Bear-er of good news! Ipswich SEND school gifted two 6ft tall bears

The pupils of The Bridge School sign 'thank you' for their incredible gift from Schallenberg Freight Forwarding Ltd.

The pupils of The Bridge School sign 'thank you' for their incredible gift from Rebecca Waring (left) and Heidi Chamberlain (second right) of Schallenberg Freight Forwarding Ltd. - Credit: The Bridge School

A school in Ipswich has welcomed two furry, oversized pupils this week after a very generous and unexpected donation. 

The Bridge School, which gives specialist provision to pupils with a range of learning and communication difficulties, received the surprising gift of two six-feet tall stuffed bears on Thursday from a Felixstowe freight forwarding company. 

The two bears have got stuck into0 life at The Bridge School already.

The two bears have got stuck into0 life at The Bridge School already. - Credit: Hilary Sullivan

Headteacher Hazel Simmons said: “This email came through with the usual ‘you don’t normally receive emails from this sender’ tag.

 “I thought twice about opening it – especially as the subject was ‘bears!'"

Ms Simmons took a chance, and now her students have been delighted to welcome the two as yet unnamed additions to their school. 

The bears take a little time of the classroom together.

The bears take a little time of the classroom together. - Credit: Hilary Sullivan

“The bears were shipped to us, but the supplier didn’t want them anymore,” says Heidi Chamberlain of Schallenberg International Freight Forwarding.  

“Andy, our managing director, said ‘I really think we should give these away, they’ll make some children, or whoever else they go to, very happy.” 

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So, Heidi and her colleague Rebecca Waring set about finding a new home for the bears.

“The children who have encountered them so far are absolutely mesmerised and in love with them. I think the bears will be a really motivating reward,” says Ms Simmons.  

The bears having been trying their paws at the drums in the music room.

The bears having been trying their paws at the drums in the music room. - Credit: Hilary Sullivan

The bears have been kitted out in their own school uniforms, and have settled into school life remarkably well, testing out the sensory room, the reading corner and even trying their paws at the drums. 

“Our school values are kindness, respect, being inclusive, helping others and working hard,” says Ms Simmons. 

The two bears are still waiting for pupils to decide on their new names.

The two bears are still waiting for pupils to decide on their new names. - Credit: Hilary Sullivan

“The bears are really going to help the children because, of course, they will only want go into a classroom where people are being respectful and kind.” 

The children used the bears to practise their signing, as the staff at the Bridge School all use Makaton sign language as an extra level of communication for their pupils, many of whom are non-verbal. 

Heidi (left) and Rebecca (right) were delighted to give these two enormous bears to The Bridge School in Ipswich.

Heidi (left) and Rebecca (right) were delighted to give these two enormous bears to The Bridge School in Ipswich. - Credit: Schallenberg International Limited

Now, all that remains is to give both of the bears a name. 

Ms Simmons has invited parents to email in their children’s suggestions, and hopes that by half term, both bears will be named. 

The headteacher said: “I did wonder about running a competition so that two lucky children could take a bear home for the holidays.

 “but I don’t think parents would thank me for that. They are six feet tall.”