Sport for students with profound learning difficultiesPosted: 24th January 2020
The lives of young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) are being enriched with the launch of our school’s new curriculum.
The 25 students at the Designated Resource Provision at Royal Docks Academy are benefitting from the introduction of regular PE and creative arts lessons.
Since joining BMAT in January 2018, the school has enabled students with PMLD – which could be Down’s syndrome, ASD or be wheelchair-bound or blind - to live and learn alongside their mainstream peers.
Students are taught a personalised curriculum giving them an opportunity to learn life skills, acquire meaningful knowledge and experience the world beyond a classroom.
Now, they spend one day each week taking part in PE lessons, including rowing, adapted football and basketball and yoga.
Zama Shozi, head of the PMLD unit, said: “We have changed our curriculum to give more exciting opportunities for our children to take part in activities in a more meaningful and structured way. They are all accessing it to full capacity. We are taking away the barriers, which is in line with the whole ethos of BMAT.
“We are able to use the school’s sports hall which means our students, without limitations, can be a part of physical education. PE sessions including the whole unit are something we have never done before.
“We have more boys in the unit now who are very energetic, so introducing ball games is of real benefit to them, in particular. Their whole faces light up when they realise they are capable of playing football.
“We are showing our young people that nothing is impossible. This is a massive change for us and our students are responding so well to it. Parents are even coming to us to ask how they can adapt the lessons for home as the behaviour and capabilities of our students is even greater when they are doing this work at school.”
The school has invested in adapted equipment to enable the weekly sport sessions.
Students are also now taking part in regular performing arts lessons, putting on shows throughout the term.
Mrs Shozi said: “We have always held two performances each year, in the summer and at Christmas, but we are now stretching that further. The whole unit is taking part in creative arts and having their own input as to what music they want to work with. Every Friday, we play their favourite music in the unit.
“It gives them choices and shows them they are being listened to; pupil voice is very important to us.
“I want students coming to the unit every day knowing they have a good quality of life, not just educationally, but socially and functionally with a sense of belonging.”
BMAT is looking to now expand the provision to include five post-16 students each year from September 2020.