Wheelchair Dance with Stonyhurst College

Each week Students from Stonyhurst College join us at Newfield to enjoy wheelchair dancing on a Thursday afternoon - they recently wrote an article on their website celebrating this collaboration.

Michael Turner (History Department) wrote about how the sessions with Stonyhurst Voluntary Service programme began over 25 years ago at Dame Evelyn Fox school in Blackburn, which was eventually closed and replaced by Newfield. It took place on Wednesday afternoons and was led by Heather Davies and himself.

Initially, it consisted of a kind of line dancing where College pupils would push their partners around in wheelchairs to Country and Western music, which evolved into more theme-based sounds and some pretty complicated moves, where there would be dances to music from different countries or songs about food or travel. Over time, the pupils would develop strong relationships with their partners, having the same one each week, and it was a pleasure to see the level of communication that was possible through sharing the experience of dancing and the beaming smiles on both sides. Furthermore, for many years, several of the children from Newfield would come and stay at the annual Children’s Holiday Week which was run at St Mary’s Hall. Since the Arrupe programme began, Wheelchair Dancing has now moved to Thursday afternoons and more of our pupils than ever have been able to attend. What is most notable to me about the nature of ‘service’ of this kind is that pupils often begin with the attitude of thinking about what they can do for the children at Newfield, but they invariably come away with a great appreciation of what the Newfield children have done for them.

Michael Turner, Stonhurst College

All of the pupils and staff at Newfield enjoy the sessions and some lovely relationships have developed through the years.

I didn’t know what to expect, however, the sense of purpose and joy you get out of it by seeing how you have given the children something that day - whether that is a single smile or a sense of involvement - is amazing

Student - Sophie

I got along with my partner really well. I saw how something that was so easy for me could bring so much happiness. It gave me a feeling of purpose


Wheelchair dancing has given me the greatest joy. Whatever life is throwing at you, for that hour at Newfield, all is right with the world and my heart is happy. The joy and pleasure of the children may not always be obvious, but getting that smile or squeal of excitement is absolutely wonderful. The staff at Newfield are exceptional and relentless in their drive to give the children in their care the very best learning and experiences and I have felt privileged to play a small part in that. We get so much more than we give, and for this I will always be grateful. I have lifelong memories that will stay with me and remind me when times may be difficult that the simplest of pleasures really can be found in music, dancing and a 20-foot parachute! The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ will forever remind me of my inability to do-si-do, but it never really mattered, as getting it wrong was all part of the fun.

Mrs Rebecca Davies (RS department)
Share this post
Post Categories

More Posts

We hope you enjoyed this post and come back to read our latest news.

Newfield School
Shadsworth Road

01254 588 600

newfieldbwd on twitter

Newfield School is committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults as its number one priority.

Full copies of Policies and Procedures related to all aspects of Safeguarding, and the Complaints Policy, are available on request from Rachel Kay, Head Teacher and Designated Senior Lead for Safeguarding and Child Protection.

Equality Duty

Newfield School complies with the general and specific duties of the Equality Act (2010). In accordance with the duty we publish information that demonstrates that we have due regard to the need to;

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations

These specific duties have been considered in relation to all our policies and procedures in school. Our objectives will be reported on and published as part of the Governance public documents available for inspection under the Freedom of Information Regulations and Data Protection duties and in the school newsletter to parents.

Our Equality Objectives are set, reviewed and published annually in our School Development Plan.

Friday, 21 June. Copyright © 2018-2024 Newfield School, Blackburn, Lancashire. | Web Design by Technology Applied