Educating young people who are blind or vision impaired

The Boarding Experience

Boarding - doing some art

Why residential?

Because NCW accepts students from all over the UK and further afield, for most students board with us, either weekly or termly.

Being residential has great advantages:

At NCW we practice a ‘waking day’ curriculum which means that students benefit from learning in the evenings and at weekends. Many of our mobility lessons take place after school, independence skills learnt during the school day can be embedded in the houses and after school and weekend activities can support growing independence and self confidence.

Students form very strong bonds with their peers here, and some enjoy friendships that have not been possible for them before coming to NCW. The sense of community is very strong.

Students - playing pool

The Junior Houses

We have three Junior Houses for students in Year 7-11, each with several bedrooms. Each has dedicated residential staff, led by a Senior House Parent who lives on site in their link attached accommodation. The Houses, which are all named after former Principals of the college, have a study room, sitting room and communal kitchen area – all of which are homely and welcoming – often alive with parties, theme nights and birthday celebrations.

Bradnack House, Peggy Markes House and Dorothy McHugh House (affectionately known as Bradnack,Peggies and Dots), whilst similar in layout, also have their own personalities and students are proud to belong to one or another. The houses are mixed sex but with separate sleeping corridors for boys and girls. The are also mixed over school years which enables friendships to blossom outside of year groups and helps to strengthen the culture of support between older and younger students.

Sixth Form Accommodation

In the sixth form, students are encouraged to be more independent and prepare for transition to the next phase of their lives beyond NCW.

The sixth form hostel is set out into flats, much like University Halls of Residence. Students, with the support of their key worker, prepare their own meals, do their own laundry and ironing and practice other day to day independent living skills. They will also work on budgeting, grocery shopping and planning for leaving including accessing support and applying for University.

The sixth form residential staff work closely with parents and teaching staff to support the students on their journey to independence.

Meal times

During the week, breakfast is taken in the house – much like breakfast would be in any busy household. Everyone participates with getting breakfast ready and to the table before a busy day at school. Lunch and evening meals during the week is in the dining room, which is in a separate building on the campus, accessible from the houses and the main school building. Our on site catering company CH&Co prepare nutritionally balanced colourful food to tempt all palates. The staff have been working with us for many years and know all of the students well, including their favourite meals!

At weekends, all meals are taken in the houses.

For school trips or activities away from the campus, packed lunches are provided.

Facilities - catering staff

We are a proud to be a nut-free school and are able to cater for those with a food intolerance. We also support personal diet and lifestyle  choices. 

Keeping in touch with home

We encourage constant links with home and students can visit home or have parents stay for the weekend, whenever they wish. There is a limited amount of good value accommodation available to parents on site. We also have an extended ‘home weekend’ every half term so that they can enjoy a full weekend at home with their family.

“Students here are never the odd one out,
because others know exactly what they are going through. You see them relax into being themselves.”
Alan - Senior Houseparent
Alan Drabwell
Senior Houseparent, Peggy Markes House
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