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Special students fly to athletics glory

Published Friday, 06 May 2011

On Sunday 8th May, eight young people who attend West Lea Special School in Edmonton are flying out to Northern Cyprus to take part in an athletics meeting organised by special needs school, Lefkosa Ozel Egitim Merkezi.

The West Lea students will be competing against other young disabled students from Turkey and Northern Cyprus over three days.

This is the first time that a UK team has been invited to take part in this athletics event, but this year Lefkosa Ozel Egitim Merkezi is making the games international and wanted the UK to be represented before the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games start next year.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Cabinet Member for Schools and Children's Services, said, "West Lea students can be particularly proud of their achievements and I wish them every success. We are delighted that they are representing, not only Enfield, but also London and the UK in this international event."

West Lea's head teacher, Sue Tripp, said, "Our students are excited and have been training very hard for this competition. This will be a great experience for them and we know that they will do their best in all their races.

"All team members have some learning difficulties and a few have some physical disabilities but this is no barrier to their determination and willingness to succeed.

"Our thanks go to the Royal Small Arms Trust who have donated £5,000 towards the costs of the flights and hotel for the eight students and seven staff members."

The West Lea team will consist of four boys and four girls aged from 11 to 17 and they will be racing in:
50 metres running race
100 metres running race
200 metres running race
4 x100 metres running race (as a team) and long jump

Staff and students at West Lea hope to maintain links with Lefkosa Ozel Egitim Merkezi and develop this event into an annual international.

Information about the school:
- West Lea School has specialist sports status.

- All 107 pupils have a statement of special educational needs.

- Pupils have a wide range of disabilities, some multiple, and complex needs including social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, sensory impairments, medical needs and autistic spectrum disorders.

- About half of all pupils are from minority ethnic backgrounds. The school has achieved a number of awards including Healthy School status and the Leading Parent Partnership award. It provides an outreach service to give support to mainstream schools.

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