Cosplay Garments by SEN students

Re-engaging young people by devising personalised projects appropriate to their interests was an incredibly rewarding experience. As each student's skill base grew their sense of self-worth also blossomed. Sewing sessions became much needed therapeutic input into these young people's lives.

For almost 2 years I was the Textiles Teacher at Brantwood Specialist School in Sheffield.

Most of the students had a diagnosis of ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) but most had additional barriers to learning (extreme anxiety, ADHD, and several students had Pathological Demand Avoidance).

Each of the students had their own very specific needs because of; their quite complex disabilities and also their previous experiences of educational institutions. Building up trust and good working relationships was my first step.

Many of the students were extremely disengaged from the idea of school and just getting them to be comfortable enough to come to and also to stay in their sessions took time. The school is Steiner inspired and for that reason many of the students were already quite familiar with the wet felt-making process; so although I was employed especially because of my felting expertise, it turned out that once the students realised that I had strong garment making skills they then started to ask to do projects which would use those skills.

Textile Projects Included: making cosplay costumes, appliquéd football flags, personalised sportswear, dressing-up superhero costumes, working with leather, candle making and sculpting with wax, dyeing and hand spinning sheep’s fleece and making matchstick sculptures.

Wet-Felting projects included: large wallhangings, puppets, cushions and two very accomplished hat projects (one a Top-Hat and the other a Fedora).

This page is a showcase of the machine sewn garments made by Young People while I was their teacher at Brantwood Special School.

But although the students’ work and my teaching impressed OFSTED I believe that the main achievement is the growth of each the student's self-worth.

In 2019 I was a temporary Teacher at Becton School; Sheffield Children’s Hospital Site.
A special First Machine Sewn project by a young lady in the Respiratory ward can be read about here. 

"Progress in practical subjects including textiles, felt-making, and art based activities is at times exceptional. This is due to the high-quality teaching, the high expectations adults have of the pupils and the wide range of resources available so pupils can freely explore their ideas and interests.” OFSTED report 2016