Virtual reality at Haywards Heath school: ‘They love it! It brings them to life’

Pupils at a special needs school in Haywards Heath have been immersing themselves in virtual reality.

The pupils at Farney Close School in Bolney have been on trips to space, galleries, museums and war trenches since the school introduced virtual reality headsets.

Virtual reality headsets are being used at Farney Close School in Bolney. Photo by Steve Robards

Virtual reality headsets are being used at Farney Close School in Bolney. Photo by Steve Robards

Emma Shiel, deputy head teacher, told the Middy: “We have introduced virtual reality headsets into the classroom as an innovative way to encourage pupils to engage with the curriculum through technology.

“Our pupils have been experiencing simulations, visual representations of data, and interactive games as tools to help students understand everything from new ways to explore literature to the workings of our solar system.

“They love it! It brings them to life and it gets them excited about learning.

“We have been using them with all year groups and it has been really successful.”

They love it! It brings them to life and it gets them excited about learning.

Emma Shiel, deputy head teacher

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Miss Shiel, who has worked at the school for ten years, said staff was investigating how the headsets can be used with mindful techniques to help pupils regulate their emotions.

She also said the science teacher at the school was using the headsets with pupils for World Space Week.

She added: “It gets them excited about learning and it has really been able to help them with emotions and we are looking into this more.

Pupils at Farney Close School using the virtual reality headsets. Photo by Steve Robards

Pupils at Farney Close School using the virtual reality headsets. Photo by Steve Robards

“There are lots of different ways they can be used. It really is about engaging the pupils and getting them excited – some of the children have trouble staying focussed so the headsets really help.”

Farney Close School is an independent residential special school with charitable status for boys and girls aged nine to 18, who are experiencing Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties (SEMH).

The school also supports pupils whose wellbeing is affected by asperger or tourettes syndrome, moderate learning difficulties, dyslexia or moderate speech and language difficulties.

It also accept pupils who might experience other difficulties that can have an impact on their social, emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties.

The school was founded by the reverend Percy Wallbridge and his wife Vera It will be celebrating its 75th anniversary soon.