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Driving forward literacy at Haute Vallée School

06 December 2018

​La Moye prisoners with a background in carpentry will be working on transforming a disused school bus into an additional library for Haute Vallée School.

It is hoped that the unique library – which has been designed by the students – will engage more young people in literacy, as well as giving prisoners an opportunity to contribute to the community as part of La Moye’s restorative justice programme.

Students took part in a competition to design their library bus, which will complement the redistributed departmental libraries at the school. Geomarine are acting as project managers with the help of Normans and Property Holdings, to help turn the students’ visions into reality.

Aimee Jinks, literacy coordinator at Haute Vallée School, said: “We are proud to be pioneering a project in Jersey that allows our students to be involved in the developmental stages of what will prove to be an invaluable and prominent part of their education. Students have been invited to create a space that is theirs; that is educational; that is social; that is empowering. Literacy is crucial to all students’ progression and success. The library bus is the first exciting step of many that will give our students the chance to shape their own curriculum, opportunities and future.”

Haute Vallée School head teacher Stuart Hughes said: “With our heavy investment in literacy and reading, our plans to redevelop the school library into a study zone and having a quirky library bus, I am positive we will get students talking and thinking more about literacy. We are also pleased that students can see how schools can work alongside businesses and groups such as prisoners to create something beneficial for the school community.”

The disused school bus, which has been ferrying pupils around the island for 11 years, has been donated by LibertyBus. Nikki Withe, HR, training and community manager for LibertyBus, said that the vehicle had been operating in Jersey as a standard bus since 1994 but became a school bus in 2007.

“During its lifetime J46598 has completed around 900,000 passenger journeys with around 100,000 of those transporting students to and from school,” she said. “As a social enterprise, our mission is to make a positive difference to our community and we know that the library bus will be of great benefit to the students at Haute Vallée. We hope that this is just the start of a long-running scheme that could see buses we can no longer use on the network be re-purposed so that they can continue to serve the community.”

La Moye’s head of skills and learning, Dr David Holmes, said: “Inspiring community projects, such as this, that partner with a broad range of organisations across the States of Jersey, as well as with local businesses, forms part of our restorative justice programme, which assists prisoners in their rehabilitation by developing and improving work-related skills they have acquired through the Learning and Skills Department at SoJPS La Moye. What better way to do this than converting the inside of a bus into a fully fitted library.”

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