Wigan borough special school wins prestigious education award

A Wigan borough special school has been named the best of its kind in the country.
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Rowan Tree Primary Special School in Atherton was announced as specialist provision of the year at the prestigious TES awards.

The glittering ceremony was hosted by actor James Nesbitt at the Grosvenor hotel in London.

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Senior Leaders from Rowan Tree Primary Special school receiving their award from actor James Nesbitt (left)Senior Leaders from Rowan Tree Primary Special school receiving their award from actor James Nesbitt (left)
Senior Leaders from Rowan Tree Primary Special school receiving their award from actor James Nesbitt (left)
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Judges told the school had won the prize because of its pioneering approach to pupils’ diets.

Staff at Rowan Tree Primary School have been spreading the word about the impact of restrictive diets on their learners;

Back in 2019 the school recognised from staff and parent feedback that a high proportion of the youngsters had a restrictive diet due to their additional needs, with pupils often eating just one or two types of food. This was having a negative impact on the children’s weight, mood, oral health and ability to enjoy family meals.

Senior leaders committed time to researching avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) before developing a training plan for staff and families and a Food Facts curriculum which included daily, personalised sessions for every one of the school’s 117 learners.

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Leaders know the Food Facts project is having a positive effect by monitoring each learner’s food intake and seeing the increase in the variety of foods and textures they try. This information is then used by staff to support the learners to further widen their diets.

Rowan Tree Primary is now providing training, resources and ongoing support to colleagues in mainstream schools across the borough so that they too can support pupils with additional needs and ARFID.

Judge Vijita Patel said: “The evidence base presented by the school in their submission clearly demonstrated the impact of their work.

"The way the school has tackled the challenging topic of diet and worked with pupils, staff and families to make it work so well is extremely impressive"

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