A whole year of children at a Swansea school has been honoured with a special High 5 award by Swans star Leon Britton.
Year five at Penyrheol Primary School were nominated by the mum of pupil Ellis Bonham Clatworthy, whose life is impacted by disability.
She wanted to recognise every pupil in that year for their love, understanding and willingness to adapt and include, which is helping her son be happy and successful at school.
There were too many children in the year to take part in last year’s official High 5 awards ceremony, but judges were so moved by their story that arrangements were then made for the whole year of 33 pupils to be honoured with a special award.
Mum Heidi, from Penllergaer, said: “It is not a specialist school but it is certainly a special class. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my son would be accepted, let alone feel loved on such a high level. My son has had the most amazing adventures in school, and the underlying reason has been the love and understanding of his classmates.
“They do not see his wheelchair. They adapt every task so he is fully included from football to playing at being a Jedi master up against a dark lord.
“If only the rest of the world could follow and adapt with such ease. They are the definition of inclusion at its best.
“Children’s achievements are often marked by grades or attendance. It’s completely deserved that this class’s incredible values of life and happiness have been honoured with a High 5 award.”
Leon Britton, High 5 awards ambassador and Swans midfielder, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to specially honour these children. It’s young people like this that High 5 stands for – they really are an inspiration to others.”
Phil Roberts, Swansea Council Chief Executive, said: “Year five has inspired us at High 5 to add a new category for the 2017 awards, which will be launched in April especially for schools. We know we have some wonderful school groups and classes out there, so we look forward to celebrating them and enabling them to be an inspiration to others, along with all the other winners.”
Alison Williams, Penyrheol Primary School head teacher, said: “This High 5 award is a huge honour for all of year five and our entire school community.
“In this current climate of increasing accountability and performance indicators, it is important that we continue to stand up for what we value and believe to be best for our children.
“The self-esteem, confidence and success of all of our children must be championed and safeguarded at all costs.”