Sun safe summer for Tauranga Special School pupils

A new shade shelter at the school. Supplied image.

Tauranga Special School students are safe from the sun thanks to the installation of new shade sails.

A NZ Community Trust grant of $35,000 has fully funded the installation of shade sails over the school’s sensory playground and hydrotherapy pool.

The previous shade sails had deteriorated badly and were no longer rain and UV proof. The school also upgraded and enlarged the playground in 2015 which resulted in some areas not having shade.

Wanting to ensure the health and safety of their students, the school reached out to NZCT for help.

“The impact of receiving funding from NZCT is huge,” says teacher Jo Crean.

“The Ministry of Education has many rules for playground health and safety, but they do not fund playgrounds or shade structures. The grant will help the school address health and safety needs and provide a visually more attractive environment for pupils.”

The hydrotherapy pool is unique to the school and provides numerous benefits to pupils.

“There are lots of positive outcomes that hydrotherapy can provide for many of our students who have disabilities and chronic conditions,” says Jo.

“This includes managing pain levels, working on their balance and improving strength, range of motion and aerobic capacity.”

“Some do not have the compromised physical and health needs that other students have but they need this environment to learn the basics of swimming, be confident in the water and learn to enter the pool safely.”

Tauranga Special School has four classes at base and nine satellite classes across the city. Staff support more than 70 students, aged between 5 and 21 years old, who have a wide range of disabilities.

“Due to the wide range of disabilities and the complexity within each disability, it is extremely difficult to meet all their needs without specialist equipment,” says Jo.

The school is thankful to NZCT for helping them meet the unique needs of the students they work with, she says.

“NZCT are amazing. The process of applying is straightforward and if I have any questions they are only a phone call away. Our school could not act upon aspects of our strategic plan for students without their support.”

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