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East Park School in Glasgow is commemorating its 150th anniversary. Initially founded to support children with disabling conditions including life-threatening health issues, the school has evolved to offer education and residential services to children and young people aged 5 to 18, with a focus on complex additional support needs and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Empowering Communication and Choice

East Park prioritises communication for its pupils, many of whom arrive without a meaningful communication system. Through tools like Makaton and PECS, or gradually introducing communication boards, the school ensures that every learner can effectively voice their needs, preferences, and opinions. Providing choices throughout the day fosters agency and maximises engagement among students.

Celebrating Achievements

The school embraces various ways to celebrate achievements. From utilising the Seesaw app for feedback to issuing Good News Postcards and entering pupils for SQA exams, JASS, and John Muir Awards, East Park ensures that every success is recognised and celebrated. Special events, exhibitions, and outdoor activities further highlight the accomplishments of the students. 

Holistic Learning Approach

At East Park, students engage in a wide range of activities, both individually and in small groups, this allows access to learning that would not otherwise be available to them. From cookery and numeracy work to emotional literacy sessions, students work towards qualifications while developing essential life skills. Larger group activities such as Forest School and Fischy Music sing-alongs promote collaboration, communication, and self-esteem. 

Fostering a Supportive Environment

The school boasts purpose-built classrooms and extensive facilities designed to support learning and ensure students' safety and wellbeing. With amenities including sensory-play areas, a multisensory room, Life Skills Centre and a dedicated Art room, East Park provides an enriching environment for holistic development.  

Embracing Power of Play

Recognising play as fundamental right of childhood, East Park prioritises play across its curriculum and learning environments. Play is a vital dimension of childhood, as well as an essential component of physical, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual development.  Staff are committed to facilitating frequent and regular access to play, promoting curiosity, inquiry, and overall wellbeing among students. 

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Commitment to Sustainability

Through its Eco School Committee, East Park instils environmental consciousness in its students. Activities such as recycling initiatives, litter picks, and wildlife conservation efforts contribute to the school's pursuit of the Green Flag award, demonstrating its dedication to sustainability and community engagement.

As East Park School marks its 150th anniversary, it stands as a beacon of excellence in special needs education. Through its unwavering commitment to student empowerment, holistic learning, and community involvement, the school continues to enrich the lives of its students and families. 

Under the leadership of Executive Director Kieron O’Brien, East Park remains dedicated to advocating for its students and pioneering innovative approaches to ensure better outcomes for all.

East Park celebrates its 150th Anniversary and has published a book East Park 150 years of compassion.  It is available on their website

Are you interested in learning more about this independent school? Visit the East Park School’s SCIS profile here.