Thursday, 28 March 2013

NEC Resources Help Troubled Learners Back into Education

A charity working to improve the lives and prospects of young people in some of England’s cities has become the latest organisation to make use of NEC’s learning resources.

Shaftesbury Young People works with youngsters who have dropped out of the education system and struggled to engage with learning. As well as helping children in care make the transition to independence and running various specialised projects, the charity operates a number of extended learning centres: establishments where young people are taught key subjects and encouraged to get back into learning.

Ian Duckett, Senior Education Advisor at Shaftesbury Young People and Head of their Wandsworth Extended Learning Centre, came to NEC when he was looking for relevant and accessible learning materials to help him provide a core education in English and maths to his group of 15 14- to 16-year-olds from Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth.

‘We’re using NEC’s IGCSE maths, English literature and English language courses, all of which will be taught by specialist staff here at Wandsworth – we’re using the resources with support from our tutors, including me,’ Ian explained.

This is the first year that Shaftesbury has used NEC’s resources, and so far the project is going well. One of the major strengths of the materials is their flexibility, and due to the teenagers taking part in the project often having emotional and behavioural problems, such flexibility is a necessity.

‘The young people we’re teaching are often at the very end of the exclusion route – they’re often youngsters that pupil referral units either won’t take or have kicked out and some are referred direct from youth offending teams in the three boroughs. None of these kids have had a smooth ride, and may well require one-to-one tuition,’ Ian said.

‘They also tend to have very short attention spans, so often we’ll work for just 10 or 15 minutes at a time, just dipping in and out.’

As well as English and maths, Shaftesbury also teaches ICT, music technology, sport, art and design, hospitality and catering, and performing arts – a selection of subjects designed to reignite the youngsters’ interest in learning. They also teach them a range of skills covered by an Engagement, Employability and Enterprise programme.

‘After they leave Wandsworth ELC they will hopefully go on to a further education college to study a vocational qualification; some might go back into school. Wherever they go, the work they’ll have done with us, and with NEC’s resources, is sure to improve their prospects,’ said Ian. Shaftesbury has brokered progression agreements with two FE colleges.

Shaftesbury Young People’s provision is a great example of how NEC can help where conventional learning methods have failed: providing an education and improving prospects for youngsters who otherwise might not be given the opportunity to learn.

Ian has a longstanding personal relationship with NEC: when he was at Barnet College in the nineties he used a great deal of NEC resources. He also spent some time as a tutor for the NEC and Open University when he was a young English teacher.

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