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Pupils at Swiss Cottage special needs school enjoy leavers ball

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 July 2013

Pupils at the Swiss Cottage School leavers ball. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Pupils at the Swiss Cottage School leavers ball. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Outgoing pupils at a special needs school bid a reluctant farewell to teachers and friends at a glitzy end-of-year dinner and dance.

Year 11 students at Swiss Cottage School and Development & Research Centre marked the end of their school days at a special leavers ball on Wednesday last week.

The formal function, held in the school hall, was a bittersweet moment for the pupils - as they move onto college courses across north London having enjoyed just a handful of months in the school’s new state-of-the-art facilities.

Headteacher Kay Bedford said: “They are excited about what they are moving onto and they are also a bit scared about what lies ahead – and they are sad about leaving.

“It’s really important we mark transitions for our children. We mark all transitions - including children coming into the school - and in many ways the final one is most important because it’s the summation of what they’ve done here and they are moving on somewhere else.”

The new £24million school building, in Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage, finally opened in October after a frustrating seven-week delay in building work from contractors BAM.

It meant pupils at the school were forced to begin the academic year in temporary classrooms dotted across north London.

Lorna Bailey, deputy headteacher of the upper school, organised last week’s ball to celebrate the achievements of the 13 outgoing pupils, who have a range of learning difficulties.

She said: “I think this year has been quite a challenging year for them because they had to cope with being taught in three different locations so I thought let’s celebrate because we’ve done so well.

“Parents, friends, family members, learners and staff came together as a community to celebrate the outstanding progress made.”

Last Tuesday, the school also hosted a special cocktail party for residents living nearby as part of the Pigs4Kids campaign, backed by the Ham&High.

We are asking readers to raise £60,000 for the campaign to support the new Development & Research Centre at the school, by adopting special Pigs4Kids piggy banks, filling them up and returning them to us.

So far, the campaign has raised more than £22,000 for the new centre and has received the backing of a number of high-profile figures, including Hollywood star Kevin Spacey and education secretary Michael Gove.

Reflecting on the last nine months since the new school building’s opening, Ms Bedford added: “It’s not been without challenges [but] it feels like people are very settled in their roles at Swiss Cottage School and parents report that they are very happy with the progress their children are making.”

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