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Students at Notton House Academy in Chippenham, Bristol’s only residential school for boys with complex social, emotional and mental health needs, have welcomed the opening of a new library.

Funded by the Foyle Foundation, the £5,000 investment gives the school its first dedicated space for books in the heart of the grade two-listed building.

Most boys joining Notton House Academy, part of the Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust, are behind their peers for reading and writing, which can be due to undiagnosed communication needs. At Notton, students make progress with a combination of one-to-one speech and language therapy; additional teaching support for literacy; personalised learning with a tailored curriculum; weekly communication focussed lesson ‘Drop Everything and Read; and a selection of reading materials in residential areas.

The combined approach achieves a marked improvement in results for students who are able to leave school with improved literacy required for college or work. An average increase in literacy over the last twelve months for every pupil was approximately two years.

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 House Academy to finish their education.

Headteacher at Notton House Academy, Michelle Reysenn, commented, “It is wonderful to have been given this donation from The Foyle Foundation as it really supports one of our main aims of Notton House Academy, which is developing literacy and communication skills. We want all of our pupils to leave with the confidence to become successful adults. Improved literacy also supports the mental health and well-being of our young people, and that is a priority for pupils at Notton House.”

www.notton.learnmat.uk