News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Notton House Academy, Bristol’s residential school for boys with complex social, emotional and mental health needs, has improved its care rating to ‘good’ for the first time in 14 years.

Ofsted inspected the school, based near Lacock in Wiltshire, in February and found it was ‘good’ across all measures relating to the care of students. It will be inspected separately for a review of its educational provision.

Highlights from the report include:

– All the young people at the school are really well known by teachers, care staff and school leaders. Staff are well-trained and form trusting and loving relationships. Parents and social workers report that they are confident that students are safe at Notton House.

– Staff have high aspirations for all young people and have created a structured and supportive environment.

– Newly-refurbished bedrooms and communal areas illustrate how school leaders drive change and advocate for positive developments; and

Notton House Academy is one of the few residential boys-only schools funded by local authorities and mostly takes students from Bristol.

It currently has 52 boys on role aged between 8 and 19, with 40 children able to stay overnight during weeknights in term time. The school offers tailored timetables for very small groups with an emphasis on speech and language, a variety of additional support interventions and preparation for reintegration back to further education, apprenticeships or work. Some students benefit from moving back to mainstream school but most will stay at Notton to finish their education.

This was the second inspection since the school became an academy and joined Bristol-based multi-academy trust Learn@. Learn@ Multi Academy Trust runs two specialist schools and two alternative provisions (across six sites) in the West of England.

Michele Reysenn was appointed head of school in November 2018. She commented, “I am delighted that inspectors could see how staff have worked so hard to make improvements to the school, to the care areas, in refining essential paperwork, and to ensure pupils feel welcomed, safe and that their voices are heard.”

Alex* joined Notton recently. His carers commented, “While it has been difficult for Alex to manage this transition to Notton we feel that his education is going well and has been one of the most positive outcomes from the school.

“He always has positive things to say about you and is beginning to enjoy some of his lessons. It was evident in our parents’ consultation that you had a good knowledge of his behaviours and have shown willing to learn more about him and are keen to keep progress going forward.”