Staff's generous donation to school

Staff at Hightown Housing Association raised £9,500 last year to help The Collett School create an inspiring and calming atmosphere for its pupils.

Monday, 9th January 2017, 9:26 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:21 pm
Hightown staff with their cheque for The Collett School

The Collett School, in Hemel, is Hertfordshire’s only school for pupils with learning difficulties aged four to 16.

Hightown staff raised the money from a series of activities throughout 2016. Over £250 was raised by staff donating the money they would otherwise have spent on sending Christmas cards to each other.

Part of the money is being used to buy ‘teddy bear’ soft blankets, which help children to cope with sensory overload.

Gillian Lawton, of The Collett School, said: “One of our teachers introduced a quiet time, for five minutes first thing on the morning and after each break.

“Also, after breaks for play or lunch, the children can be over-stimulated and find it hard to settle back into a classroom situation.

“The children wrapped themselves in old curtains or whatever we could find, we darkened the room and played soothing music. This has had a profound effect on the children’s, behaviour, calmness and receptiveness to learning.

“We noticed that wrapping them in something sensory, especially very soft teddy blankets had the best effect.

“These blankets give comfortable, hug-like pressure, helping our children cope with stress and sensory overload, avoid meltdowns and self-harming, and improve concentration and learning. We’re very grateful to Hightown’s staff for their support”.

The blankets and other sensory items, including giant bubble wands, have been presented to the school, along with a cheque for £9,500 from staff fundraising since April.

Staff activities which received double-matched funding from Hightown included dress down and dress up days, buffet lunches, a quiz and hamper raffle night, World Cup and Grand National sweepstakes and a Halloween bake sale. More than £6,000 was raised from Hightown’s charity golf day at Ashridge Golf Club.

The money will help the schoolbuild new classrooms to create an imaginative atmosphere to inspire children with special needs.

Hightown chief executive David Bogle said: “The inspirational work at The Collett School complements our work to provide housing and support for people with learning disabilities.

“We’re delighted to have given our backing to a project which will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children in our community.”