Merton school facilities enabling disabled children to lead more fulfilling life


Perseid school boasts facilities such as sensory rooms, interactive classrooms and a swimming pool.


By Toby Bakare, Natasha Barr, Emma Phippen, Rachel Stevenson and Jon Waring

State of the art facilities at a Merton school are enabling children with profound learning disabilities to lead a more fulfilling life.

The £11.9million campus at Perseid secondary school boasts facilities such as sensory rooms, interactive classrooms and a new swimming pool.

The school, opened on October 1st by Paralympic sailor John Robertson, has 80 students aged 11-19 and hopes to accommodate more in the future.

Teaching Assistant Denyse Garrod said: “It is a brilliant new facility. The children are a lot happier and there is a lot more space for them.”

Ms Garrod singled out the brand new sensory rooms for particular praise.

“For those with learning disabilities it will really help them, they can see much more and they are a lot more interested in what’s going on around them,” she said.

Facilities manager, Roberto Campanile, said the facilities were also used by local community groups including AFC Wimbledon Under-18s who train on the sports field, Aqua Tots and Water Babies.

The brand new campus has also widened the school’s catchment area to include Kingston, Richmond and Epsom.

Merton Council cabinet member for education, Councillor Peter Walker (Lab), said: “Now these children will have shorter journeys and enjoy state of the art facilities.”

The school is linked to Jamaican, Genesis Academy, and they have weekly Skype sessions to broaden the students’ horizons.

A specially commissioned painting was unveiled at the school’s grand opening on Saturday and complements the brand new facilities.

It hangs in the lobby in honour of former pupil Miryam Hasnain who passed away in January 2010, aged 13.

Entitled Memories of Miryam, it includes all of her favourite things such as the colours pink, green and blue, water, and rough edges of cardboard.

Anita Le Sech, the artist, said she used cement and Polyfilla to symbolise the rough surfaces Miryam liked.

To represent Miryam’s 13 years the picture includes 13 mirrors alongside and is placed next to a window in the main lobby.  

Ms Le Sech said: “When the sun shines through on the mirrors the reflections float around the room so Miryam’s presence is still shining a bright light in the school.”

The school’s Head Teacher, Tina Harvey, says the school chose its name to reflect their trail-blazing approach to teaching and learning.

The Perseids are a meteor shower visible between July and August every year. They have been admired for over 2,000 years.

The name originates from the Perseus constellation, where the shower appears to come from.

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