A SPECIAL school in Clacton has celebrated its fourth ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report by opening its new £40,000 sensory garden.

Shorefields School, in Holland Road, was rated as outstanding by the education watchdog following an inspection in June.

To mark the occasion, pupils and teachers got the chance to experience the school’s new sensory garden and outdoor gym.

The garden includes water play and a mud kitchen, as well as a teepee climbing frame, outdoor chalkboard, summer house and dual axis roundabout.

Headteacher Jennifer Grotier said: “We are very pleased to be officially opening out outdoor gym and sensory garden.

“After 18 months of planning and fundraising, we are able to enhance our school site with these valuable spaces and equipment.

“A very special thanks for donations to Colchester Catalyst, which donated £15,000 towards the project, as well as Palmer and Partners, M&A Fish bar, the Robin Hood pub, Asda, Edith Elms Special School Trust, Roy Kemp, Cheryl Darnell, British Beauty Blogger, and finally our amazing Splash PTA.”

Vassos and Athena Antoniou, from M&A Fish bar in Rosemary Road, Clacton, raised £500 for the garden by donating a day’s taking from teh shop.

Dawn Bryan, from the PTA, spearheaded the campaign to create the sensory garden.

She said: “My daughter started school here six years ago and I was surprised there wasn’t a sensory garden, so we kept holding fundraising events.

“Our children are very touch-sensitive beings and can’t learn unless their sensory needs are fulfilled.

“They need that physical activity that then allows them to sit in a chair and learn in the classroom.”

Alongside the unveiling, the PTA also paid for the Monkey Bus, a bus kitted out with special soft-play areas for children with special educational needs, as a special treat.

The school was praised by education watchdog Ofsted for maintaining its outstanding quality of education maintained by the leadership team and the high aspirations staff have for the children.

Mrs Grotier added: “We are delighted to gain a fourth consecutive ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted.

“It is due to the dedication, hard work and care of our entire staff team.

“We all believe that our wonderful pupils and students deserve the very best that we can offer.”