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On Thursday the 8th March, nine superstar readers from Year 7 were invited to a belated World Book Day celebration at Hillside School, a community special school catering to pupils with specific educational needs, ranging from 4 years old to 16 years old. We had been intending to visit on WBD itself, but were thwarted by the snow! The Hillside pupils were taking part in a sponsored read, and really appreciated the opportunity to read with new friends.
Our pupils helped to set out the room with different reading ‘nooks’ for magazines, books, comics; and arranged comfy seats to ensure the Hillside pupils were as comfortable as possible. The Hillside pupils were dressed up for the occasion, in outfits ranging from Spiderman to Harry Potter, and they all looked very literary!
Louis Boulton, whose brother attends Hillside School, said, “I was most looking forward to seeing Oscar, my brother, at his school and I was really excited to “show him off” to his friends. It was really good for my friends at PACA to see what it’s like being around disabled children. I read to Oscar even though Oscar wasn’t paying any attention to me! Then by the end of the time there I had lots of children around me to read too. I absolutely loved it.” Another student with a brother at Hillside, Stephanie, said, “When I was invited to go to Hillside I felt really excited that I was able to read to my brothers and his friends at their school. It was really fun, I enjoyed handing out stickers and getting smiles in return.”
Louis’s mum, Debbie, said, “I thought it was a fantastic idea for PACA children to experience and get to know special needs children. It gives them an insight into other people. I remember myself when I was young being very scared of special needs people because of their different behaviours, thinking they would hurt me. How wrong I was! And if I had had experiences like that my whole attitude would have been different. I would also think it helps a lot having someone like Louis there as he would show no worries about being around these children which would make PACA students more comfortable around them.” Stephanie’s mum told us that, “the children were amazing; it’s so heartening to see PACA children read, care and socialise with children at Hillside. They were all amazing!”
Ms. Openshaw, the Literacy Lead at Hillside, told us, “The PACA students were amazing from start to finish. They helped set up the event and were eager to make sure that everything was just right for when the children arrived. They were kind, polite and really good representatives for the school. The students were patient and caring, our children thoroughly enjoyed working with them. Thank you to all of the students involved, we hope that we can work together again soon. “
The PACA students were fantastic: they read beautifully, behaved impeccably, and were a real credit to the school. Many of them have asked if we can arrange further visits to read with the pupils at Hillside – something we are very keen to do!
Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) is a co-educational school for 11 to 18 year olds based in the heart of the Mile Oak Community in Portslade, Brighton.
PACA’s motto is ‘Unlocking Potential’ and we are committed to unlocking the full potential in our students and staff.