A group of autistic students are making friends and learning new skills under a new community partnership with Hurstpierpoint College.
A six-week programme of sessions sees the college pupils visit LVS Hassocks, for young people aged 11 to 19 on the autism spectrum, to run sports sessions that are providing social benefits to the autistic students and helping their mainstream counterparts to earn crucial qualifications during their A-levels.
The partnership’s second session was held on Tuesday March 5, with 16 of the college’s lower sixth UK sports leaders hosting sport and physical activity circuit training for ten LVS Hassocks pupils.
The sessions will count towards their level 3 qualifications which will ultimately contribute to UCAS points and enhance their university prospects, whilst also providing great benefits for the students with autism too.
The LVS Hassocks pupils have thrived under the link up, making new friendships and developing a rapport with their specific coaches who they work with each week to build ongoing personal relationships.
The sessions help them feel at ease in the company of other young people who can act as role models for them, and help encourage them to socialise and communicate.
Hurstpierpoint College sports teacher Simon Lilley, who is overseeing the sessions, said: “Our students love coming out and interacting, and it has really opened their eyes to all the brilliant work that they do here at LVS Hassocks and how diverse their curriculum is.
“Everyone is having a good time and it has been mutually brilliant for both parties”.
Interim head teacher of LVS Hassocks, Sarah Sherwood said: “We are delighted with the very successful start to our association with Hurspierpoint College.
“It is really positive for us to link up with another Independent Schools Council school, and there are real benefits to our students.”
The project is giving the pupils access to mainstream role models of similar ages, and exposing them to a wider range of young people to help them socialise and become more comfortable in the company of others.
Several of our students who normally have no interest in sport are engaging really enthusiastically with games now, representing huge personal progress for them, which is a key element in an LVS Hassocks education.