Derby special school to celebrates its half century in style

A Derby special school is celebrating its 50th birthday with a festival featuring acrobats, circus workshops, live music and a preview of the procession and performances produced for Derby Feste.

Staff at St Martins School, in Bracknell Drive, Alvaston, have invited parents and carers to join in the day of activities on September 28, which has been given the theme of sunflowers and random acts of kindness.

Fourteen-year-old James Palfreyman and his family designed the winning entry, which will be used on school stationery and the website for the next 12 months. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications

The school, which originally opened in September 1968, currently has 178 pupils, aged between 11 and 19 years old, who all have special educational needs and some have physical difficulties.

As well as a bouncy castle, barbecue and ice cream van, pupils will be able to enjoy hula hoop, West African Djembe drumming and juggling workshops, storytelling and performances arranged by Furthest From The Sea.

There will also be a parade and production from Hubbub Theatre Company, which will be starring in Derby Feste the next day. The theatrical group enlisted the help of students at the school to help make sunflowers which they will use during their performances.

Three former St Martins’ head teachers will join current head Debbie Gerring at the event.

She said: “We couldn’t let our special birthday pass by without marking the occasion and we have a really spectacular festival lined up.

“I hope parents, pupils, governors and staff will have a memorable day as the success of the last 50 years is because of the total commitment of our school community”.

Chrissy Owen, the teacher responsible for the project with Hubbub said, “We are linking in with Hubbub’s central theme of ‘random acts of kindness’ throughout the day. This reflects our ethos of respect for all, which permeates our school”.

The school, which held a fun fair celebration last year to mark its third outstanding Ofsted report, invited pupils and parents to design a logo to mark the 50th anniversary of the school.

Fourteen-year-old James Palfreyman and his family designed the winning entry, which will be used on school stationery and the website for the next 12 months.

Ms Gerring added: “Special education has changed enormously in the last 50 years. This provision is the perfect example of the way things have changed – the school was initially housed in an Old Victorian infants’ school and today we have a wonderful multi-million pound purpose-built building.

“Inclusion in society is totally different to how it used to be too, although there is still some work to do. There is much to celebrate at our school and we are delighted to able to share this historic event with the pupils and parents who make St Martins the school it is today.”



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