School gets the VIP treatment

The Mercian Community Trust offers a £1,000 donation to Skilts School in Redditch to help pupils with special educational needs.

The Mercian Community Trust offers a £1,000 donation to Skilts School

A Redditch school for pupils with special educational needs is a step closer to raising funds to improve its facilities, thanks to a £1,000 donation from the West Brom.

Skilts School wants to use its community grant to create a new VIP room which will help recognise good behaviour and performance.

Based in Gorcott Hill, Skilts is a school for primary age boys between five and 11 years old with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. It has 81 pupils, including some who are residential during the school week.

The school introduced its first VIP space in February and soon found the approach was having a positive impact. Now it hopes to replicate the idea with a second room and create opportunities for more pupils to participate.

Interim Headteacher Heath Mason said: “We managed to kit-out the first room with features, décor and activities that would appeal to young boys, including games consoles, comfy sofas, a massage chair and coloured lights.

“Pupils have to earn a place in the room, usually for a brief session during lunchtime or after school, by achieving goals and showing consistently good behaviour. They have responded brilliantly, hence the reason for wanting to offer access on a wider scale.”

The West Brom, which has nearby branches in Redditch town centre, as well as Bromsgrove, Shirley and Knowle, agreed to make a contribution through its charitable arm, the Mercian Community Trust.

Heath added: “We were thrilled when the building society generously offered to provide funding. Staff and some of the boys are now working together to plan how best to spend the money in order to improve indoor play.

“Academic achievement is obviously crucial for all schoolchildren, but in our case we also want to offer other experiences beyond traditional classroom teaching that will support their broader development. 

“It’s fantastic when local businesses such as the West Brom step forward to help us deliver this.”

The West Brom is a leading regional building society and a major provider of savings and mortgage products to its 434,000 members.

Retail Manager David Peckham said: “We look to assist a variety of charities and good causes through our grant-giving scheme. Skilts School stood out as a really worthwhile project, helping children with a range of complex conditions to manage their behaviour more effectively.”

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