Sunderland special school scoops prestigious sporting award

Columbria Grange NE Disability Award winners. From left, Marisol Bowman, Cath Gourley, Amanda Paxton and SAFC Foundation Kevin Darke with the children.
Columbria Grange NE Disability Award winners. From left, Marisol Bowman, Cath Gourley, Amanda Paxton and SAFC Foundation Kevin Darke with the children.

A Sunderland special school is celebrating clinching a top regional award.

Staff and students at Columbia Grange School were thrilled when they were nominated in the North East Disability Sports Awards.

Pupils at Columbria Grange School celebrate being NE Disability Award winners.

Pupils at Columbria Grange School celebrate being NE Disability Award winners.

And, were overjoyed when they scooped the top trophy in the education section.

Headteacher at the Washington school, Lesley Mavin, said it was an honour to be nominated, never mind to win.

She said: “We are all over the moon. It was such a huge surprise when we won, but wonderful.”

The school, which caters for youngsters aged two to 11 with severe learning difficulties and/or autism, was nominated by Kevin Drake, the inclusion co-ordinator at The Foundation of Light.

We are all over the moon

Lesley Mavin

Through the foundation, which is the charity arm of the Stadium of Light, Kevin works closely with the school and its pupils.

Over the course of 2017, Columbia Grange provided a range of activities and events for the students to help them develop their knowledge, understanding and engagement within sport and physical activity.

The school provides activities linked to a wide range of partners which are fully inclusive to all its pupils.

Kevin said: “The school provided experiences within their curriculum provision such as swimming, judo, yoga, tennis, fit for fun, where pupils access a wide range of activities including dance and gymnastics to develop their basic motor skills and coordination.”

The children also take part in a range of other sports such as football and rugby.

And, the school also gets the families of the children involved by putting on a range of sessions for all members to take part in.

Kevin said: “All these opportunities provide the young people with experiences in a wide range of sport and physical activity to hopefully engage them in lifelong participation whilst also providing transferable basic movement and sport specific skills for them to access additional provision within the community.”

The school also offers a range of out-of-school sports groups and teaches the children about leading healthier lifestyles.

To help pupils develop within competition and inclusion, there has also been a number of festivals and events, including sports and dancing.

Kevin said: “Through providing such a diverse mix of curriculum and extra curriculum activities, coupled with the festivals and events we’ve been able to engage with, we have also successfully been awarded the School Games Silver Award and Sunderland Active Charter Gold Award.”