UNISON has members working throughout the education system – from primary school to higher education – but some of the schools our members work in are unique.
Waverley is a school for children with severe and complex disabilities. The 120 pupils are aged three to 19, and have varying learning, physical, sensory, medical and emotional needs.
Because of this the school has a lot of support staff. From teaching assistants, office staff and transport organisers, to family support workers, art technicians, caretakers, translators, catering staff and more; they all play a vital role in keeping the children at Waverley safe, happy and learning.
UNISON visited Waverley to meet the wonderful staff and children they support.
A day at Waverley begins for many with being picked up and taken to school in a bus specially designed for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities.
Administration staff make sure everything is in place for a positive school day.
Meanwhile catering staff prepare the food, always ensuring the children receive healthy meals and all their dietary requirements are considered.
Some children receive hydrotherapy in Waverley’s very own school pool.
Lunch time can be an eagerly awaited activity at Waverley.
Staff help the children with meals.
Lots of the children communicate using Makaton, a language program using signs and symbols along with speech.
Children at Waverley often receive valuable one on one support from staff.
It’s getting towards the end of the day and caretakers make sure the school is kept tidy and safe.
Many staff use sensory toys to ensure they are supporting children with multi sensory impairments.
Children also enjoy playing outside in the playground.
Rebound therapy is a popular activity. Some of the children need a hoist to get onto the trampoline.
As is the swing.
After a hard day’s learning, the children head off.
Photographs by Ralph Hodgson