Paralympic star helps to open school’s new block

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form.  Pictured is paralympian Stephanie Slater with head girl Sophie Foy, 19, and headteacher Lesley Sullivan.
Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form. Pictured is paralympian Stephanie Slater with head girl Sophie Foy, 19, and headteacher Lesley Sullivan.

Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Slater brought the golden touch to Pear Tree School’s ‘impossible dream’ when she opened its new sixth form block.

The £550,000 new facility has been created at the specialist school in Kirkham in the former Kirkham Hall building on ther site – with the public playing a major part in helping to raise the funds.

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form

Stephanie won gold in the 4x100 metres medley relay in Brazil last month and joined guests for the opening ceremony. Headteacher Lesley Sullivan said: “We are delighted with the sixth form – it adds greatly to our facilities.

“It was such an exciting opportunity to redesign, self-finance and create a 21st century further education facility at the former Kirkham Hall.

“The project allowed us to return unproductive land into a site of excellence for our young adults and build a facility which will accommodate their specialist equipment.

“When we were given the building by Lancashire County Council we were overwhelmed by the enormity of what was needed.

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form.  Vice chairman of governors Justin Kimber gives a tour.

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form. Vice chairman of governors Justin Kimber gives a tour.

“But thank goodness for the kindness and generosity of all those who came to our aid.

“From the anonymous donation of a cheque for £20 to the success of a large bid raising £100,000; we managed to achieve our impossible dream.”

Building work has taken six months and Lesley added: “We wanted the building to become a sanctuary; a space where students could address sixth form learning and build daily living capabilities as well as personal, social and occupational skills while using the most innovative IT equipment.

“It will be a place of fun and grown up learning. Sixth form life will get our students ready in many ways for adult living and they will be able to practise these skills in a space that fits their needs and understands the challenges they face.”

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form.  Teaching assistant Sue Sharples with Jordan Cuthbertson, aged 17.

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form. Teaching assistant Sue Sharples with Jordan Cuthbertson, aged 17.

““Pear Tree has always been at the heart of the community and at no time has this been more evident than in this wonderful response from our community in helping us achieve our goal.”

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form

Offical opening of Pear Tree Sixth Form