A talented year 11 student on the roll of Fosse Way, the outstanding special school in Radstock, is the fortunate beneficiary of a generous donation from local utility company, Wessex Water.
The young man concerned is one of a small number of academically-able autistic students from Fosse Way who, with specialist support from members of Fosse Way’s teaching staff, are able to receive mainstream secondary education at the nearby Norton Hill School. This ground-breaking initiative by the two schools enables Fosse Way students to study an extensive range of subjects at Norton Hill while also receiving support and guidance from staff at Fosse Way’s base on the campus which is known as A5. Since A5 was established in September 2006, it has proven a highly successful venture that has frequently enabled Fosse Way students to gain impressive numbers of GCSE and A level qualifications. Some Fosse Way students have been so successful at Norton Hill that they have far outstripped their initial ambitions and taken up degree course at universities including Oxford.
One of the current A5 students has regularly made use of a laptop during his lessons in order to present his work to a high standard and compensate for handwriting difficulties. However, the machine could never store more than a fraction of the conscientious student’s daily output and was always reliant on the use of a memory stick to store his work. When a change to Norton Hill’s security policy meant the memory stick could no longer be used it became clear that a replacement machine was urgently needed. Mindful of the student’s needs, Norton Hill’s Director of Information Technology kindly loaned one of the school’s own machines while a long term solution was sought. A little research soon established that a Chrome Book, rather than a conventional lap top, would best suit the student while being fully compatible with Norton Hill’s information technology systems.
It was then that A5 teaching assistant Cassie Green mentioned to A5 Co-ordinator, Tim Carter that she had heard of a charitable scheme whereby Wessex Water, based at Claverton Down in Bath, makes donations available to deserving causes. Hopeful of a little help towards the cost of the Chrome Book, Mr. Carter penned a letter to Wessex Water outlining the student’s pressing need for a device that would present his much toiled over work in the best light.
Within a few weeks a letter was received from Wessex Water’s Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Marilyn Smith. Therein Ms Smith explained that the company’s community involvement committee had recently met to consider Mr. Carter’s request. However, rather than make a donation that would go some way towards the cost of the Chrome Book the committee had concluded that they would like to fund the new machine outright! Ms Smith confirmed: “ I am pleased to tell you that they you that they have agreed to contribute £300.”
It goes without saying that the year 11 student as well as the staff of Fosse Way’s A5 base are delighted with this donation and are extremely grateful to Wessex Water for their generosity. An order for a new Hewlett Packard Chrome Book was swiftly placed and is now proudly used in lessons at Norton Hill throughout the day. Mr Carter commented: “For success at GCSE it is essential that our student is able to present his work clearly. He now has all he needs to demonstrate the high standards he is capable of achieving. We would like to thank Wessex Water for their tremendous donation. It is sure to make a huge impact on our student’s work during this critical year in his education.”