Facilities

Birtenshaw School Bolton moved into a new building in 2012 and provides a spacious, safe and adaptable environment in which children and young people can thrive and learn. Each shared space can be adapted to meet the needs of each child depending on whether sensory seeking, a place to calm or a space to run off some energy is needed. Such facilities fully support our bespoke, creative curriculum and a “Total Communication” approach to the education of children and young people. Most pupils have speech, language, communication difficulties and some have very little, if any, spoken language; often referred to as ‘non-verbal’.

We utilise various communications systems: signalong, PECS, Go Talks and so on. The Total Communication approach is led by our Speech and Language Therapists and supported by a communication assistant present across the school.

Classrooms are equipped with interactive touch screens, computers, laptops and tablets which are used to support learning, engage pupils and provide an additional communication system in lessons. Many of our specialist facilities support the sensory diet requirements of pupils which are implemented by a full time occupational therapist. Visual, auditory, touch, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (body awareness) sensory needs are supported by the environment and facilities to develop pupils co-ordination and communication, promote interaction, concentration, calmness and confidence.

Sensory Integration Room…

…also known as the “swing room” has had a makeover recently and now includes a soft, padded area, a new suite of swings and a projector. Each third section of the room can be lit individually so that the space can be used as a relaxing, calming space or a safe, well-lit area for pupils to burn off some energy. The space is specifically designed to stimulate and support pupil’s sensory needs and motor skills. The equipment is used to support pupils to manage their own arousal levels as well as providing a safe and engaging space for sensory assessments and activities with the occupational therapist to take place.

Multisensory Immersive Room…

…also known as the “dark room” is a fully immersive room with interactive walls that provide a constantly changing environment; promoting visual development and hand / eye co-ordination. It is designed to be calming and allows pupils to take sensory breaks. It is also used for group therapy sessions lead by the occupational therapist and speech and language therapist.

Hydro Pool (with multisensory interactive sound and light system)…

…used for exercise, relaxation, fun and therapy. The lights and music provide sensory regulation for individuals and the combination of warm water (35 degrees) and buoyancy relaxes muscles and reduces pressure on joints.

Soft play area…

…also known as the “ball pool” provides both a safe area for the young people to use up extra energy and a stimulating environment for play. The balls massage the entire body, provide buoyant support, deep-pressure sensation and encourage relaxation. It is also provides a safe environment for pupils to develop social skills by initiating and enjoying play.

Multi-use sports hall…

…is one of the busiest spaces in school. The hall is used for whole school assemblies and the school production, rebound therapy, sports and activities such as football, Zumba, yoga and boogie bounce as well as over lunch time for school dinners. It is a great environment for pupils to interact with their peers and meet people from different classes.

Life skills…

…is designed to represent a self-contained flat with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, lounge and dining area. Pupils are supported to develop independent living skills including cooking in a home style setting, cleaning, making a bed and washing up. Life skills is accessible to all and adaptive equipment ensures that pupils are prepared for adulthood and supported to be as independent as possible. We currently offer Level 1 and Level 2 Cooking Skills BTEC as part of the curriculum.

External spaces…

…are designed to provide a safe place for pupils to develop friendships and socially interact with their peers. The equipment was chosen by pupils alongside the occupational therapists to ensure that the space meets pupil’s physical and sensory needs.

AWARDS