WHEN a young person’s education has been disrupted the challenges they face to achieve qualifications and to move on to positive destinations can feel sometimes insurmountable. However, with a careful, consistent and bespoke curricular approach, across Keys we have seen our Year 11 leavers consistently defy expectations. We spoke to Emma Beech, Chief Operating Officer (Children’s Division) at Keys Group to find out more.
“In our schools, our children and young people often have faced significant challenges – challenges such as social, emotional and mental health difficulties, autism, a learning disability, ADHD, attachment disorder or trauma. Their educational journeys are often have repeated failed placements, and often extremely negative experiences. These aren’t solid building blocks for success in learning – especially exams.
“Often when we think about education and school, the focus for many young people is on exam results and qualifications and they are undoubtedly important. They give young people a fantastic platform on which to build their future success and it’s always our aim to make sure our students move on with the tools they need to give them the best chance of success. But they needn’t all be GCSEs and A-levels. Qualifications can come in many shapes and forms!
“It fair to say that at Keys we have incredibly high aspirations for our students. So often, because of the challenges they have experienced in their educational and sometimes personal lives, they have not had positive experiences of learning and have often been told they’ll never achieve very much. We don’t believe that, we know they can achieve – with the right environment, the right curriculum and the right team around them. And when they are with us, we spend a great deal of time building their confidence and helping them believe that they can achieve – and that they will.
“This year we saw that belief brought to fruition in so many different ways with our students able to give themselves a well-deserved ‘pat on the back’. As well as gaining GCSEs in a range of subjects including English, Maths, Science, Biology, Physics, History and Art and Design, they also gained a wide range of Functional Skills qualifications in the core subjects including ICT too.
“There were also BTECs gained in Home Cooking, Business, Hair and Beauty, Construction, Music, Health and Safety, Sport, Health and Social Care and many, many more.
“Additional meaningful qualifications were gained in the form of AQAs, John Muir Awards, Duke of Edinburgh, Art Trinity, occupational studies and employability skills as well as Land Studies and Personal Growth and Well-Being.
“As many of our students had previously been out of education for some time before coming to us, and often their challenges around social, emotional and mental health difficulties can make it hugely difficult to sit an exam, to have achieved in this way is something they can be very proud of.
“What it has also meant it is that the majority of the young people have been able to move on to their preferred positive destination, whether that be further education, training or employment.
“Each of these destinations for these young people is a shining example of what they can achieve with the right support in place. These young people can gain the skills, and qualifications, they need to thrive and take those next positive steps into training and work. Although the young people have faced significant challenges, the support and tailored education offered by Keys across our schools has contributed to, and enabled, the positive social mobility of our pupils as they enter adulthood.
“These are young people who have, even when faced with incredible challenges, shown that they are resilient, more than willing and able to learn and can exceed expectations. They are people employers want to employ, that teachers wants to teach. We wish them all the very best in their next step.”