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School literacy levels at Notton House get a boost with new library

By John BakerReporter


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

Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan, the MP for Chippenham, opened the new library in a Facetime call - a first for her - after she was recalled back to Parliament.

Funded by the Foyle Foundation, the £5,000 investment gives the school near Lacock its first dedicated space for books in the heart of the Grade 2-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 pupils make progress with a combination of one-to-one speech and language therapy; additional teaching support for literacy; personalised learning with a tailored curriculum; a 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. Over a 12-month period, the average increase in literacy for every student was two years.

Miss Donelan said: “I was very privileged to be asked to open the new library at Notton House Academy which has been facilitated by a generous donation from The Foyle Foundation.

"Due to being called back to Westminster, I was so disappointed that I couldn’t do it in person but I am never deterred from being there for my constituents so I Face Timed in to address the boys and the staff and have a good look at the new library.

“The library is a wonderful space - reading is not just about learning but also escapism and feeding the imagination. I hope the boys enjoy many adventures via their new books and library.”

Notton House Academy is one of the few residential boys-only schools funded by local authorities and mostly takes students from Bristol. It has 52 boys aged between eight and 19, with 40 children able to stay overnight during the week in term time.