses and enjoyed an evening barbecue on the beach at Bamburgh.
Without the minibus our pupils just wouldn't experience as many exciting opportunities out of school. It helps them develop their independence skills and learn about their local community as well as providing them with a fully accessible vehicle to enable all our pupils to have the same experiences together."
This minibus was made possible thanks to the support of players of the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL). Players of PPL play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and internationally.