Double-decker bus just the ticket for learning

A special school in Leeds has created a sensory area to transform learning for students - in an old refurbished bus.

First Bus The bus donated by First West Yorkshire to Broomfield South School in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and which has then been fitted out by different partners. Staff member Naomi Lyons with pupil Henry in the space themed sensory room on board the bus. Photograph by Richard Walker -

The unique space, which includes a library and soft play area, has been created after a £10,000 fund-raising campaign from teachers, and with the aid of a donated bus from First Travel.

The initiative, say education leaders at Broomfield Inclusive Learning Centre, a through school for children with special educational needs, is transforming students’ learning experience.

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“It’s fantastic, such a unique environment, a fun one, that is accessible for our children,” said head of school Cath Hindmarch. “A big part of learning for our children is exploration.

“For many people, it may seem a play bus, but that’s learning for our children. Learning can be social, it can be about sharing and stories and learning to play with others.”

The scheme was driven by school staff member Charlotte Gray-Sharpe, who pitched the idea and helped raise £10,000 through fund-raising and donations.

Charitable donations and grants brought the total to more than £40,000, while First Leeds pledged the bus itself, staff donating their time to paint it.

The inside has been transformed with educational games, jigsaws, iPads and a soft play area, and there is even a bus station so pupils can purchase tickets.

Craig Brown, engineering manager at First Leeds, adds: “This is a great use for one of our buses that has come to the end of its life on the road and we hope that it brings hours of fun for the children.”

Josh Cantwell-Crook, school governor, added: “This new space will completely transform school life. It also acts as a crucial community space for groups and other schools in the area.

“It’s quite outside the box - it’s amazing what the school has managed to do and it’s completely transformed the approach to teaching.”