Pupils build buddy seat

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The buddy seat – a simple tool to help new children at schools or those feeling a little lonely – has become a cornerstone of pupil wellbeing at Lawrence Area School.

School head of technology Stephen Newnham said the chair was designed and built by the children for the children.

“When someone is feeling lonely or they are a new kid at the school then they can sit in it and others will see them there, go over and try to include them into whatever they are doing,” he said.

Mr Newnham said his year 7 class adopted the project, came up with two designs, created mock-ups and presented them to the school and the Board of Trustees for approval and funding.

“The school board happily took on their ideas and allowed the children to construct the chair.”

“They designed the chair’s shape, learned what materials would or wouldn’t work and then were guided on how to construct this unique chair,” he said.

Oakley Davey (11) said cable drums were donated by PowerNet of Balclutha and they all helped Mr Newnham cut them into the shapes they wanted.

Paige O’Neill (11) said it was very easy and she was glad to help others make new friends, while Clifton Houpapa (12) added that he had a lot of fun pulling all the nails out of the reels.

The uniquely designed chair sits in pride of place near the junior school at the Lawrence Area School in a place where everyone can see it.