If the children at Brookways School couldn’t get to the beach for their annual seaside trip, then the beach just had to come to them instead!
Each year, the children and young people of Brookways School in Sutton take a whole-school trip to the seaside to mark the end of a successful year’s learning.
As a result of COVID-19 however, this year’s trip couldn’t take place and the young people were extremely disappointed.
The specialist school, part of Kedleston Group, supports children and young people with autism. The team wanted to make sure the children didn’t miss out on this annual favourite and came up with a creative solution which brought the seaside to Sutton.
The school’s team turned the gardens around the school into a British seaside beach complete with a fish and chip “shop”, a flock of 25 seagulls (of the blow-up variety, so at least they couldn’t pinch the chips!) and the sea represented by lovely cooling paddling pools. Sandcastles were built in sandpits and the sun even made an appearance to complete the day! A chill-out area with deckchairs and parasols, beach games and sand games. There was even a lighthouse and a pool for “fishing”.
School Chef Andy turned his kitchen window into a fish and chips and ice-cream booth called Andy’s Plaice and everyone went home with a stick of rock and some candyfloss.
While the school had been open throughout COVID-19 as it supports children who have Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), who may be vulnerable or be supported by a social worker, not all children had been able to attend on a daily basis for various reasons.
To make sure everyone’s well-being was as protected as possible, the school brought the children in to enjoy their time “by the sea” in groups and all activities were outdoor-based fun.
To invite them to the special day, every child received a “holiday postcard” from the Headteacher which said: “We can’t take you to the beach this year, so we’re bring the beach to you! You are invited to attend the Brookways Beach with your class.”
Headteacher Melanie Whitfield said: “Our children always enjoy their trips and visits to learn outside the classroom and the end of year trip to the seaside is a particular favourite for them.
“The beach was set up so that each class could take it in turns to spend half-a-day with classmates and staff, safely socially distanced, yet enjoying the summer fun!
“Every class had such fun at the Brookways Beach and the children and staff alike were so excited. For many of us this turned out to be one of the highlights of the year!”
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