News & Updates

Refocus and Resilience for Year 11 Pupils

Year 11 is a challenging, and often overwhelming time for young people. GCSE examinations are getting tougher, mental health in children and young people is on the increase and post-16 choices can be both competitive and daunting.

The Raedwald Trust Outreach Team works alongside schools to help keep children and young people in mainstream education where possible. Historically, the Trust has offered one-to-one outreach support for pupils, which whilst effective, can be costly for schools. As an alternative option, the Outreach Team at the Raedwald Trust has developed two new programmes for Year 11 pupils: The Resilience Programme and The Refocus Programme. These programmes are designed to give schools’ most vulnerable young people a chance to refocus and re-engage in a new and smaller learning environment and prepare them for examinations, post-16 pathways and the wider world whilst remaining very much a part of their mainstream school community.

The Resilience Programme aims to refocus pupils whilst building resilience and self-esteem and encouraging positive life choices. It is designed to support Year 11 pupils who are at risk of underachieving due to social and emotional difficulties.

The Refocus Programme aims to refocus and re-engage Year 11 pupils who are at risk of permanent exclusion and/or offending behaviour, whilst encouraging positive life choices.

Both programmes started in January 2020 and will run for 12 weeks throughout the Spring term. Pupils attend the programmes every morning, 5 days a week, and then return to their mainstream school in the afternoons. After being offered breakfast on arrival, the pupils take part in daily English and maths lessons to prepare them for their examinations, bespoke Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons tailored to address their specific needs, a careers programme and off site trips and activities.

The programmes feature a ‘Reading Week’ which, amongst other things, will see the young people visiting the local hospital children’s ward to read to some of the younger patients. Volunteers from ‘Volunteering Matters’ will also visit the young people on the programmes to encourage reading and to listen to them read one-to-one.

The two programmes have been carefully designed to work closely with the pupils’ local community, enhance their ‘cultural capital’ with enriching extra curricular activities, and give them a taste of the world of work through employment encounters. They also have a significant focus on mental health and well-being, offering weekly “Drawing & Talking” therapeutic sessions run by a qualified practitioner (who is also one of Raedwald Trust’s on-site Mental Health First Aiders). Well-being workshops are also scheduled for pupils and their parents to attend in March.

Each young person will be also assigned an external mentor who will meet with them regularly throughout the programme.

The programme will finish with a reward ceremony at the end of term which parents, carers and mainstream school staff will be invited to attend. The aim of this event will be to celebrate the achievements and success of the pupils and showcase the work completed by them across the term. The young people will be involved in the planning of the event and will work with catering and hospitality tutors at Suffolk New College to plan and produce cakes and refreshments to serve on the day.

Alice Crozier-Green, Head of Service at Raedwald Trust said: “The Refocus and Resilience projects are two new and exciting programmes designed to re-engage some of our most vulnerable and disaffected young people during, what is, a critical time in their mainstream school career.”

“If successful, my hope is to offer similar programmes to other year groups, both primary and secondary, to help children and young people progress academically, socially and emotionally, and make positive life choices in order to improve life chances both in school and the community.”

For more details about the Refocus and Resilience projects at the Raedwald Trust, as well as other intervention and outreach services, please click here.