Paralympian praises move by Cwmbran school

Free Press Series: Pupil James Vodden rides a trike at the opening of the new Fairwater High School Sensory Room Pupil James Vodden rides a trike at the opening of the new Fairwater High School Sensory Room

A CWMBRAN comprehensive school has held a special ceremony with a gold-medal winning Paralympian to celebrate becoming the first MOVE-accredited school in Torfaen.

Fairwater High School has been recognised by the activity-based charity for the well being of pupils with physical disabilities and/or complex needs.

Boasting four senior MOVE practitioners, the school opened a dedicated room for three wheel-chair bound beneficiaries yesterday, with help from Pontypool Paralympian John Harris.

Mr Harris spoke of the “difference” the MOVE programme – which focuses on teaching the key skills of sitting, standing, walking and transferring through assessment and analysis – would make for disabled students.

“It’s all about independence and being functional for these students once they leave school,” said the five-time Paralympian. “That is achieved through inclusion, and through having the right staff to make the right facilities work.”

Helen Coulson, head teacher at Fairwater High – which is fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant with lifts and ramps throughout the hillside campus – congratulated school practitioners Nicola Fanthorpe, Tracy Bowyer, Mariya Gwinnell and Gemma Webster.

Mrs Fanthorpe, in the learning resource centre at the school, said: “MOVE helps children and families achieve functional goals that will make a real impact on their quality of life.”

Wider congratulations was given to the school, by Steve Davies, South East Wales Education Achievement Service (EAS) boss, for its “whole community focus”.

Occupational therapists and other pupils also attended the special event, along with family and friends of wheelchair users Kyron Bishop, 12, James Vodden, 12, and Shane Summers.

Fourteen-year-old wheelchair user Shane Summers, said: “No-one wants to be limited to a wheelchair. You want to be able to move about and live your life. This programme lets us do that.”

For more information on MOVE visit www.themovepartnership.co.uk

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