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North East Connected

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ByDave Stopher

Oct 16, 2023

Cleaswell Hill, an outstanding day community special school in Guide Post, officially opened its new satellite site ‘The Appleby Centre’ on Friday 29th September.

The Appleby Centre provides an inspirational educational facility for thirty students with special educational needs and disabilities, with a focus on the promotion of independence, life skills, vocational skills and preparation for adulthood, bridging the gap between school, work and post-16 provision.

The building, extensively refurbished by ID Construction & Joinery and Steven Kirk Architectural Services, has three key vocational areas, including rooms focused on performing arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and core skills. The outdoor space around the building, including a poly tunnel and allotment, will be utilised to facilitate horticulture and Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Lynn Watson OBE commented ‘Cleaswell Hill SEND school has a dynamic vision for an aspirant sixth form provision which supports pioneering approaches to the education of its oldest students. Leaders have worked with the LA to provide a bespoke centre which will provide opportunities to extend the school’s curriculum offer within the context of optimising independence in adulthood. Students will gain experience of work related learning in a dedicated base ‘

The Appleby Centre takes its name after Cleaswell Hill School’s former long term employee and local resident, Christine Appleby, who sadly passed away last year. Christine was an extremely popular member of staff whose energy, commitment and enthusiasm for supporting and educating children with special educational needs and disabilities was second to none. During Christine’s twenty three years of employment at Cleaswell she worked across the age and ability range of the school, most recently playing a vital role in developing the school’s provision for its most complex pupils.

The Appleby Centre was officially opened by Christine’s family on Friday 29th September.  The event was attended by school staff members, governors, supporters from the local community, local member of parliament Ian Lavery and representatives from Northumberland County Council including David Street.

Christine’s family stated ‘As a family we would like to thank everyone involved with the project and making the Centre a great place, especially Christine’s colleagues and friends. Christine loved working at Cleaswell Hill and was extremely committed in her role teaching and caring for the pupils with a passion for promoting progression to adulthood. Christine would be honoured and delighted that the Centre has been named in her memory and even more thrilled that it will be the pupils who will benefit most from the facility for years to come.’

Mike Jackson, Headteacher stated ‘The Appleby Centre is an exciting addition to our provision at Cleaswell Hill School providing our older pupils with new learning opportunities and supporting their transition into adulthood.  I hope that the provision proves to be a fitting tribute to Christine, a greatly missed colleague and friend.’

To find out more information about Cleaswell Hill School, Cleaswell Hill School: The Appleby Centre and Cleaswell Hill Foundation (Registered Charity Number 1000697), visit www.cleaswellhill.northumberland.sch.uk