Maureen and I were delighted to be invited to join the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and many other Masters to visit the wonderful Treloar's School and College today.
Treloar's is one of the UK's leading centres of excellence for children and young people with complex physical disabilities. They offer outstanding teaching, professional care, therapy, advice and guidance so that every individual can live, learn, achieve and work towards a future that is as independent as possible. There are some 170 students aged 2 to 25 years and they are cared for and supported by around 800 staff, including teachers, support and care staff, therapists, medical staff, dietitians, visual impairment advisers, counsellors, transition staff, assistive technology technicians and engineers.
The students are contending with the most complex physical disabilities that make it impossible to attend mainstream schools and colleges. Treloar's offers these students the best possible life chances by giving them a wonderful educational experience and also by helping them to transition to the world of work and independent living.
The day commenced with a short talk by the Chief Executive and the Principal, after which we were split into small groups led by a staff member. Each group was taken to a classroom that was in session and we were encouraged to mix with the students and interact with them. My group was introduced to a small class of 6 /7 year olds who enthusiastically welcomed us and were eager to share their lessons with us. It was a joy to learn how to interact with these students, each in their own unique way, using amazing technology. We then went into their garden which is full of fun equipment which the students clearly love playing with.
At the end of each lesson the students earn "golden time" for 10 minutes in which they can choose their own activity. It was truly uplifting and awe inspiring to see the wonderful care and love given by every single member of staff, and it being reciprocated by the students. The whole group left the classroom feeling huge admiration for the work being carried out with these great students.
We were also taken to visit the residential accommodation and taken round by the Residential Manager who has been working for Treloar's for 32 years. She was equally enthusiastic to share her experiences with us and it was plainly obvious that she loves her job and is completely dedicated to the students.
After this amazing tour we were taken to the main hall which had been laid out beautifully for lunch which consisted of a very nice chicken cacciatore and rice with vegetables followed by a fruit tarte and coffee. The Lord Mayor made a short speech thanking the wonderful staff of Treloar's for all their dedicated work and also for the excellent lunch.
After lunch we were treated to a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream by Treloar's 6th form students which was, again, truly inspirational. The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers and helpers was brilliant and we were all entertained brilliantly.
The day ended with tea and cakes and more chatting and mingling with the staff and students. We all left having had a wonderful experience and feeling truly uplifted by the enthusiasm and dedication of both the students and staff.