Boost for Portsmouth children as Rainbow Fish-inspired inclusion centre after it opens at Penhale Infant School

YOUNGSTERS with special educational needs are enjoying a ‘safe and inclusive’ centre after it opened its doors last week.

Thinking Schools Academy Trust announced the Rainbow Fish Inclusion Centre open on Friday, October 15.

This space will provide state-of-the-art facilities for children with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities (SEND) across the city.

Located at Penhale Infant School, which is part of Thinking Schools Academy Trust, the Rainbow Fish Inclusion Centre has been designed to include an innovative sensory and soft-play room to help develop and engage students’ senses as well as offer a safe space and calming environment within school.

It will benefit SEN and SEND children across the area

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Anna Webb, executive head of Penhale Infant and Newbridge Junior Schools, said: ‘My team and I are very excited about the new inclusion centre, which we have named the Rainbow Fish Centre.

‘Thank you to everyone at the inclusion service in Portsmouth City Council who we have worked closely with to deliver the new facility.’

Natalie Sheppard, director of education at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust in Portsmouth, said: ‘The Rainbow Fish Centre offers an exciting opportunity for students to learn in a safe and inclusive environment within our school.

The Rainbow Fish Centre opened on Friday, October 15

‘The children will be able to begin their educational journey closely connected to a mainstream environment before they continue learning with new specialist provision being developed at the Portsmouth Academy.

‘This will offer an all-through pathway within the Thinking Schools Academy Trust family of schools.’

The centre is part of Portsmouth City Council’s £3.5 million investment initiative to provide inclusive education in the city.

Inside the inclusion centre

Eight places at the centre are being funded by the local authority, which will grow to 16 places next academic year.

Cllr Suzy Horton, deputy leader at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The purpose of the Inclusion Centre is to enable children with SEN, who need more support than is normally available in a mainstream school, to be educated as an integral part of Penhale Infant School so that they can be part of their local school as well as having additional specialist support.

‘It has been great for the council's design team to work closely with the trust to create the best designed learning environment to benefit the children in their learning.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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