A teacher at a Blackpool special school has picked up an award for enterprise for her pioneering work with students.
Joanne Martin from Highfurlong School was the UK winner of the Department for Education Teaching Award for Enterprise. In recent years, Joanne has set up more than 80 different businesses to give students, half of whom are in wheelchairs, the experiences and skills they need to take their place in the world after leaving school. Regional judges who saw her in action said that her achievements with special needs students put many mainstream schools to shame.
At any one time, Highfurlong learners operate at least ten businesses in school as part of their curriculum. In recent months, younger students have been making “cleaning fairies”, an all-in-one package of cleaning fluids, cloths and scourers. The different textures of cleaning materials help to develop pupils’ sensory skills.
Older students, meanwhile, have made World Cup souvenirs and put together chill-out relaxation packs, which include face masks and scented candles. Other products range from fruit drinks and hanging baskets to sporting activities devised for elderly people in residential homes.
Ms Martin was presented with her award by successful entrepreneur Levi Roots at the recent Teaching Awards ceremony in London, which was broadcast on BBC TV.