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Watton Junior School unveils new Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Base

A 16-place Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) base, located within the grounds of Watton Junior School, part of Clarion Corvus Trust, has officially opened following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 18 April 2024.  
Pupils from the school council said a prayer, with some signing it in BSL before Nicki Rider, Assistant Director SEN and Alternative Provision Strategy and Sufficiency at Norfolk County Council cut the ribbon declaring the space officially open. 
The Appollo building, funded as part of Norfolk County Council's ¬£120 million Local First Inclusion programme, will provide early support to children and their families to manage emotions and build the confidence and strategies to flourish at school and at home. 
The base, including the Aldrin and Armstrong classes, will be managed by Executive Headteacher, Helen Kemp, the governing body at Watton Westfield Infant and Nursery School and Watton Junior School, Clarion Corvus Trust. A newly recruited team leader is placed to oversee the day-to-day running of the facility as well as extra support staff. Norfolk County Council has also funded access to a range of professionals including family learning workers and educational psychologists. 
The bespoke learning environment contains two classrooms, breakout spaces off the classrooms, sensory spaces, spaces for staff and family meetings and a large practical space for lunches as well as for extra learning opportunities such as cooking. It also sits within its own secure play area. 
Nicki Rider said: "We are delighted to see the Apollo building launch for the benefit our children and families. Careful planning and thought have gone into the design of the learning environment, with children's needs at the heart of our design of the building and the support on offer through this provision." 
Executive Headteacher, Helen Kemp said: "I am delighted to celebrate the opening of our new SEMH base at Watton Junior School. The opening of this new provision will provide 16 places for local KS1 and KS2 children with SEMH needs. I want every pupil within our schools and locality to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. Our new base will significantly impact our pupils' ability to learn, socialise and succeed academically." 
Following the completion of works in February, R G Carter, the construction company responsible for the works, presented staff and pupils from Year 3 and 4 with an engraved time capsule for burial in its newly planted grounds. In the time capsule, the pupils placed drawings of things they have been learning about such as Winston Churchill and Boudica, along with letters about themselves, their hobbies and families. 
Simon Gould, Project Manager at R G Carter said; "We have thoroughly enjoyed our time working at Watton Junior School engaging with the staff and pupils as the new Special Resource Building has progressed. It is great to see this much-needed bespoke space now complete, ready for pupils to start enjoying and gaining the very best education possible. We hope that the benefits of this special learning facility will be a huge help to many families in the local community, for many years to come." 
The project was designed by NPS Group and delivered for Norfolk County Council. 

86 new specialist education places proposed for Norfolk schools - Norfolk County Council 

Specialist Resource Bases (SRBs)

Images credit: R G Carter

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