Pupils at Fernways School in Surrey enjoyed a visit from a very special VIP guest this week.
The students were joined by special guest the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, who as well as being Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is also the constituency representative for Surrey Heath, where the school is located.
The school, in Windlesham, supports children and young people who are on the autism spectrum and welcomed its first pupils in September this year. Fernways is an independent specialist school offering places for up to 50 children aged between seven and 16. The children who attend Fernways have often found learning difficult in mainstream environments and experienced a disrupted education.
The children invited Mr Gove to take a tour of the school and see how the specially designed environment and facilities create the best possible learning environment to meet their needs.
They also invited Mr Gove to officially open the school library which saw him cut a ceremonial ribbon and unveil a plaque to mark the event before joining the children for a reading session.
Head Teacher Hannah Stroud showed Mr Gove around the school and explained how its bespoke curriculum, specialist teaching and support staff - including in-house clinical input from occupational and speech and language therapists – along with its specially designed environment all combine to help children achieve their potential.
She said: “We were thrilled to welcome Mr Gove to Fernways and for the children to share with him how proud they are of their school and to celebrate the many successes they have already achieved, even in the short time the school has been open.”
Mr Gove said: “Provisions such as this are so vital and the opening of Fernways is warmly welcomed. It was a pleasure to meet the children, especially during UK Parliament Week, and I was delighted to open the school’s library. I look forward to visiting again in the near future.”
Before the school was opened the team worked with architects and building teams to ensure the environment at the school was built in a bespoke way, creating learning spaces which are calm and welcoming and which take into account the sensory and other needs of the children.
The school environment is enabling for young people with consideration on colour, lighting and other elements.