Autism school breaks ground in more ways than one

WORK has started to build a new school for autistic youngsters in Greenfield.

The project on Friezland Lane will see Bright Futures School return to Saddleworth from is temporary home in Greenacres.

It has been made possible by the generosity of cleaning equipment manufacturers Robert Scott who are building the school on land next to it’s head office and mill on Manchester Road.

The new Bright Futures will have 15 classrooms, a room doubling up as a sensory and immersive education space, workshop, two small dining rooms, office, reception space and staff room, as well as toilets and a shower facility.

There will also be an enclosed playground space and a landscaped garden area at the side of the school.

To help equip the school, Friends of Bright Futures School (FBFS)  has set itself a target of £50,000 to fund outdoor gym equipment, interactive touchscreen televisions, door entry and visitor registration systems as well as an immersive education and sensory space.

So far, the PTA has raised £17,000 through grants and donations, including a sponsored bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool undertaken by Helen Baker, an employee at Robert Scott.

This month pupils and staff from the school will undertake  a sponsored walk around Hollingworth Lake.

FBFS is also hosting an Elvis tribute night at Boarshurst Band Clud, Greenfield featuring Kirk Kreole on Friday, November 15. Tickets are priced £10.

Bright Futures School was founded by Zoe Thompson with her late husband Dixon Milburn in 2010 when the local authority was unable to find a school placement to meet the needs of  son Philip.

The school, then in Grasscroft, went from strength-to-strength until Zoe was informed in 2018 the building was o be sold.

Zoe explained: ‘When Daniel Scott from Robert Scott first came to visit us he was looking to help us find a new property to rent.

“We never envisaged Robert Scott would end up building us a new school.

“Together, we have been able to design the space to accommodate our need for a high level of intensive one-to-one work with our pupils.

“So, we have a large number of small rooms, as well as a sensory/immersive education space and a workshop. Alison, our Head of Learning, and I will also finally have a proper office to work from.

“We are also looking forward to finally having an outdoor play and woodland space for the pupils.”

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