WYVERN Academy has splashed out on new facilities at its hydrotherapy pool.

The specialist school in Weymouth has spent £25,000 on the refurbishment so that children with physical disabilities can use the pool more easily.

There is now an overhead hoist, slings and a stretcher bed to help youngsters get in and out of the water safely.

Sue Marshall, moving and handling advisor at the school, said the project was inspired by 17-year-old student Christopher Barr-Smith.

She said: “The project was inspired by one of our students, Chris, who has difficulties with his sitting and couldn’t use our old system because he couldn’t sit in the pool chair.

“Chris has severe learning difficulties and complex physical needs, he is a very determined and positive young person who has inspired the team around him to explore and implement the changes within the hydrotherapy pool.

“We can now cater for all needs, which is important because the hydrotherapy is very beneficial.”

She said Chris’s difficulties led school staff to realise that the facilities needed changing.

“Now there is an opening straight from the changing rooms into the pool area and with the hoist, slings and bed the children are able to get into the water while they are lying down,” she added.

The facilities are part of a new programme called MOVE which aims to provide children and young people with the opportunity to develop independence and mobility.

Ms Marshall said the new facilities would enable young people to actively engage in the programme and develop their confidence.

She said: “The water is really warm, which relaxes the muscles and supports physiotherapy and other programmes.

“It also provides respite from being in a wheelchair, which is always good, there are no straps or pressure and allows the student to move freely and be totally supported.

“The pool is used about four or five times a week and we also have other groups and organisations that come in and use the facilities.”


The makeover includes a new underwater music system with speakers and a wireless microphone, designed to make the hydrotherapy session more stimulating and interactive.

Wyvern Academy worked in partnership with Swifttech and local contractors to implement the changes.

The music system cost £927 and was funded by the Friends of Wyvern School.