New purpose-built facilities for children and young people with multiple disabilities and complex health needs who are blind or partially sighted are now open at RNIB Pears Centre in Coventry, following a major redevelopment.
Find out why we’ve invested in this specialist service and follow our journey from Rushton Hall in 1957.
Our modern, purpose-built facilities were officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in September 2012. Their design aims to develop and encourage independence, cater for children's individual needs and minimise the impact of their disabilities. All areas are accessible for wheelchair users or people who have restricted mobility.
Our new buildings are being equipped with some of the best technology, equipment and aids. This is transforming the environment and improving specialist support for children and young people who live, learn and grow at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning.
We know that there is significant association between sight problems and complex needs. RNIB estimates that between 9,000 and 12,000 of the 25,000 children in the UK who are blind or partially sighted may also have additional disabilities, including some or all of the following conditions:
A child with such complex needs requires high levels of care and support, which mainstream schools are not able to provide. Many of these young people aren't in specialist schools so they're not getting the educational opportunities they deserve.
There is also growing demand from some parents for year-round care provision. The need for this type of specialist provision is set to increase and this is why the redevelopment of RNIB Pears Centre is so important.
The aims of our redevelopment are to:
At £30m, our redevelopment is the largest capital investment ever made by RNIB. We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the redevelopment project to modernise and extend our facilities. We would particularly like to acknowledge Pears Foundation who have shown enormous support by investing over £1million in the development of our new site.
We have more than 50 years' experience of offering specialist education and care to children and young people with multiple disabilities and complex needs who are blind and partially sighted. Here is an overview of our journey from 1957.
1957: RNIB Rushton Hall School is established at Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire.
2002: We move to a shared site with Exhall Grange School in Coventry, North Warwickshire and become RNIB Rushton School and Children’s Home.
2005: Plans are produced to redevelop the entire Rushton site.
2007: RNIB purchases our land from Warwickshire County Council.
2008: Builders arrive on site and our redevelopment and transformation begins.
2010: We become the only non-maintained special school in England to be awarded specialist status in Special Educational Needs (SEN) cognition and learning by the Department for Education (DfE).
2011: Our name changes to RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning and we launch our individual logo. Ofsted grades our children’s home as “outstanding”. Our school is awarded a prestigious Research Charter Mark.
2012: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opens our new purpose-built facilities. An adapted version of RNIB’s silver gilt winning Chelsea Flower Show garden from 2011 is installed on site.
2013: Ofsted rates our school as “outstanding”. Our newly-established care service for children with additional medical needs achieves full Care Quality Commission (CQC) compliance. Our school achieves the gold standard Inclusion Quality Mark. We are presented with an award for Excellence in Environmental Improvement.