Rainworth special school room refurb prompts chatty response from pupils
Kind staff at a Rainworth school, which helps children and young people with speech and communication issues, got pupils talking after decorating their lounge.
A team of residential support workers at Dawn House School volunteered to refurbish the pupils’ ‘chill out’ room prompting a chatty response from the students – many who usually find talking and social interaction difficult.
The Helmsley Road establishment is a specialist school run by the charity I Can. It helps youngsters with severe or complex language, communication difficulties and with conditions such as autism.
Since it started in 1974, the school has always used the same beige colour scheme with white woodwork, but after staff asked the pupils how they would like to see their room improved the youngsters called for a cheerful, colourful wallpaper design featuring sausage dogs.
The decorating project was carried out by Barrie Cook, Deb Wood, Emily Curtis and Zoe Steeples.
Barrie said: “The staff donated their own time and effort during the August holiday. It started because one student said he felt like he was in a doctor’s surgery in the lounge.
“We asked the students what they would like. They voted for a wallpaper sample which had sausage dogs on it, so working with some existing mustard paint, and we cleaned the existing blue furniture, it all matched perfectly.”
Pleased and surprised
The students have now returned after the summer break and, according, to Barrie were ‘very pleased and surprised’.
He said: “It was fantastic because it prompted everyone to talk about it, which was great, even from the critics who were quick to remind me about the tiny corner of wallpaper which was peeling – I was quickly dispatched with the glue.
“The whole project has been wonderful, bringing cheer after a difficult year. Covid was especially hard for our students, not able to see friends and they had to do some lessons by Zoom, not ideal.
“Now they are back, they can enjoy their new lounge, relax and chat if they want to.”
The school has about 100 staff, from teachers, teaching assistants, occupational, language and speech therapists, as well as residential and day support workers. It helps about 70 children from the ages of five-19, with pupils coming from 13 local authorities for its specialist day and residential services.