Samworth Church Academy has officially opened its brand new ‘Cubbie’, an immersive space designed to support students’ wellbeing, in particular those with autism and neurodiversity.
The Cubbie was designed by husband-and-wife team, David and Diane McIntyre, who wanted to support autistic children within education through personalised sensory regulation (PSR), developing an immersive space with sound and vision tailored to suit each student. Results show that students are usually able to return to their classrooms in a shorter space of time following its use.
The Cubbie was purchased using funding from the Opportunity Trust, which was founded by the academy’s sponsors, Sir David Samworth and the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. The Opportunity Trust supports the work of Samworth Church Academy by providing funds to enhance activities not normally part of the educational provision of the academy, or to provide financial support to students to take part in activities which they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Samworth Church Academy student Jack Durose, Year 9 has already been using the Cubbie and explained how it works, “I use the Cubbie when I feel upset about something. It helps by giving me time to think by myself and to calm down. I like it because there are many options to use. One of my favourites is the Japanese Garden, which is a waterfall with cherry blossom trees and little bugs around the water. The lights can change colour and I like using the ocean blue. I sit on a swing chair and gently rock and I also like to imagine, -and change the song to one I recognise, -which is fun.”
Katie Hawksley is Assistant Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator at The Samworth Church Academy, and she said, “Cubbie is not just for special educational needs and disability (SEND) students, it’s for everyone. So far, Cubbie has had a positive impact on more than just our neurodiverse students, it is also supporting our neurotypical students. It is able to support any student experiencing stress and is already having positive impact on student mental health.”
Adam Cave is Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCO) at The Samworth Church Academy. He said, “Use of the Cubbie is allowing dysregulated students to spend more time in lessons and less time sensory seeking, -or avoiding areas round the building that they find more stressful. Students feel supported with options specific to their own needs, for example if they need to be calmed down, or alternatively, become more alert, by using the Cubbie’s options to find that balance.”
Jonathan Slobom is Cubbie Marketing Director, and he attended the opening event. He said, “I was delighted to attend the official opening event of The Cubbie at The Samworth Church Academy. I was most impressed by the commitment staff show towards supporting and caring for their students; in particular, Adam Cave, Katie Hawksley and Val Leivers, a Governor, who understand so well how the Cubbie will help the wellbeing its users.
“At Cubbie we are passionate about supporting schools and removing barriers to learning for all. We hope that Samworth Church Academy continues to benefit from use of the Cubbie, improving participation of students and to support the wellbeing of the whole school community.”