Sunderland special summer school pupils come together to stage their own musical

Pupils from Barbara Priestman and Portland taking part in a summer school worshop.
Pupils from Barbara Priestman and Portland taking part in a summer school worshop.
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SUMMER is already hitting the right note for Sunderland youngsters who staged their own musical.

Groups of students and staff from Barbara Priestman Academy, in Meadowside, and Portland Academy, Chapelgarth, came together to hold their first joint summer school this year.

And it was hailed a huge success both for the 20 students and the staff as well.

The two schools, which cater for secondary age pupils with special needs, are both part of Sunderland’s Ascent Academy Trust.

Together with Castlegreen Community School, at Hylton Castle, and Springwell Dene School, in Springwell, the four became the first in the country to form a special schools multi-academy trust at the beginning of last September.

The Barbara Priestman and Portland young people came together for the week of singing, dancing and acting, which ended with them staging a short performance for family and friends.

Denise Murray, an assistant head at Barbara Priestman Academy, which hosted the week, said they brought North East theatre company Cap-a-Pie on board to work with the young people.

She added: “This is the first time we have held a joint summer school and the children spent all week singing songs and even writing their own songs.

“They also signed the play as well. It was lovely to see them all together.

“We wanted to have an inclusive summer school, with us being part of the multi-academy trust, and the students got on so well, it was like they had always been together.

“It was great for the staff as well, it gave the staff from the two different schools the chance to work together.

“The whole thing was just absolutely wonderful for everyone involved.”

The aim of the Ascent Academy Trust is to work together and integrate the specialist provision for the benefit of all the children.

Also, by using the expertise of staff, the trust supports mainstream schools in the education of their pupils with special educational needs.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho