Bassett House School and Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre have celebrated the launch of their community partnership.
Pupils from the north Kensington prep school – which is part of Dukes Education – are already enjoying riding lessons at Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre (WSPC) – an inner-city community riding school for children and young people, many of whom have learning difficulties and physical disabilities.
The partnership is an exciting opportunity to take learning out of the classroom and bring the curriculum alive for Bassett House students. Rather than have a biology lesson in school, pupils are learning about animal science and physiology in WSPC’s dedicated learning centre.
As well as the riding lessons, on both ponies and mechanical horses, pupils are also learning about all aspects of horsemanship, such as managing and grooming horses.
As well as the regular riding lessons, Bassett House has been carrying out fundraising events in school in aid of WSPC and has so far raised nearly £1,400. This support provides WSPC with a vital income stream and longer-term financial security.
WSPC is a registered charity which relies entirely on donations to continue its work; the Covid pandemic was a hugely challenging time for the stables. This community partnership will help the pony centre to continue its work as a centre for the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) as well as offering equine therapy and riding lesson to less advantaged children not able to access such opportunities.
Kelly Gray, head of Bassett House School, said: “We are absolutely thrilled about this new partnership. At Bassett House School, we are all about community, and this partnership, which takes experiential, real-life learning outside the classroom and into the community, ticks so many boxes for us.
“Aside from the obvious physical and therapeutic benefits of riding for our pupils, the children are getting involved in community service by helping at the stables, as well as learning about the physiology of the horse, from fight or flight instincts to the equine digestive system.”
Sister Mary-Joy Langdon, CEO and founder of WSPC, said: “We are so grateful to this community connection with Bassett House School. Long may it last and develop. All the BHS children who attend the pony centre greatly benefit from being part of a rural haven in the middle of the city where they learn so much through the ponies.
“Since we started working together, a good bond has grown between us. The children attend weekly sessions and take part in pony learning and mounted riding lessons. Through the funding generated by our partnership with BHS we will be able to continue to provide the opportunities for many other children and young people to have life changing experiences Thank you Bassett House School for supporting what we do here.”