A NEW programme designed to help students with autism cope better with the world around them has been recognised by a special award.

Lancashire County Council school officials were impressed enough with the work ongoing at Pendle View Primary to award the Gibfield Road school their Learning Excellence Award for Innovative Practice.

Under teaching assistant Stephen Lorimer, the school’s sensory integration programme has seen special consideration given to youngsters whose disorders may cause difficulties when it comes to crowds, bright lights and loud noises.

Supporters say that their programme includes exercises and activities which gradually acclimatise children to sensory experiences, reducing anxiety caused by sensory overload, helping them to learn better in class.

Debbie Morris, the school’s headteacher, said: “We're delighted with the award. This celebrates and recognises the outstanding work that our school has been doing for a number of years for our children with autistic spectrum conditions and their families.”

She has made the development of the initiative a priority over the past four years, alongside her deputy headteacher Fran Clayton, with pupils taking part in the course being said to make ‘outstanding progress’ in their lessons afterwards.

One parent said: “We can’t praise the school highly enough and it is one of the best schools we have had the good fortune to work with.”

Last November the school also submitted proposals for a new enclosed play area, providing the opportunity for an outdoor classroom to broaden the range of learning experiences yet further.