Community School, YMCA Southend
The Southend YMCA Community School is the only Alternative Provision Free School Academy in the YMCA movement. Following a competitive process, and due to a unique educational ethos (developed in Southend YMCA) the school was opened with full financial support from the Government (DfE) in 2013.
Every year, the school works with 50 very vulnerable learners at key stage 4 (aged 14-16) helping them to succeed at a key life stage. A distinct curriculum builds the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people, provides nurture and leads to GCSE achievement (which exceeds local and national averages). Meaningful outcomes help young people to progress.
Ofsted recently said (03.19): “Pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare are a strong feature of this school’s success…Staff work tirelessly to support pupils to develop their self-esteem and engage in learning…Parents and carers appreciate the care and understanding given…A strong safeguarding culture permeates the school….A purposeful and relevant curriculum, which is rich with experiences, allows pupils to develop their knowledge, skills for life and independence well. Pupils make good progress from their starting points’.”
Each year, it works with some of the most vulnerable children in the country who are on the child protection register, being criminally exploited, who are in care, who may have stepped down from being an inpatient in a mental health unit etc. Due to Adverse Childhood Experiences the young people have social, emotional and behavioural issues. Not only does the school provide strong pastoral support and safeguarding, it also achieved GCSE results with young people which exceed local, and national averages for comparable provision. These are hard and really meaningful outcomes – helping young people to really ‘belong, contribute and thrive’ because they can progress into further education at the age of 16 and have the resilience to rebut potential exploitative relationships and situations.