Over 2019, The Red House undertook an exciting, new project to engage SEN schools and pupils with the site, museum and music of Benjamin Britten. The project involved a partnership with Autism in Nature, a non-profit organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of people on the autistic spectrum. The Red House worked with Autism in Nature to develop an exciting, new range of trips for Special Schools in Suffolk. Throughout the project, we had the pleasure of developing a range of new, sensory and engaging sessions for three different schools; The Ashley School in Lowestoft, Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy and Stone Lodge Academy in Ipswich. Each school sent two different classes on two separate trips, from September-November 2019. Working with the teachers from the schools, as well as staff from Autism in Nature, we were delighted to develop six different SEN school sessions, which linked to the children’s learning in school and were accessible and fun for all.
It was wonderful to see how engaged all of the children were throughout the six different sessions and the project has helped us to understand the children’s needs in a way we would not have had the opportunity to before. Encouragingly, all schools felt the sessions were excellent with activities pitched just right for the pupils. One teacher was pleased that several pupils were calmer during the session, shouting less than they would usually do in the classroom. Pupils also showed improved memory skills, particularly about the animal masks in the museum. The pupils even wanted to show what they have learnt about Benjamin Britten and his operas in a school assembly and have invited Joe Carr (Collections and Learning Curator) to visit the school to help them to do this; an excellent outcome of the visit. The feedback from all schools involved has been fantastic and we are excited to continue to work with all three schools next year. The below quotation from The Ashley School sums up the importance of museums and visits for SEN Children.
“I have just had the class that visited you and the first thing they said when entering the room was “we visited the Red House”. We continued for the next 20 minutes discussing, enthusiastically, what they had enjoyed, what they had seen and other information about Benjamin Britten. We were amazed at how much they had taken in and remembered. They all said they would like to return and the other adult in the room who learnt about Benjamin Britten at school, but did not know about The Red House, after the children’s excitement and enthusiasm is now hoping to visit the house sometime in the future. It must have been an excellent workshop if the pupils have been left so fired up! Well done to The Red House Team.”
We are delighted to continue our partnership with all the organisations involved in this project into 2020.
By Joe Carr