Sir Michael Parkinson unveils new sensory equipment

Pupils and staff of the Integrated Learning Space (ILS) had a day to remember last week as former Lord’s Taverners President, and broadcasting legend, Sir Michael Parkinson was on hand to officially open their new sensory play equipment.

This was made possible thanks to a £15,000 grant from the Lord’s Taverners, the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, as well as a donation of over £10,000 from the 100 Property Club.

The ILS is a unique specialist school in Islington designed to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of boys and girls aged 7-19 with autism, severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviours. The play equipment, which includes a large swing, a trampoline and a sensory music ball, will provide a safe environment that helps improve the pupils processing, communication and interaction skills.

It is essential that children with severe learning and physical disabilities have access to suitable and adapted outdoor play equipment. ‘Play time’ is essential for the improvement of children’s physical and mental health, it helps develop emotional responses and learning skills, and improves basic numeracy and literacy.

Head Teacher at the Integrated Learning Space, which is part of The Bridge Trust, Ed Ashcroft, said: “The ILS is about saying if you’ve got a young person with very complex sensory needs, communication needs, or learning difficulties who needs a tailored, individualised curriculum, we can provide that. This new equipment provides us the opportunity to do that in-house, meaning we don’t always have to go out, as that can be tricky, allowing us to always be able to give these young people the sensory support they need. We are so thrilled that the Lord’s Taverners were able to provide this grant for us, which will have such an impact on these young people.”

Broadcasting legend Sir Michael Parkinson, added: “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to look around ILS and see the facilities that we’ve provided and see the part they play in the education of the children at ILS. To watch the staff here dealing with problems that, I wouldn’t know how to describe, never mind cure or help with, is moving in the extreme.”


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