Two pupils at a specialist school run by a partnership of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and The Engage Trust will have short stories published after beating thousands of others from across the country in a creative writing competition.
A tale written by 10-year-old Blake Pain about a crazy cat, and a story about a monster buying football boots by 11-year-old Callum Goldsmith, will appear in Crazy Creatures – East of England when the book hits the shelves in October. The duo both attend Compass Pott Row School, in King’s Lynn.
They were given support to write their stories by primary class teacher Amy Condra, with their tales selected for publication from more than 40,000 entries.
Compass Schools is a partnership between NSFT and The Engage Trust, and offers therapeutic education to children who have been permanently excluded from mainstream education and are known to mental health services.
Pott Row caters for 12 children with more complex needs who are aged between eight and 14, and offers both individual and group therapy on site. It gives children easy access to help for emotional distress, as well as one-to-one teaching support where necessary, with the eventual aim of reintegrating them into mainstream education or into other specialist education provision that may better meet their needs.
There are a further two Compass schools at Belton, in Great Yarmouth, and Lingwood, in Norwich. The schools are funded by Norfolk County Council and local clinical commissioning groups.
“Blake wouldn’t even write his name 18 months ago,” said mum Claire White, who lives in Upwell. “To go from that to writing a short story and getting it published is incredible.
“He asked his teacher to ring me to tell me the news and he was absolutely buzzing. He has been walking around ever since saying ‘I’m going to be in a book!’
“We’ve ordered copies of the book for our family and have told him he will have to sign them for everyone, which has added to his excitement. We are all really looking forward to seeing it in print.
“It has not been a brilliant year for Blake as he has had several issues to deal with, so the fact that something so positive has happened is just absolutely brilliant.”
Callum’s mum Emily, who lives in Swaffham, said: “Callum struggles with writing but this was all his own work. He was so pleased when he found out the story would be published that he went back to school the next day and wrote a follow up.
“He doesn’t show his emotions very often but had a big smile on his face when I told him I had ordered a copy of the book. I am so proud of him.”
Dr Charlotte Montgomery, NSFT Clinical Psychologist, based at Pott Row said: “The primary class found the activity challenging, but thanks to the support of Amy and her teaching assistants, they all managed to write short stories.
“We were really pleased to hear that Blake and Callum’s stories had been selected for publication. Needless to say, they are both delighted and it has been really lovely to see their pride in this work and their excitement about their stories being published.”
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