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City schools celebrate specialist status

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:13 07 May 2010

Staff and pupils at two Norwich special schools celebrated today after gaining specialist status.

The Hall School and Parkside School have both been awarded specialist status in Communication and Interaction and are the first two schools in the county to be awarded the accolade.

Staff and pupils at two Norwich special schools celebrated today after gaining specialist status.

The Hall School and Parkside School have both been awarded specialist status in Communication and Interaction and are the first two schools in the county to be awarded the accolade. Last summer, Eaton Hall School in the city became a specialist school in behavioural, emotional and social development.

Special schools seeking specialist status must raise £20,000 and draw up a plan to show how they will share the benefits of good practice, expertise and resources with other schools and the wider community. They can then benefit from £100,000 of investment from the government to enhance facilities at the school.

Schools specialising in special educational needs also receive £60,000 a year to help implement their plans.

However, the news comes at a time of uncertainty for special schools in Norwich as they wait to find out if any will be closed or rebuilt.

Jan Wiggins, head of the Hall School, said: “I am thrilled that we have been awarded this status as it is a credit to all of the pupils, staff and Friends of the school who work so hard to meet the needs of our pupils.

“Developing our pupils' communication skills is one of our real strengths, and I look forward to working with other schools and the wider community in developing that strength even further.”

And Barry Payne, head of Parkside School, said: “This announcement is recognition of our success in creating an environment which can help young people to develop not only their literacy and numeracy skills but their communication skills.

“We are obviously delighted to be designated as a specialist college and look forward to developing further our skills in this area and extending our links with partner schools and the wider community.”

Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for children's services, said: “This is fabulous news for the Hall School and Parkside and is further recognition of the superb work which goes on within our special schools.

Ü Have you got an exciting project at your school? Call education reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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