It is always a pleasure to enable, value and empower young people and children in a positive, safe and happy environment. An environment that Herons Dale Primary School is known for.
Little Lives UK are proud to support Herons Dale Primary School by donating nine Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets through our Technology Programme. These will be used to enhance the children’s special education by immersing them into virtual sensory rooms and taking them on trips around the world without even leaving the school.
With the provision of the VR headsets the teachers will be able to create personalised learning environments that align to the students specific learning contexts and meet their individual needs. The use of VR has been shown to increase motivation, facilitate interaction, develop cognitive skills, improve short-memory, and make lessons more enjoyable. The greatest effect of VR is in improving communication skills in children with hearing problems thereby facilitating social interaction amongst autistic students. The VR headsets we are donating are free of charge for the children who are receiving therapy.
We conducted an interview with Headteacher Isabel Robson about the school and what the donation from Little Lives UK will mean for them. We also wanted to find out a little more about what their goals are and how a donation of VR headsets from little lives will enhance the learning of the children.
Can you tell us briefly who you are and what you do?
My name is Isabel Robson, I am the Head teacher for Henron’s Dale primary school and I have been with the school since 2014. It is a Community Special School for pupils with a wide range of learning difficulties and associated special needs. The school is maintained by West Sussex County Council and admits boys and girls aged 4 – 11 years who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
How many children does Herons Dale Primary School support?
As of today, the school caters for 142 children but it is evergrowing.
Can you tell us the progress Herons Dale primary school has made so far in the support they offer to the children?
Our personalized learning plans (PLP’s) ensure that every child is following a learning journey that consolidates and builds on their personal skill-based learning as highlighted in the EHCP’s. Every child develops at their own pace and that’s what makes the school unique as each child learning is tailored to suit their needs.
What is the major reason kids turn to Herons Dale Primary School for assistance?
We work hard to make bespoke class groups. We are driven by the social, sensory, learning needs and optimum curriculums of each pupil. We construct groups according to these. Our classes may also integrate multiple year groups as we believe a child’s age is not the primary factor to an optimum learning environment.
What will the Little Lives UK donation mean for the children who attend?
The VR sets donated to the children by Little Lives UK will enrich the provision of delivery of the children’s sensory learning needs, give the children the opportunity to create immersive learning experiences as the VR Sets can be used to taken the children to any country on holiday or excursion without leaving the classroom, which gives the children a completely different experience.
What advice do you have for other charities in supporting the school?
Charities and the public are welcome to visit the school to see what we are doing and what the school is all about as not many people understand what we do. Most people have a wrong perception of special needs for only those in a wheel chair, it is more of children who are challenged in their speech, have autism and other learning disabilities. Charities are encouraged to visit us and see how we meet the children’s sensory needs, dieting needs, toileting and sleep in order to know how they can support the children we teach here.
What are your projections for the future of Heron Dales school?
Continue on the path we currently are on using the school development plan of multidiscipline and holistic approach of bespoke learning for each child. The school will keep growing, as there will always be building work for further expansion due to more admissions as the school works with the county to ensure harmony and improve the experiences with the children. There will be more hydrotherapy space, more library space and more bigger class size to continue to provide bespoke for each child.
We are extremely proud to have given such a great school, doing such vital work, technology that can really help to enhance the children’s learning experience whilst at school.