PICTURE SPECIAL: Furze Down School downs pens for day of communication

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Banning pens in the classroom might make it a little difficult for pupils to write up their times tables, but for a school in Winslow it’s been a stroke of genius.

Furze Down School, a special school in Winslow, took part in ‘No Pens Wednesday’ on October 4, prohibiting any kind of writing equipment and instead organising activities which emphasise speaking and listening.

Every year group, from early years to the sixth form, took part in the event, filling their day with activities such as constructing ball runs, potting planted daffodils, designing logos and taking trips out into the garden.

Headteacher Alison Rooney said: “The communication and interaction needs of our children are diverse and complex and include those with speech and language delay, impairments or disorders (SLCN) and those with needs on the autistic spectrum (ASD).

“Furze Down School are pleased to support the Communication Trust’s drive to raise awareness of the importance of developing communication skills through ‘No Pens Wednesday’ which takes place every year on the first Wednesday in October.

“The initiative encourages staff to think about innovative ways of developing pupils speaking and listening through engaging activities, this is an integral part of teaching and learning at Furze Down.

“Pupils had great fun on the day; using the green screen room and radio station to develop advertising campaigns, carrying out practical tasks in the garden and life skills flat, retelling stories, working with talk partners and exploring various themes through role play in order to develop a greater understanding of class topics.”

‘No Pens Wednesday’ is an initiative from The Communication Trust and has been running for 6 years, since 2011.