A HIGHLY-rated special school has launched a £500,000 appeal to enrich the lives of its pupils with vital equipment.

Montacute School in Poole teaches 75 pupils with severe, complex or profound and multiple learning difficulties.

It has recently secured funding for a £5million rebuild project to replace dilapidated, leaky buildings.

But the government funding does not cover the things that add to the children’s lives such as specialist play equipment, multi-sensory stimulation, musical equipment, a minibus for outings and outside play and sensory areas.

Even IT, essential hoists and furniture are not included in the grant from the Priority Schools Building Project.

The school was earmarked for a state-of-the-art £12million rebuild in the Building Schools for the Future project, which collapsed in 2010, taking the plans and hopes of the pupils and staff with it.

The school, in Canford Heath Road, has pupils between the ages of three and 19 and has been rated as Outstanding in every category by government inspection body Ofsted.

Head teacher Jill Owen told the Daily Echo: “If we can reach Outstanding with a leaky old building and dilapidated equipment, just imagine what we could do when the children have modern classrooms, ICT equipment, absorbing and calming sensory play and a beautiful, safe outside area.”

Appeal fundraiser Vicki Edwards said £95,000 has already been raised privately in three months and she urged more companies, individuals, organisations and grant-making trusts to help boost the appeal, known as Monty’s Appeal.

“This school really matters to the community and the support so far for Monty’s Appeal has been amazing,” she said.

“Our two initial gifts were £25,000 from The Valentine Trust and £40,000 from The Autism Trust.

“We had staff and children just crying in delight because they know what receiving this funding means to them.”

She said parents of pupils at the school are often unable to help with fundraising because of the demands of looking after their children and financial difficulties.

And she appealed for financial donations as well as offers of help at fundraising events.

Anyone who wishes to help should call the school on 01202 693239.