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John Inverdale cuts the ribbon on the Clifton Hill Sensory Pod

Students at Clifton Hill School were excited to welcome the TV Sports commentator John Inverdale to the school in Caterham on 27th April. John performed the official opening of a bespoke Sensory Pod, the result of several years of fundraising by the school.

Before the ribbon was cut, students gave a rousing rendition of the school song to a host of visitors including Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council, and representatives of the many charities, local businesses and societies that helped raise an incredible £170,000 for the project.

John Inverdale is the Honorary President of the Surrey branch of the Wooden Spoon, a rugby charity that raises funds for local disabled and disadvantaged children. The Wooden Spoon was the major sponsor of the project, along with charities Garfield Weston, Wolfson and the ACT Foundation.

The Sensory Pod was designed by Osborne Technologies, specifically to meet the varied needs of the students at Clifton Hill, who have severe or multiple profound learning difficulties, and autism. It provides an incredibly exciting and stimulating learning environment, with smart seating that converts into a low couch area accessible via a built-in hoist, sound and touch activated interactive LED features, three types of interactive projection together with scent, wind, temperature and vibration.

Jane Lopez, Chair of Governors said “The Sensory Pod will transport students to an infinite range of places, times and situations, engaging the senses to enhance their learning experience. The flexible design means that the Pod can also become a place of sanctuary. We thank the Wooden Spoon and all of our generous local donors, including Croudace Homes, the Surrey National Golf Club, Caterham Rotary Club and the Army & Navy Lodge.”

The visitors experienced a virtual rollercoaster ride, underwater adventure and rocket launch to demonstrate the exciting possibilities of the iPad-controlled technology.

John and Toby Woolnough cut the ribbon JI making speech John INverdale and Lucy Inside the Pod John Inverdale and Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council