Social responsibility plays an important role in Swans School’s educational program. Awareness campaigns and charity collections run throughout the academic year, and we are regularly overwhelmed by the incredible support provided by our families to many local and international organisations.
Our All Abilities Day on February 19th was no exception! Swans Secondary School students were encouraged to participate in an array of “all abilities” awareness activities, whilst also fundraising for a hugely popular member of staff – Miss Kim Hugill.
Miss Kim works tirelessly in the Learning Support department, helping our students to develop linguistic and study skills. Due to a stroke, she has struggled with mobility around the school over the past two years and has therefore been frustrated by an inability to interact with students in the way that she usually would. It was with great pleasure and an incredible sense of community giving that we managed to raise enough money to buy her a mobility scooter. However, Miss Kim was quick to shift the focus from herself to the wider issue which (having worked in this sector for over 39 years) has always been very close to her heart.
The highlight of the day was a sitting volleyball tournament where each year group competed in this paralympic event, to give them an appreciation of the sporting abilities of athletes with movement impairment. Players were not allowed to stand or kneel to reach the ball, as they strove to be the first to reach 25 points.
Miss Kim told us, “I hope that our children are now able to better empathise with the struggles of those who are unable to participate in a PE lesson or many other aspects of life. It can be very frustrating when you want to join in or to be independent, but simply cannot. My physical disability now means that I have to get out of bed at least one hour earlier, simply to get dressed. And I often have to ask for help to get out of the house, to cook, to get basic supplies, and many other simple things that other people take for granted.”
Miss Kim goes on to say, “I hope that our students now understand that they can personally make a positive difference to someone with a disability. If somebody is in a wheelchair, you can still talk to them. Accept them for who they are, and smile.”
In addition, tutor times and PSHE lessons were used to play a selection of awareness games where the students’ mental and physical abilities were either challenged or limited.
Para-athlete and town hall delegate Javier Merida also inspired the Swans community, by sharing his story of rehabilitation through sport, following the loss of his leg during an accident in 2007. He has since founded a padel tennis school in Marbella for the disabled, which is completely free of charge and supported by private donations, and which continues to grow in the number of users every year.
All Abilities Day was a fantastic way to end the first half term of 2021. We seek every opportunity to nurture kindness within our Swans community and equip our students with experiences that will empower them throughout their lives.