PUPILS from a Kendal specialist school were commended for their entrepreneurial flair at an awards ceremony at the Treasury.

Sandgate School, which teaches students with severe and profound learning needs, was successful in the Giving Nation Social Action Awards.

It scooped the Giving Nation Spirit 2011/12 prize in recognition of a social enterprise - created by the students - selling afternoon tea boxes to raise money for benches to accommodate wheelchair users in their community garden.

As part of their award, the students were treated to an open-top bus ride around London and an activity day ahead of the awards ceremony.

Rachel Slattery, from Sandgate School, said the children would remember the day forever.

“The challenge has been fantastic,” she said. “It has enabled us to use enterprise across the curriculum and the students have developed many new skills.

“I am extremely proud of the students for being acknowledged nationally. They have been thoughtful, hard-working and mature in how their outstanding efforts have represented the school.

“The experience of presenting and receiving their award at the Treasury will be something that will stay with them for life.”

Sandgate was one of just nine schools across the country to be invited to attend the awards, which are run by the Citizenship Foundation and funded by The Cabinet Office, Santander and the Social Action Fund.

The students were presented with their award and a cheque for £500 towards a charity of their choice by Sharon Squire form Santander and Lord Wallace of Saltaire, representing the Cabinet Office.

Sandgate is the third Cumbrian school within two years to be commended for its work on enterprise at the Treasury – and the first special school nationally to receive a Giving Nation Spirit Award.

Coun Duncan Fairbairn, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “To win a national award is a great achievement and I congratulate the pupils involved.

“The enterprise they came up with was an excellent initiative and I’m delighted that has been recognised.”