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Schools Case Studies

Lindsworth Special School

Date Added: Thu, 20 Jan 2011

Related tags: Competition, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 2, Extra-curricular, Funding Ideas, Staff, SEN, Birmingham

Lindsworth Community Special School is Europe's largest School for Emotionally and Behaviourally Disturbed (EBD) 11 -19 year old girls and boys. The School is situated four miles SW from the centre of Birmingham and pupils are transported daily from all parts of the City.

Lindsworth provides a safe, stable and secure environment for the 210 statemented pupils in its care. The success of the school comes from the staff who have established a unique structured learning environment. They facilitate a broad and balanced curriculum that supports pupils so that they have the opportunity to realise their full potential both academically and socially. PE and Sport are central to the School's culture. In January 2003 PE staff began planning a renewal of facilities. A grant of £5,000 was awarded by the Lord's Taverners to improve the Health and Fitness facilities. The money enabled the purchase of three Indoor Rowers and four exercise bikes. Over the last few years staff have applied for more external funding to support improving equipment and have been successful with providing more opportunities for the pupils.

Indoor Rowing - The Steve Redgrave Trust

In September 2004, Indoor Rowing was given a further boost when Lindsworth was one of the first twenty Birmingham City Schools sponsored by The Steve Redgrave Trust. Five new Indoor Model D Concept 2 Indoor rowers with PM3 monitors were added to the fitness equipment. Indoor Rowing sits well in the "City Strategy for Physical Activity and Sport" and aligns with all Birmingham school improvement agendas. Within two months Lindsworth was the first Steve Redgrave School to host an Indoor Rowing competition. Calthorpe Special School and Baverstock School competed together to highlight the progress made by the schools in the first term of the project.

Colin Bateman, Head of Centre, takes up the story:

"The indoor rowing initiative has been a great success within Lindsworth and the wider community including the sports college partnership. The project has increased the access and sporting opportunity available to severely disaffected youngsters who would have never experienced rowing if it was not for the Steve Redgrave Trust.

The competitive element of the sport has raised self esteem, instilled discipline and increased the ability to work as part of a team. The project has enhanced cross curricular links within the school which has improved pupils' engagement in academic subjects.

The equipment has created a real buzz within the PE Dept and the future looks exciting as we will be hosting a Special Schools Rowing Event in the summer term."


Indoor Rowing is timetabled in a seven week programme for all pupils with baseline testing included. 80% of Year 7 pupils fit in the top percentile for their age group from data collected at the summer 2005 Summer Sports Day. Senior pupils work towards the BTEC National Award with Indoor Rowing an option for practical sport and a leadership module which involves coaching. It also involves using the PM3 monitor on the Indoor Rower to provide feedback from fitness training. Throughout the school, each pupil's performance in Indoor Rowing is monitored, assessed and evaluated. Achievement and progress are recorded and rewards reinforce the effort made and the interest shown by each pupil. Each week in the whole school Friday assembly there are PE prizes for pupils and names a placed in a draw. These are motivators to improve and reinforce positive behaviour. Education objectives focus on IT supporting PE but also linking together other subject areas. The benefits from Indoor Rowing are both for the individual and group; as competition enhances development of teamwork, enterprise and social skills.

Out of School Hours Use

There is a full programme of sports in the activity clubs on four nights from 3.30 - 7.30pm. Indoor Rowing is available as part of the Fitness Club each day from Monday to Thursday. Again on Wednesday and Thursday there's a stand alone Indoor Rowing club where there are mini competitions and pupils help each other with technique and coaching. Pupils who are based in the four homes on site have unstructured access to the Indoor Rowers and fitness equipment after school.

Staff Use

Staff have are encouraged to use the Indoor Rowers and they are available before school each day and two nights a week after school.

Links with primary schools

Indoor Rowing is introduced to local primaries within the partnership by the Lindsworth's SSCo and the targets are the overweight/inactive pupils.


There are termly Events and an end of year Sports Competition held over two consecutive mornings. On one day the lower school Row with the seniors competing in general sports. The following day this is reversed for both groups. There are awards made in three skill levels with two prizes for each group and a special prize for ability.

Last year pupils took part in a Red Nose Day Sponsored Row and recently Sue Cook, a Director from Comic Relief visited the School for feedback into how the Steve Redgrave Indoor Rowing project is working. She was impressed by the pupils rowing in a competition, how well they answered her questions and made her welcome for the day.

Learning at Lindsworth

The Lindsworth community is based on learning and knowledge. It stems from realistic direction and efficient leadership by senior management. This culture is supported by dedicated, effective staff. They are consistent in developing, sharing and promoting agreed values for the welfare of all. Skilled and committed teachers understand the characteristics of emotional problems. They are able to distinguish these difficulties from general naughtiness or short term disturbances. They have a successful and well monitored behaviour policy with frequent rewards for attainment, attendance and good conduct. As a result, self esteem and confidence grows which again is reinforced by achievement from an appropriate and challenging curriculum. Indoor Rowing enables pupils in a Special School to make step changes to become healthier and confident individuals.

Staff have know-how motivating disaffected youngsters through a wide range of sporting activities. Besides Indoor Rowing, these include football, table tennis, cricket, athletics, mountain biking and canoeing. They have a structured outreach sports programme supporting other schools in the partnership where poorly motivated pupils are brought in by minibus after school. The sessions run for an hour and for the first ten weeks skills are taught and practiced. In the last two weeks there are competitions involving them together alongside Lindsworth pupils.

There's information available about the learning framework and the outcomes for youngsters from the experiences at Lindsworth. To find out how it can be applied to other schools please contact Heath Mason, Assistant Head Teacher.


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