MAKING ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION, EQUAL.
As an institution, we must realise that not all pupils will have the same interests and the same opportunities to demonstrate attainment and achievement. As teachers, it is important for us to realise that education is so much more than a core curriculum and the qualifications we walk away with; and as a society we must realise that an alternative education is an equal one and should be held in the same regard and lead to the same standard of opportunity as mainstream learning.
We work to improve standards in PRUs and Alternative Provisions including hospital and prison settings. Our consultants tackle core issues including behaviour, attendance and attainment but also work to improve longer term outcomes linked to social mobility, citizenship, employment opportunities, violence and crime.
Within our team we have experts who are happy to fill senior roles on an interim basis, work as consultants to raise standards throughout your provision, lead change and drive improvement; and coaches who are able to support teachers on a one to one basis to help them tackle challenging issues, manage complex needs or better support particular pupils.
In our adult lives, many of us feel incredibly fortunate if we have one or two true friends. However, at school, there is an emphasis on popularity and often a desire to be liked by everyone. When children arrive at an Alternative Provision it is likely that they will believe they are unpopular, unworthy of friendship or unable to make friends. It is important that we recognise the importance of establishing friendships have on our behaviour, our identity and our self belief and, within AP in particular, it is important that children are giving the space, the opportunity and the time to find and form friendships that help them feel like they belong.
Within mainstream schools, we make the assumption that children will find interests within the curriculum we teach and create connections as a result of how we teach it. Having independent interests can help children and young people develop a purpose, a sense of ambition and achievement. Interests can help children develop relationships, skills and a sense of both pride and achievement. Within AP environments, it's important that we provide children with an opportunity to explore a variety of interests, in a variety of ways so that they can feel curious, connected and comfortable.
Within society, we typically use fun and play to reward children and young people for good behaviour but within AP we must recognise the impact fun and play has on creating and developing good behaviour amongst even some of the most challenging and complex pupils. Within AP settings we must encourage play to learn and fuel play not only to improve attainment but also to aid the development of character and social skills. It is also important to bear in mind that many of the children that arrive at alternative provisions have been deprived of fun and play time throughout their childhood so should be given the opportunity to explore and embrace it as priority.
FUN & PLAY TIME
Within mainstream education, we have a clear focus on the knowledge and skills we should recognise and celebrate and this can have negative impacts in both the short and long term. Within an AP setting, it is important that children and young people are given an opportunity to develop and celebrate skills that exist outside of the curriculum and where appropriate link them to careers or interests they may wish to explore in later life.
CELEBRATE ALL SKILLS
MULTI CHANNEL APPROACHES
When a child reaches an alternative provision, it is likely that they will have incredibly low self esteem, confidence and belief in their ability to create a change in their future. It is important to remember that experiencing achievement builds confidence which in turn creates ambition, motivation and fulfilment. We must recognise that not all children will be able to experience achievement via the core curriculum we provide and so, particularly in AP settings it is vital for us to ensure children get the chance to experience achievement and recognise and celebrate it accordingly.
Although there is a lot of controversy and negativity surrounding the use of smart technology and social media, it's important to recognise the potential benefits these platforms can bring to children. For some of the most challenging children and young people, smart technology may act as an effective communication channel or something like gaming can help build relationships with pupils that otherwise struggle to do so. Considering what you present to pupils and how you do so is often a critical component of planning and developing a relationship with a pupil but technology invariable can and should play a part of this.
UNDERSTANDING EMBRACIVE EDUCATION
To understand Embracive Education, it is useful to take a moment to consider what you most value from your own education. We realised that it isn't the specifics of algebra or the fall of the Roman empire that have shaped us into the people we are today but instead the friendships, the shared experiences, the sense of achievement, pride, purpose and self discovery that have helped us the most.
When children and young people present us as educators with complex or challenging behaviour, our tendency is to remove the activities and privellages that allow pupils to develop the skills that best support us in adult life.
We have conceptualised Embracive Education to ensure those children that mostneed to feel they belong, that they are worthy and that they have the ability to thrive in their future.