Royal honour for Barnoldswick school

Debra Harrison and Kirsty Swierkowski from The Alternative School in Barnoldswick with gold medal winning wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft MBE at the Buckingham Palace garden party. (S)
Debra Harrison and Kirsty Swierkowski from The Alternative School in Barnoldswick with gold medal winning wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft MBE at the Buckingham Palace garden party. (S)

A Barnoldswick school enjoyed a double celebration when staff attended a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Executive Headteacher Debra Harrison and Duke of Edinburgh Manager Kirsty Swierkowski from the Alternative School in Fernlea Avenue attended the event to honour both the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh programme and to recognise the success of the school in becoming its own licensed D of E organisation.

Debra and Kirsty took part in an exchange of gifts and were presented with a plaque acknowledging the work the school does in the sphere.

They met Prince Philip together with the Earl and Duchess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Lady Sophie, who visited each group in turn along with many other celebrities and guest presenters.

The Countess was especially interested in the ethos of the school and was intrigued by the name and the school’s award was presented to Debra and Kirsty by London Paralympic gold medal winning wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft MBE.

Debra said: “The plaque recognises the outstanding work we do for our pupils’ confidence, self-esteem and self-development.

“The presenter for our group was Hannah Cockcroft. She is only 23 years old but what an inspirational young lady.

“It was a fantastic celebration which provided a unique experience for the young people attending to receive their gold awards and for establishment leaders alike.

“In becoming one of the recognised licensed D of E organisations, the school remains committed to supporting and recognising the achievements of our pupils.

“The scheme is an integral part of the curriculum at The Alternative School and all pupils are encouraged to take part in the award.

“Kirsty believes the award promotes and challenges our pupils’ personal growth in a way that no other scheme does as it requires young people to develop essential life skills such as team work and commitment.

“Thanks must also go to all The Alternative School staff and volunteers for giving their time to help with D of E and, in particular, to Kirsty for all her hard work and commitment to the D of E programme at our school.”