Special educational needs school in Rastrick honoured at awards

William Henry Smith School was praised at the awards
William Henry Smith School was praised at the awards

William Henry Smith School in Rastrick has been highly commended in the Special Educational Needs (SEN) School of the Year Award category at an awards ceremony in London for its continued commitment to developing its pupils’ communication skills.

The 2018 Shine a Light Awards, run by learning company Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, were hosted by stand-up comedian, actor and TV writer, Adam Hess.

There were 10 awards in total, with winners and highly-commended finalists chosen by a panel of experts in the sector. All children at the William Henry Smith School have a significant barrier to learning, with many experiencing speech, language and communication issues.

Thanks to rigorous support, however, its pupils are able to make significant social progress as they approach the post-16 level.

Caroline Booth, deputy principal at William Henry Smith School, said: “It’s a great honour to receive recognition for working in such a wonderful, rewarding environment. Communication underpins the work we do at the school and we feel privileged to receive this.”

The school is not just dedicated to supporting its own pupils: William Henry Smith School helps more than 40 schools across the UK, mainly in the north via its own well-being courses and annual conferences, through which it delivers training to local colleges and universities.

The school also encourages local students to attend work placements.

The skill and expertise of its work has been recognised at a national level by the Department for Education, which is adopting the school’s own successful Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Adam Hess, host of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards, said: “The dedication of William Henry Smith School is outstanding. As a child, I struggled greatly with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking.

“If it wasn’t for the support I received when I was younger I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.

“It is fantastic to know that other children and young people are being given the support they need to learn, thrive and achieve their goals. William Henry Smith School should be very proud of its success.”

The 2018 Shine a Light Awards is a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

To date the Shine a Light Awards have celebrated the work of more than 120 teams and a wide range of individuals.