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Magic carpet ride at Manor Green

Children with special needs and complex communication impairments explored magical environments and created stories using puppets, sound, music, varied materials, colour, light, and technology. The children were invited to explore this space with their families and teachers, sharing their stories, films and creations with all.

Who was involved

  • Children from Year 4 to Year 9, and teachers from Manor Green special school, West Sussex
  • Creative practitioners: Tom Cook and Jane Gordon (visual artists)


How does working with a creative practitioner deepen and develop the social communication and emotional literacy of our children?


  • To investigate how play and exploration could deepen the children’s creative experience, and develop their social interaction and emotional literacy
  • To provide effective development for all school staff involved with the project
  • To experiment with working with external practitioners


The impact of hearing all the children’s voices was very powerful. Staff and creative partners recognised how the playful nature of creating sound using the microphone and instruments gave confidence to the children in developing their own communication.

Once child was able to stand up and speak to the group by herself for the first time; another had been deeply unhappy and disengaged but experienced happy moments of 1 to 3 minutes through engaging in this work, a key development in his social and emotional wellbeing.

All the children became better at working as a team, focusing attention for longer periods and recognising routine and behaviour patterns in others. They became able to access the activity more independently.

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It is the first time I have heard [my son] speak for so long and so clearly


Several of these children simply do not speak in class

Deputy Head teacher

I have more trust in the children’s ability… I can’t believe what they achieved today

SSP worker

It’s been lovely and inspiring to work with others who have a different perspective to work in schools and to the curriculum

Lead teacher

That’s my story, my monster, I did them