‘To give children and young people with additional learning needs every opportunity to pursue their fullest potential, by providing a specialised service through a holistic integrated approach.’
All students at the school are assigned an Assistive Technologist (AT) who works directly with the student to develop custom access solutions.
The school provides a wide range of technology resources that enable students to take an active role in their learning. Students make use of accessible computers, iPads and Windows tablets, interactive white boards, access switches, alternative mice and keyboards, and other access devices to enhance their learning programme.
After an assessment and trials, any technology provision is tailored to the individual’s access requirements. The AT also works in partnership with Teachers, Support Staff, Speech and Language Therapists, and Occupational Therapists to ensure the technology promotes the students’ educational and therapy outcomes.
If students wish, they are able to bring in their own devices which can then access the wireless network. Many students use their devices to keep in touch with parents via Skype, FaceTime or email. After a risk assessment, students are able to use social networking such as Facebook to maintain contact with wider friends and family.
Sam left Craig y Parc School as a pupil in August 2013. Upon leaving school, he continued his education at Bridgend College as a residential student.
During his first year at the college, he undertook a Work Skills course, and then, overcoming difficult personal circumstance, including health issues and a family bereavement, he completed a Level 1 Diploma in IT over 2 years.
Sam applied for a Learning Support Assistant post at Craig y Parc School, and following a successful interview, he secured a position. Sam has now been working at Craig y Parc for around 18 months.
Sam is a great example of what can be achieved, and he is keen to share his experiences and to mentor students within his new role.
Rhys Evans is a pupil support technician at Craig y Parc School. Rhys has cerebral palsy and is a former student of the school. He shares his story here as part of our careers stories.
I grew up in the Rhondda Valley, a South Wales ex-coal mining community, in a close family. I wasn’t sheltered – I had a BMX bike like everyone else, we just locked the peddles and my dad pushed me as I couldn’t pedal. I might have fallen off a few times, but you spit the leaves out and get on with it don’t you? I think I bring that same attitude to my job. In my workplace I see a lot of students that have disabilities leading a protected lifestyle and I understand that, but I want them to see that they can do more.
When I was at Craig y Parc, many people thought that if you were disabled you should be appreciative of the fact that you had a school to go to. There was no focus on what was next. Students now have qualifications when they leave here; I never had that. Technology really helps disabled students these days – as it puts them on an equal footing with everyone else
I aspire to be like everyone else. I wanted to be Michael Schumacher but that wasn’t going to happen, so I was happy to settle for a 9 to 5 job! I work 26 hours a week in Craig y Parc as a Pupil’s support technician . I prep the sensory room arrange with teachers about what equipment they need and also work with the students on an individual level.
I love my job. I feel it is one of the very few jobs where I could turn my disability into a positive. Everywhere is ramped, doors are big the whole set up is ideal for me.
For me, working at Craig Y Parc is all about the students – about who they are and more importantly in the future who they will become after they leave here. I am proof that there is a life after Craig Y Parc, even though surprisingly I find myself back where my education began.”
In 2014 Rhys won an ‘Understanding Disability Award’ for the promotion of positive attitudes towards people with learning disabilities from the Cardiff and Vale Parents’ Federation.