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Bishopswood in the Press

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40 Years of Fireworks

Published 11/11/13


ABOUT 1,300 people attended Henley Round Table’s 40th annual fireworks display at Swiss Farm on Saturday night. 

The event raised about £5,000 which will be donated to charities, voluntary groups and individuals as part of Henley Round Table’s Helping Hands campaign as well as paying for Bishopswood Special School’s Christmas party at Phyllis Court Club. 

Hundreds turn out for Regatta for the Disabled

Published 06/09/13

About 500 people visited the fourth annual event, which was held on the banks of the Thames at Phyllis Court Club.

The regatta was opened by Henley MP John Howell for the fourth year running. He said: "It’s always great to be here. It’s fantastic to have this opportunity to show that the river belongs to us all, whether we’re abled or disabled."

Eleven teams entered the dragon boat races, which are open to both able-bodied and disabled competitors. 
Other teams to take part included Bishopswood Special School in Sonning Common, Phyllis Court Club and Oxfordshire disability charity Enrych.

The regatta was founded in 2010 by Jane Holmes, chief executive of the Building For The Future charity, and Louise Light, a volunteer with Headway. Both have disabled children.

Moped Run for School

Published 24/06/13

A FATHER of a pupil at Bishopswood Special School in Sonning Common is to attempt to ride 625 miles in five days on a moped. 
Cpl Dean Bristow, who serves with the Royal Air Force, will travel with a number of other servicemen on mopeds to Land’s End and back, setting off from RAF Benson on Monday. 
The ride, called “Moped of Hope”, will raise money for the school. The team will stop at various military bases along the way to collect donations. 

Cpl Bristow, whose five-year-old son Marcus has autism, said: “Bishopswood has been working wonders for Marcus and many other children with diverse special needs. Marcus has been learning to make friends, to talk and to enjoy school.”

His moped is a 1988 Simson that was built in East Germany. 

TV Presenter Visits School

Published 24/06/13

 CHILDREN’S television presenter Dave Benson-Phillips will be a special guest at a barbecue at Sonning Common Primary School on Sunday, July 14 from noon to 4pm. 

Sam Brown’s International Ukulele Club of Sonning Common will perform at the event, which is to help raise funds for a new minibus for Bishopswood Special School, which shares the site. 

Bishopswood gets OFSTED Seal of Approval

Published 11/05/13

BISHOPSWOOD School has been rated “good” by the education watchdog.

The Sonning Common special school achieved the rating in all four areas of examination, including achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.

It retained the rating it was given three years ago as inspectors noted the “excellent” progress made in the early years foundation stage, which is based at Valley Road School nursery in Henley.

Earlier this year, Oxfordshire County Council presented an award to the school’s integrated nursery for its achievements in this age group. The school is also co-located on two other sites, Sonning Common Primary School and Chiltern Edge School.

Inspectors, who visited the three sites in September, praised the care provided for pupils and said they benefited from a wide range of learning experiences, including trips into the community.

Their report said: “All pupils, including those with additional special educational needs, achieve well. Progress in communication, language and literacy, including matching letters and sounds, is good. Good teaching means that most pupils achieve well in their activities. Learning often moves at a good pace and communication aids are used well to give pupils a voice and offer them choices.” 

Inspectors said parents were “rightly pleased” with the school and believed headteacher Stephen Passey, who joined in 2011, had a “clear vision” and “strong focus on improving the performance of staff through high-quality training”.

The inspectors said they didn’t award the school an “outstanding” rating as they believed not enough teaching was at that level.

They said that occasionally staff did not make the best use of communication aids or assessment information about pupils’ achievements to show how well different groups were doing. Mr Passey said he was “delighted” with the report and declared his intention to improve teaching standards. 

“We thought it gave an accurate picture of where the school is,” he said. “It gives us clear direction for future development as we continuously seek to improve our provision. It’s challenging to achieve a good judgement in all four areas. The fact that there is very short notice of these inspections means that the inspectors over the two days see what the school is like on a day-to-day day basis.” 

Meanwhile, Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at the Department of Education, has visited the three sites. 

He said: “Bishopswood Special School demonstrates the benefits of its innovative provision and its commitment to excellent staff and teaching. 

“They should be very proud of the impact the school is having on its students and I wish them every success for the future.” 

Mr Passey said: “As far as we know, we’re the only school in England which is co-located on three sites. Mr Wormald had never seen this. He was clearly very impressed with the innovative work we’re doing and the quality of the provision.” 

Kindness of Pupils

Published on 14 January 2013

A TOTAL of £1,882.12 has been donated to Bishopswood Special School in Sonning Common by neighbouring pupils. The money was raised by Auriga House at Chiltern Edge School in the village, which made the school its chosen charity for the year.

Fund-raising activities included a sponsored 10-mile circular walk, two non-uniform days, cake sales, an Easter raffle and a barbecue. The special school will use the money to buy five African drums, three large scooters and some balls.

Chiltern Edge (Bishopswood) deputy head Janet Kellett said: “The children have worked so hard and they should be proud of their achievements. I know the children of Bishopswood are deeply appreciative.”

We were very fortunate last school year to be chosen by Auriga House from Chiltern Edge School as their Charity for the year. They raised over £1,700.00 for us to buy play equipment and resources. We have bought a set of large drums, two scooters and some balls. We hope to buy a sofa for the KS4 Home management room, 2 CD players and some gardening equipment.

Janet Kellett, Deputy Headteacher

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