The creative link between two very different schools

Pupils at Taverham Hall Preparatory School have been making toys and tools for pupils at Harford Man

Pupils at Taverham Hall Preparatory School have been making toys and tools for pupils at Harford Manor School - Credit: Archant

It is a relationship that has seen children from a preparatory school and children from a complex needs school become friends, and help each other learn about each others' lives.

The link between Taverham Hall Preparatory School and Harford Manor School in Norwich has been going for a number of years, and seen pupils from the two schools get to know each other over the course of each school year.

And it has led to some very concrete outcomes, with Taverham Hall children aged seven to 11 creating a toy or tool for one of the children they have met, especially tailored to their needs.

Taverham Hall headteacher Mike Crossley said: 'Over a period of time the children are linked with a specific child with learning difficulties, and across the course of the year they build up a more accurate picture of the child's needs and they are tasked with creating something which will enhance their quality of life.

'It's a collaborative effort to produce something that they take back, and with the relationship with the child, they trial it.

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'If need be, it's taken back and refined. It's something that they really value.'

He added: 'For some of them, it's the realisation how fortunate they are in their own lives, but also how important it is to invest emotionally in the wider community, and understand that we have all got our part to play in understanding each other.'

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Example of items that Taverham Hall pupils have produced include a simplified table football game or simple jigsaws.

Kerry Locke, class teacher at Harford Manor School, said: 'Mike Crossley approached Harford Manor back in the summer of 2010. We were more than happy to embark on the project and are delighted at its continued success.

'It provides Harford Manor pupils with excellent opportunities to integrate with peers of a slightly older age, through activities which are suitably matched to all abilities carried out across both schools.

'Taverham Hall School pupils have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of pupils with complex needs, by getting to know them over the year, then planning and constructing projects to suit their needs.

'They provide excellent role models for Harford Manor pupils, whilst opening their eyes to some of the difficulties and barriers faced by pupils with complex needs.

'We are looking forward to another fantastic year.'

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