Kettering special needs school transforms caretaker’s bungalow into life skills facility

The official opening of the new building at Isebrook SEN College. Cllr Duncan Bain cuts the ribbon together with pupils, staff and school governors

The official opening of the new building at Isebrook SEN College. Cllr Duncan Bain cuts the ribbon together with pupils, staff and school governors

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A Kettering college for children with special needs has re-opened its former caretaker’s bungalow as new facility designed to give students the skills they need for independent living, including cooking, bed-making and gardening.

Isebrook SEN college, in Eastleigh Road, took over the on-site home after the former caretaker retired last July and modified it to accomodate classes of students learning essential domestic skills.

Following the facility’s official launch on Friday Anna Burdett, project co-ordinator at the college, said: “We worked with an architect to transform the bungalow into an ‘independent living suite’ where students can go for lessons in life skills, such as cooking and bed-making.

“It’s designed to qualify them with the basic skills they need to prepare them for adulthood and independent living, which most of us take for granted but can be challenging for them.

“It is essentially still set up as a two-bedroom home, but we have also added a conservatory, areas for socialising with television and pool tables, and space outside for gardening lessons.

“But it’s not just about having fun.

“The groups who come in for lessons compile a portfolio of evidence of the work they have done, which is then assessed at the end of the year and they get a certificate.”

Classes of up to 10 students from the college, which teaches 140 11 to 19-year-olds with a range of learning difficulties, can use the suite at a time.

Groups started work after Easter this year and a breakfast club and after school sessions have also been opened at the suite.

Miss Burdett said: “Everyone is really impressed and excited about what this facility can offer and the students have really been enjoying it.”