Special school hoping to open a second shop

Wren Spinney Community Special School pupil Thomas Cooke and Richard Chapman of the Four Seasons Day Centre package their newsletter
Wren Spinney Community Special School pupil Thomas Cooke and Richard Chapman of the Four Seasons Day Centre package their newsletter

A SPECIAL school shortlisted as the best in the country hopes to open its second shop to offer pupils work experience.

Wren Spinney Community Special School, which is in the last six of the TES Outstanding Special Needs School of the Year award, will hear this week if it can open a hair salon and office around the corner from its existing sweet shop in Gold Street, Kettering.

Headteacher Debbie Withers said: “We have been and had a look and danced up and down in excitement.

“We are just waiting to hear back from the landlord.”

The Kettering school, which won the Henry Winkler Award for Special Needs last October after opening The Shop three years ago, hopes to open the salon downstairs in the former See Hear opticians in Lower Street, with offices for pupils to carry out packing and administrative work above.

The new premises would be called The Workshop.

The pupils would be working alongside a trained stylist as apprentice hairdressers, shampooing, giving head massages, clearing up and taking bookings over the phone and face-to-face. They would not cut hair.

Pupils less confident at working directly with the public could stuff envelopes, assemble and pack products and carry out administrative work for The Shop and Workshop in the office.

Half a dozen pupils worked with senior citizens from the Four Seasons Day Care Centre in School Lane to prepare Age UK newsletters in April.

Bishop Stopford School has asked pupils to pack mint imperials for pupils taking exams. Wren is looking for other organisations to work with.

The school is also looking at opening a creche with baby massage, toddler signing, sensory storytelling, arts and crafts and rhyming sessions. It may also sell second-hand school uniforms.

Pupils have already set up a car wash, complete with home-made uniforms at the school in Westover Road.

Ms Withers, who was invited to meet the Prime Minister at Downing Street after the school won the Henry Winkler Award, said: “The big drive has been that all people who are disabled or who have special educational needs taking their place in the community. We believe that but it’s difficult to engage with the community if you’re stuck in a cul-de-sac at the edge of town.

“It’s easier to engage with the community if you’re in the middle of it.”

Once the contract is signed pupils will help decorate the new premises ready for it to open at the start of the new school year.

The school will find out if it has won the TES award at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London, on July 6.