Open Up Orchestra

The Three Ways School orchestra has really begun coming into it's own during term 4 and 5. Since September Lizzie and Mike have been working with individual pupils and pairs exploring different instruments and sounds to find those they are most suited to. During term 3 and 4 these became small groups where the pupils were able to start exploring Beethoven! 
Excitingly we have now formed two larger groups - in preparation for a whole orchestra by the end of Term 5! The pupils have each selected an instrument of their own and are beginning to read simple notation, playing as a group and working on one Beethoven piece.
We hope to work towards a performance at the end of the year!

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Bournemouth University - 3D Printing and Design

We have been given the chance to introduce pupils to the world of 3d modelling and 3d printers.

This opportunity comes about from a student from Bournemouth university.

The goal of the project is to develop 3D modelling software that is accessible to all and easy to use.

Our pupils have created a wide range of items that show a huge range of creativity and skill.

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Staff Contributions to Educational Publications

Liz Henderson - Senior Speech and Language Therapist

The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties

Chapter 14 'Ups and Downs - How Learners with SLD / PMLD view their schools experience'
Henderson et al
This chapter enables the powerful voice of learners with SLD / PMLD to be heard through interviews with students. The authors suggest that the perspectives of learners be considered when setting learning challenges, and that more time should be taken to discover what students really feel about school. 
Chapter 29 'Literature and Stories in the Lives of Learners with SLD / PMLD'
Grove, Harwood, Henderson, Park & Bird
This chapter addresses the importance of literature and stories for all young people, despite the barriers to learning that pre-verbal or early communicators face. It explores approaches to meaningful use of classic and modern literature in the curriculum and ways in which personal narratives can be recounted by learners with SLD / PMLD.

Ben Edwards - Assistant Head Teacher 

Creative Islands

Recounting a sensory journey of discovery alongside a group of KS3 pupils with additional social and emotional needs.


Rachel Lacey - Teaching Assistant


The Boy in the Bed

Tales from direct work carried out through play based approaches in India.


Adrian Snell, Music Therapist & Arts Therapy Consultant/Lucy Heaton class teacher & THRIVE practitioner
Welcome to my world: The role of music within an arts rich, therapeutic curriculum
A conference paper given at the International Research in Music Education Conference, Bath Spa University, Spring 2017.
Based on their ongoing collaboration where therapist and teacher facilitate a multi-arts, sensory environment, the paper discusses the role of music as pupils explore emotions within the context of their own lives and those of their peers.

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Smart Lab and Creative Partnership Schools

Three Ways School worked alongside Professor Lisbeth Goodman to develop the role of technology in inspiring creativity amongst pupils and staff.  As part of our Creative Partnership School status, Professor Goodman and artist Yasmeen Al-Awadi both performed the role of Creative Agent supported a number of projects including, digital storytelling, jewellery making, scent-based stories, camouflage and Eye-Gaze Technology research.  More information can be found here

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MUSE/ Open Up Music -

Three Ways worked with Barry Farrimond and Doug Bott of the “MUSE” project and lately “Open Up Music” for a few years running.

Together we explored the use of music technology and bespoke accessible instruments for therapeutic use, music education and as part of a SEN school orchestra project.  

The students worked tirelessly with mentors from the Paraorchestra to develop their interpretation of Monte Verdi’s Pur Ti Miro which was performed at the Colston Hall in Bristol.

Last year, the primary and secondary orchestras came together to support cross phase transition work and performed Holst’s Mars.  

Currently we are continuing to develop our school orchestra building on the experience we have gained under the guidance of these projects. 

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Bournemouth University

In 2012 Three Ways hosted a placement student, Asha Blatherwick, from the ‘Music and Audio Technology’ course at Bournemouth for a year.

Asha has since returned as part of dotLib where she is now an intern studying for her EngD. Asha’s Batchelor project focussed on a wireless accessible controller that made use of various sensors and buttons to control visuals and sound.

Asha is now working on the ‘Orchestra Project’ with an action research focus. 

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Egg Theatre Bath - This is Me Project

The This is Me project was a collaborative project between Three Ways School Primary department and The Egg Theatre, built our year-long creative partnership with the Egg Theatre.  

A professional theatre practitioner and a film maker from The Egg worked with each of the primary classes to creatively explore themes of identity, play, journeys and self-expression.

The project culminated in a live performance, a film viewing and an interactive installation at Three Ways School.  The film from the project can be viewed here:

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Digital Storytelling Keir Williams

As part of SMARTLab and Three Ways creative partnership programs the researcher was asked to participate in a ‘Digital Story Telling’ project at Three Ways school and another local mainstream primary.

The research aim was to explore what impact digital interactive technology had on a ‘digital story telling’ project at the school.

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Queen Mary University London - Group Accessible Music Technologies PHD Dave Meckin

The project was a collaboration between three organisations: Queen Mary, University of London, SMARTLab and Three Ways school. The researcher was charged with creating a digitally controlled electro-mechanical musical instrument that would enable students with special educational needs to express themselves creatively through music.

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Cardiff Metropolitan University/Cariad

The school worked in collaboration with Barry Farimond, Dr Wendy Keay-Bright and Cariad at Cardiff Metropolitan University to develop accessible interactive programmes for pupils with sensory and physical impairments.  

The core principle behind this project was to pursue an action research approach with pupils at the center of the testing and design process.  Along the journey, pupils encountered a range of expressive and creative activities through the use of smart phones, tablets and communication aids.  The research culminated in the programme ‘Loopa Doopa’ which enabled multiple sounds loops to be recorded and triggered which have since found all manner of cross curricular applications.

Download Document

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Creative Arts Project Days

We have built an excellent working relationship with June Bianchi and her PGCE students and undergraduate BEd students through action-based research projects and themed arts days.  

Pupils have been lucky enough to participate in a cross disciplinary arts and maths project in collaboration with June’s students and the M Shed in Bristol to learn about maritime architecture, shape, form and structure.

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dotLib –

Luke Woodbury, director of dotLib, has a long running relationship with Three Ways School, having initially been engaged to develop the Sensory Studio in 2010.

The studio has been a great focus for research into all sorts of creative and therapeutic uses of cutting edge immersive and multi-sensory technology. dotLib now engage with the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) curriculum by providing coding and creative electronics workshops and resources. With dotLib we aim to create and contribute to projects that make accessible and innovative use of technology available to all. The dotLib blog has a section given over to projects at Threeways and can be found here:

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Bath Spa University – Textural Art Installation

Over this collaboration, Three Ways School worked with Bath Spa’s Sue Bradley and Arts students at Bath Spa to create an art installation in the sensory studio under Lucy Knibb’s direction.

dotLib helped with the formation and installation of the piece and added some electronics and lighting. We also used the surround speaker and projection system in the studio to rotate some audio recordings and visuals of the creation of the piece.

There was a great focus on ownership of the work by the students and they were deservedly proud of the outcome. More pictures here:

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Spark Arts Leicester/De Montfort University/dotLib - Pop Up Play

This project was funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts (a partnership between Nesta, Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council).

This research project looked at how immersive digital technology can create learning opportunities for young people to enhance their creativity, language and communication skills.

Threeways hosted and led many of the investigative workshops, with Ben Edwards and Lucy Heaton taking a great part in the research supported by the project team. On its completion the resulting open source software was made freely available to use by all. More info here:

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Bath Spa – Sensory Textiles Project

This project saw a collaboration between Three Ways and Bath Spa textile students under the direction of our Creative Arts Lead Lucy Knibb and Bath Spa’s Sue Bradley which culminated in an installation in the Sensory Studio with support from dotLib. The students explored materials and textures with our pupils and created sensory textile projects that were presented with audio-visual support in the Sensory Studio as an exhibition. 

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