Safe pool gives parents a break

11th August 2006 at 01:00
Far from being lethargic or anti-social, children are making the most of the long holidays through a diverse range of stimulating and fun activities such as DJ-ing, video-editing, DNA testing, football training, creative writing and drama workshops

The summer holidays can be a testing time for young people with profound learning difficulties. "There's nothing out there for them," said Claire Reid, extended schools co-ordinator for special schools in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. "They find it really hard to mix with their peers over the summer break. They can become prisoners in their own homes."

Oakfield Park, a secondary special school in Pontefract, is trying to tackle the problem by running its own holiday club. This week 17 pupils, aged between 11 and 19, have been taking part in arts and drama-based activities, receiving physiotherapy and using the school's hydrotherapy pool.

Ms Reid said: "It is very difficult to place these children in mainstream holiday schemes. They have profound needs."

The club, which costs pound;5 a day, or pound;7 including transport, is run by a senior teacher, who is supported by eight teaching assistants and a nurse.

The club also provides a respite for parents. "It gives them a break," said Ms Reid. "This group cannot just send their children off to grandparents for a break."

Tracy Enright, whose 17-year-old daughter Ella, attends the club, said: "I couldn't just leave her with anyone because I wouldn't know if she would be safe. It is really nice to know your child is safe and happy, whilst you are able to do other things."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today