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Special School Festive Fair Raises £2,500

Published 7th December 2012

ABOUT 60 parents and children attended the Bishopswood Special School Christmas fair in Sonning Common. 

More than than £2,500 was raised which will go towards a computer that can help pupils communicate through eye movement. There were stalls selling cakes, gifts and toys, lucky dips, a tombola and a tea room. Father Christmas was in his grotto. 

A total of £900 was raised by a grand auction with prizes including a two-hour cruise with Hobbs of Henley and a £50 voucher from Henley dry cleaners Reids. Davina Turnbull, who chairs the Bishopswood School Association and whose son George, five, is a pupil, said: “We had a fantastic day filled with a lot of fun for the children. We are really pleased with the amount we raised. We’re very thankful for the generosity of the local businesses who made donations.” 

Computers Donated

November 2012

BISHOPSWOOD Special School in Sonning Common has been given two computers by an independent schools company.

Cognita was approached by Robert Harmer, headteacher of St Mary’s School in Henley, which it owns, at the request of Fiona Lloyd, who chairs the governors at Bishopswood.
Cognita donated two Lenovo ThinkCenter desktop PCs to replace the school’s obsolete office computers.

Headteacher Stephen Passey said: “Our office computers were more than eight years old and struggling to cope with the increasing demands placed upon them.
“We are very grateful that Cognita was able to make this generous donation which will make a huge difference to the efficiency of our school office.”

£1,600 Gift to Special School

Published on the 10th September 2012

BISHOPSWOOD Special School in Sonning Common has been given 
£1,600 worth of electronic equipment. 
The donation made by Henley Bridge Rotary Club consists of video 
cameras and iPads to help pupils with their learning. The school 
caters for youngsters with development delay and severe learning 
and physical difficulties. 

Peter Adnitt, a member of the club, said: “I visited the school and saw children learning on a one-to-one pupil-teacher basis from static picture books and charts. Since the tablets arrived they appear much more animated and involved, interacting with colour, sound and video. Sometimes it is 
with the help of a teacher but also often on their own. This gives them confidence and increased self-esteem.” 

Headteacher Stephen Passey said: “We are fortunate to be able to 
offer specialist provision within a mainstream setting at each 
phase — nursery, primary and secondary. The school also offers 
support to families and involvement with the local community.” 

Special School Barbecue in Aid of New Play Equipment

Published on 06 August 2012


MORE than 100 people attended Bishopswood Special School’s summer barbecue in Sonning Common on Sunday. The event raised £745, which will go towards specialist sensory play equipment for the pupils.

There was a bouncy castle, a raffle, a big quad bike that children could sit on and a model train. The Kaz Kan band played a variety of music throughout the afternoon.

Sue Eames, treasurer of the Bishopswood School Association, said: “There was a brilliant atmosphere. It is like a big family of all the children that go to the school as it is such a small school. Everybody always enjoys it.”


Pupils Have Fun Playing the Didgeridoo

Published on the 16th July 2012

PUPILS in Sonning Common were given a chance to perform with a bluegrass singer. 

Lynne Butler brought didgeridoos with her to entertain children at the village primary, Chiltern Edge secondary and Bishopswood Special School. She demonstrated how to play the instrument and sang with the pupils during the workshops, which were held to mark World Music Day. 

Ms Butler said: “The children had a ball and we found some great budding musicians.” The day was funded by the Henley Festival Trust. 

Mandy Beard, community projects manager for the festival, said: “Over the years we have had a close relationship with Bishopswood. We have put professional artists and musicians into the school which means the pupils can be together with the main school pupils.” 

Former Chiltern Edge pupil Jonathan Hobbs, who is a festival trustee, said: “It is fantastic for the children to have new experiences.” 


New Head Takes Over at Bishopswood

Published on 2nd October 2011

Stephen Passey succeeds Jenny Wager, who retired after nine years at the end of last term. He is head of the school’s three sites — the nursery in Valley Road, Henley, and at the village primary and Chiltern Edge secondary, both in Sonning Common....Mr Passey said he had already noticed that Bishopswood was an “incredible” school with supportive staff and families. “It is clearly held with great affection in the community,” he said. “The school encourages quality opportunities for inclusion across the sites, from two- to 16-year-olds.

Meanwhile, the Bishopswood integrated nursery in Henley has been judged “outstanding” by education watchdog Ofsted.

Inspector Aileen Finan visited the nursery at the Valley Road Primary School site in July.

Her report said: “The nursery is highly effective in caring for the welfare and learning needs of individual children and most children make excellent progress in their development in relation to their strong starting points.

“Children are safeguarded exceptionally well by staff who understand their complex needs and attend to these exceptionally well. The nursery has clear and robust policies which keep children safe and enhance their wellbeing.

“The environment is conducive to learning and is safe, well managed and carefully looked after. Staff place the promotion of equality of opportunity at the very heart of their work and have an excellent understanding of children’s needs and backgrounds.

“Parents are extremely positive about the nursery and voice a huge trust in the staff who care for their children. They are skilfully included in the systems of communication to ensure there are effective and productive partnerships and they understand the progress their children are making through informal and formal discussions.”

Ms Finan suggested improving the outdoor area to provide even more stimulation and learning experiences for the children and to do this by liaising with parents.
Senior teacher Carole Parrey said: “The nursery is closely integrated with Valley Road nursery and offers a wide range of carefully planned educational experiences for children with and without special needs.
“Many of the team have worked closely together for many years and are delighted by this rewarding accolade.”

Mr Passey said: “We will be building on the strong foundations clearly in place and the area we are trying to develop over the next few years is the outdoor play area.”

Head Waves Farewell After Nine Years at Special School

Published on 19 August 2011

The headteacher of Bishopswood Special School in Sonning Common has retired. 

Jennifer Wager, spent nine years at the school and said it was “probably the best job I’ve had”.  In November, she is due to have a hip replacement operation and will need time off to recover. Mrs Wager, from Twyford, said: “I am very sad to be leaving — I have had a wonderful time. 

“I have been very lucky as this is such a lovely school with really talented staff who have worked so hard and children who I will miss very much.” She said her highlights included... an Ofsted report in which pupil outcomes were judged to be outstanding. 

Mrs Wager said: “There have been hard times and lots of challenges but we have made good progress and I feel that this is the right time to leave as the school is in safe hands. 

“A special school is a very special place and it provides real job satisfaction.”