10th September 1999 at 01:00

A week in the life of Rodney House special school, Burnage, Manchester.

Rodney House is a special school for children with a wide range of medical and learning problems. Working with medical therapists, paediatricians, psychologists and specialist teachers, staff provide a differentiated early years curriculum and help the LEA prepare statements of special needs. The school takes pupils up to the age of seven, but headteacher Pam Stanier says: "The sooner you start the better." The youngest pupil so far was just 15 months old.

A growing number of the school's children will enter mainstream education, but Ms Stanier says many find it "just too overwhelming". She says working with such a wide ability range is "a challenge", but believes all children are entitled to a fulfilling and enjoyable school experience, no matter what their difficulties. As part of this philosophy, one class has an integrated playgroup for local children. Pam Stanier says this is a double benefit, as it "provides a service to the community and gives our children some positive role models".

* Liam (3) with large and colourful toys in the activity centre * Attia (4) and Aisha (3) in the vets corner

* Colin (3) makes his mark in the writing area

* Leeanne (5) sorts shapes in a numeracy class

* Nasreen (3) is immersed in the ball pool

* Reza (2) goes swimming with physiotherapist Suzanne

* Daryl (5) puts on his tiger paint

* Anthony (4) goes for a spin round the playground

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