Donacloney pupils show their support for Buddy Bear

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THE pupils and staff of Donacloney PS held a non uniform day to support children with cerebral palsy at the Buddy Bear Trust Conductive Education School In Dungannon.

Craigavon Councillor and former MLA Mr George Savage, Chairman of Donacloney PS told the children one day at assembly about his 20-year working relationship with the Buddy Bear Trust and the benefits the school had made to children trapped by cerebral palsy.

Mr Savage was able to tell staff and pupils that he had spoken at the Assembly in support of Buddy Bear Trust and the rights of parents to be given choice when selecting a special school for their very special child. The Assembly resolved in 2006 to fund and support the independent special school but to date that funding had not been provided and the school had to rely on charitable donations.

Brendan McConville, Chairman of the Buddy Bear Trust and former Education Officer who had been involved in the schools in the SELB area for almost 30 years, showed the children a moving video about the work of the Trust and the way that it had changed the lives of children and families over 25 years.

When the video was finished two children at the school told Miss Nesbitt, Principal and Mr McConville that one of the children was a friend of theirs and that he could now walk a little by himself. Brendan told the children and the teachers that one child in 400 was suffered from cerebral palsy and it was very likely that a friend might be a suffered who could benefit from conductive education.

He said, “I have always valued teachers and their dedication to helping all children. I particularly appreciate the contribution that teachers in special schools and units make to the lives of children.

“Conductive Education is an additional resource in educating severely disabled children. It should not be seen as a challenge to the existing schools and units. There are many of these schools in the UK.

“I am saddened as a retired Education Officer and former vice-Principal of a great special school that some Board officers still don’t tell parents about the Buddy Bear School and Conductive Education because we are an independent school open to children of all and no faiths.

“It is unbelievable that some officers are still so selfish and petty when it comes to helping children and parents. David Cameron PM told us during a public televised meeting that parents should be given full information about the schools and options available to enable them to make choices. Parents will have no option but to refer their concerns to the Children’s Commissioner and the Human Rights Commissioner.

Councillor George Savage showed his support for Buddy Bear when he attended the meeting in Donacloney PS when a cheque was handed over by one of the children.