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(UK) Bassett: "Desperate need" for help for special school; $50K donation given

May 2, 2023, BDaily News: Southampton special needs school opens brand-new sensory space built by volunteers

S. England

A special needs school in Bassett, which was in desperate need of redevelopment, has fully opened new learning facilities thanks to a £40,000 [$50K] cash donation.

Vermont School, based just off Winchester Road, has received a brand-new outdoor play area and sensory room. As part of a special project in partnership with Barratt and David Wilson Homes, the new facilities – which are vital to support the pupils’ Education, Health and Care Plans – can now be enjoyed.

The leading housebuilder stepped in after the school was unable to provide important facilities for its pupils because of increasing numbers and an overstretched budget, and the results have been tremendous….

After returning to school from their Easter break, Head Teacher, Maria Smyth, said the children, who experience social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties, are already benefiting from their new learning spaces….

She said: “The school currently admits children aged from 5-11 who have a primary social, emotional, and mental health difficulty. Many pupils have Autism, ADHD, attachment difficulties and early developmental trauma.

“Over the last eight years the Vermont family has increased from 28 pupils to 50. The learning spaces and quiet areas were becoming increasingly limited, and, because of an overstretched budget over the last few years, we were unable to do any refurbishment. We were delighted when Barratt and David Wilson Homes offered to help us. The incredible spaces the team have created are already supporting our children’s development....

Barratt and David Wilson Homes Finance Director, Glen O’Nion, was one of those that helped with the renovations. After visiting Vermont School earlier in the year, he felt spurred on to do something to help. “It was obvious the school needed financial backing to complete these projects, but it wasn’t enough to simply hand over the money and I couldn’t walk away,” he said.

“It’s been hard work, but to see the finished results, and the joy on the kids’ faces, has made it all worth it. We are so pleased to hear how much of a difference this will make.”

Vermont is a small special school in Southampton for children aged 5-11. Every child has an Education, Health and Care Plan.

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