An independent school for boys has been nominated for a national innovation award for its high-quality provision for special needs pupils.

Pupils at Aurora Woodlands in Darwen enjoy access to a range of specialist on-site facilities which include a multi-sensory room which incorporates light, sound and a range of specialised equipment for both interaction and relaxation.

The National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools has shortlisted the school for its holistic therapeutic model.

Headteacher Sarah Gregory: “We recognised that there’s a continued delay in the support from different therapeutic services following the Covid-19 pandemic so our focus over the last year has been to develop our therapeutic spaces.

"We're continuously looking at different ways to improve our environments, specialist expertise and skill sets to support the individual needs of our students.”

Sarah added that since introducing a Wellbeing Woodland project they’ve experienced an increase in student referrals and welcomed 14 new students this year, with nine more joining in September.

Parent Cath Black said: “The school constantly looks to innovate and adapt and this has been a key feature of the school and why we chose it over so many other special schools.

“My son became a school refuser after a traumatic primary school experience and we were worried that we would be unable to get him to attend school in any meaningful way again. He’s now attending full time and this could only have been achieved by an innovative approach tailored to meet Bradley’s individual needs.”

The winner will be announced on October 6 at an award ceremony in Brighton.