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'Magic carpets' for pupils at Riverwalk School, in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 10:51 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 14 March 2018

Pupil Holly Wagstaff and teaching assistant Kathleen Crossley on the 'magic carpet'.

Pupil Holly Wagstaff and teaching assistant Kathleen Crossley on the 'magic carpet'.

Archant

Two sophisticated mobile sensory "magic carpets" have been purchased for children who attend a school in Bury St Edmunds which caters for pupils who have severe, profound and complex learning needs.

They project interactive games and images onto the floor that the students, whose ages range from three to 19, can play with and control simply by moving on or over the image.

The money for the carpets came via the St Edmunds Trust, the Bury-based grant-giving organisation, who awarded £20,566 to the Friends of Riverwalk School.

The addition of the devices means the school, in Chevington Close, now has a total of three with one each in the Early Years Foundation department, the post 16 college and the main school.

Jonathan Houseago, the IT and new build project manager at Riverwalk, said the latest addition was a key element to the learning cirriculum for the 126 pupils.

He said: “The carpets react to someone’s movement and is about developing the sensory skills of pupils and trying to develop their movement and muscle skills.”

The school is in the process of moving from its current site to the former Hardwick Middle School premises, in the south of the town near Nowton Park, in Mayfield Lane, and is due to open in September.

Pupil numbers are due to rise to 156 with a total of 15 classes while next year that is set to rise to 17 classes and Mr Houseago said it would be perfect if they could obtain further “magic carpets”.

He added: “We are hoping to have three or four sensory rooms and we could really do with three or four carpets. When we move we will not be as close to town as were currently are but we have got better premises along with play facilities.”

Chris Hodgson, vice-chair of the Friends of the school, said: “Sensory equipment provides for a unique learning experience for our children.

“A large number of pupils are either visually or audibly impaired and unable to access certain activities in the same way as non-impaired children. We are very grateful for the generous support from St Edmunds Trust which will enable many children at Riverwalk School to benefit from their interactive experiences on the magic carpet.”

Alan Bedford, chair of the Trust, added: “We at St Edmunds Trust are delighted to support charities and similar organisations in West Suffolk in their work helping those with medical problems by the donation of grants for equipment. By so doing we aim to enhance lives, or bring some relief to those who are particularly challenged in our community.”

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