A school in Newtown that has opened a new sensory room for children with additional learning needs is calling on other schools to do the same after seeing "absolutely outstanding" results within a short amount of time.

St Mary's Catholic Primary School found that there were not enough provisions for children with special educational needs (SEN) who are finding their way into mainstream schools.

Open to every child in the school, the Nurture Nest is tailored to suit the children’s needs, featuring an array of lights, colours, calming sounds, music and soft play equipment that helps the young people relax, engage and stimulate their senses in a safe environment.

None of it would have been possible without the fundraising efforts of parents who contributed hundreds of pounds to make the sensory room a reality.


The school’s Nurture Nest lead is Sonia Harris who has almost a decade of experience with Derwen College, a specialist college for young people with SEN and disabilities near Oswestry.

“Firstly, we are so thankful for the help and support of the parents helping to raise funds for us to be able to create our Nurture Nest," she said.

“Children with special needs are finding their way into mainstream schools as there are not enough provisions out there for them. It is vital that all schools adapt and create a welcoming and safe sensory environment.

"I feel that if we don’t, we are failing our children in supporting their education and needs. The difference our Nature Nest has made to all our children is incredible.”

Headteacher Sarah Ruggeri said the Nurture Nest reflects the inclusiveness of the school.

“Wellbeing is at the heart of this welcoming, low-arousal environment which supports our learners with specific sensory needs. This calming safe space provides a richly resourceful setting which enables our learners to fulfil their sensory requirements.

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"Our Nurture Nest is open to our whole school community, optimising the learning potential of each and every one of our learners as they are supported to flourish in their own time and in their own way.”

SEN teaching assistant at the Nurture Nest Harry Austin said the room has made a "massive difference" to one little boy who struggled for months to write his name but now spends all his time in class.

"We get amazing work out of him; he sits, listens and learns, enjoys himself and more importantly he’s happy.

“The benefits of us creating this space is so important to our children. It is where they can self-regulate themselves away from the busy classroom. We hope that what we have created inspires other schools and educational settings to understand the importance of this need within the mainstream settings.”