Good Practice Case Studies

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1 Good Practice Case Studies SSOSHL Study Support and Out of School Hours Learning Overview Case Study Title: Summary: Project Target group/ Key stage: Reason for offering activities: Description of activities: Key Stage 4 After School Club An after school club for young people with behavioural difficulties, on the verge of exclusion or who were considered to be culturally deprived. Key Stage 4 To help the young people engage in learning, to boost their confidence and self esteem, and improve their social skills. The young people were offered art, drama, golf and bush-craft activities on two afternoons a week, over a nine week period. Art based activities included graffiti and silk screen printing. Drama was mainly improvisation with elements of classical literature including Shakespeare and Moliere. In addition to these art based activities, the young people were introduced to live theatre with theatre trips to London s West End. A mixture of productions ensured that the young people were exposed to different genres and it was the first time many of the participants had experienced live theatre, had travelled to London or had used public transport. Golf was delivered by a golf professional at a local golfing centre. Bush-craft activities were undertaken by the Outdoor Pursuits lead at the Education Support Centre (ESC). Hertfordshire County Council

2 Management and Logistics: Hasty arrangements: Organisers felt that their arrangements for this project were rushed due to the need to commence the project before the funding opportunity expired. Although the pace of planning caused some difficulties, organisers felt that the decision to bid for funding and run the project was a good one and had resulted in a number of benefits for the young people who participated.the project was planned to involve pupils from a number of mainstream schools participating in the activities alongside the young people from the ESC. Limited planning time resulted in only one mainstream secondary school joining the project. The range of activities offered to the participants was based upon the skills of staff members and facilities immediately available the short timeline didn t allow thorough consultation with the young people. Despite these hurried arrangements, the project leads reflected that the activities offered were ideally suited to the needs of the young people involved. Risk assessment and planning: Trips to London to see live theatre required a lot of organisation and a high ratio of staff to young people. Detailed risk assessments had to be carried out on this cohort of young people who often display difficult behaviour and pose a risk of absconding on trips. Some of the young people also had the potential to react badly to stressful situations such as those involving crowds of people on the underground.none of the young people had travelled to London before, despite living in an area where the capital is easily accessible and home to a large number of daily commuters.the bush-craft residential also required a lot of planning and organisation because it was difficult to find a site that allowed the building of open fires (an essential part of bush-craft). This problem was solved by hiring the services of an outdoor specialist who had access to suitable land for the young people to camp on and had special permission to build open fires. Transport: During the first week of the project activities were delayed because the young people coming from a local school failed to arrive due to logistical problems with transport. Arranging transport for the young people between the two educational sites proved difficult for the school to organise because the ESC day finishes 30 minutes earlier than mainstream schools. The programme of SSOSHL activities ideally needed to start at the end of the centre s day, so to solve this problem the mainstream school re-arranged the timetable of taught curriculum so that their participants in the project could be collected by minibus 30 minutes earlier than the end of the mainstream school day. After each session all the participants were transported home in the mini bus. This required at least two members of staff to contain any potential unruly behaviour on the journey. Consequently, members of staff at the ESC who had volunteered their time to run the SSOSHL activities, also had to work later to transport the young people safely home. Partnerships: The Key Stage 4 After School Club project was delivered in partnership with a local secondary school. The residential part of the bush-craft activity was delivered in partnership with a specialist company in Norfolk. The golfing activity was delivered in partnership with a local Golf Club. The ESC catering staff provided the healthy food and snacks.

3 General benefits of activities: The activities were designed to boost self esteem and encourage socialisation, particularly with pupils from other schools and from different backgrounds. All the activities on offer required cooperation with others and team work, including the art activities, as a large freeform piece of art work was included in the programme. The theatre trips were arranged to introduce young people to live theatre and to show them that London and the West End is accessible to them. A number of the young people had not been to London before and had no experience of travelling by tube, therefore this activity was designed to broaden horizons and encourage independent travel. One of the young people achieved an AQA in Drama during the project. Although the activities were not designed to lead to formal qualifications, the parents of this young person, who wanted to participate in the project, would only let her take part if she achieved a certificate at the end of the programme. To ensure that she was not excluded, the organisers arranged this. At the end of the nine week period, those young people who had participated in the bush-craft activities were invited to participate in a residential camping trip to Norfolk. Key challenges and how these were overcome: Getting the young people on board: Getting the young people to sign up for this project was difficult as none of the participants had experienced SSOSHL activities before. Young people at the ESC had resisted all previous attempts to access additional support in their studies outside of the normal school day. To overcome initial reluctance, young people were approached personally by staff at the ESC. The targeted young people enjoyed the activities and popularity was boosted by word of mouth recommendation. Organisers of this project had considered offering after school activities to adults with learning difficulties at a centre on the same campus as the ESC, but it had proved difficult to coordinate, with timetabling difficulties being the main barrier. Organisers now feel that the success of this first project will enable them to recruit young people more easily for subsequent SSOSHL programmes. Behaviour: With the cohort of young people targeted for this project, difficult behaviour was always a consideration for the organisers. However, the young people who attended the after school club really wanted to be there and in general their behaviour was good. The organisers felt that the inclusion of students from the local mainstream school had a positive effect on behaviour: for example, the young people from the mainstream school expressed their thanks to the staff at various times during the project, which had a knock-on effect on the other participants.

4 Key challenges and how these were overcome: 3 tips for similar activities: Next Steps: Coordinating with other local schools: The organisers had intended to involve other local schools in close geographical proximity to the ESC, but this proved difficult because of the short planning time. The ESC day finishing 30 minutes earlier than in mainstream schools also posed a barrier. One local school overcame this and was able to participate by re-arranging the taught curriculum hours for a small number of their pupils, thus enabling them to attend the after school club. Staff at the school considered that these young people would benefit from the cultural input and their participation has been particularly successful. be flexible as many of the participants have difficulties with behaviour. Have plenty of alternative activities ready that can be accessed instantly should the prepared activity prove difficult to implement at any session. For example, the number of pupils attending the after school club varied and on one occasion there were too few pupils to carry on with an already established improvisation exercise include good quality healthy snacks as part of a break in the after school activities and to provide the young people with alternatives to junk food make the activities as exciting as possible as the cohort of young people targeted for this project have a short attention span and are easily bored The organisers plan to secure further funding to repeat the success of the after school club. Although the club was successful and supported participants in their academic studies, current funding is a barrier to mainstreaming activities. As well as obvious costs such as the theatre trips many of the resources for the activities were expensive and the ESC budget is not able to meet additional costs, such as spray paints needed for the graffiti project.

5 Outcomes Impact of project: I enjoyed everything I ve done at the Centre. The people there are really nice and encouraging about what you do One of the most important outcomes for this project was the development of positive attitudes in the young people. Barriers between authority figures and the participants were broken down, enabling the young people to enjoy themselves and to enjoy organised activities. Developing social skills was a theme running through each activity and all the young people taking part in this project developed their own social skills. The project also had an impact on their attendance, attitude to learning, concentration and academic achievement. Impact of project on young people s learning: I thought it was good because I learnt new skills and was able to socialise with other people Impact of project in terms of Every Child Matters outcomes : This project was an inclusive experience for the young people who took part and all the participants experienced something different and new. The young people worked well together and engaged in creative thinking and problem solving. Activities were exciting and stimulating. The young people were proud of what they had achieved and as a result their confidence and selfesteem were raised. Organisational skills were developed and all the young people experienced cultural activities that they would not normally have considered. The SSOSHL activities also had a positive impact on GCSE choices. Being Healthy: The young people were provided with a healthy and substantial snack half way through activities and healthy eating habits were encouraged. Staying Safe: The after school club was a safe place to be outside of normal school hours and the young people were transported home by minibus after the sessions. Safety was emphasised with each of the different activities, for example: when spray painting for the graffiti project the young people wore masks and sprayed out of doors. During bush-craft sessions the young people were taught how to safely handle axes and knives, and how to set an open fire. I have enjoyed doing the project. I enjoyed doing my own design and spraying it. My favourite piece was a two tone stencilled board that I took home Enjoying and Achieving: The activities were designed to allow the young people to learn in a fun, relaxed and informal way. One young participant was so shy that he initially found it difficult to take part in the drama element of the project. However, he gained confidence and participated fully once he learned that he could hide behind a character. The project participants interviewed for this case study were happy, enthusiastic and indicated that they would miss attending the after school club if it came to an end. Making a Positive Contribution: The family and friends of many of the young people enjoyed their art work so much that they commissioned the young people to produce a unique piece of work especially for them. This had worked particularly well with the graffiti project, using stencils for initials, and it was clear that the young people felt pleased that they had been asked to design and produce a piece of work to order. The drama project required the young people to adopt a role, cooperate with one another and respect each other as actors in order to keep improvisations moving forward. Achieving Economic Wellbeing: The young people all learned additional skills that complemented their coursework. One young person with a number of problems, based at the ESC, had decided to take GCSE Art because of her success at the after school club.

6 Impact of project in terms of the Extended Schools Core Offer: Evidence of Impact: We had a lesson from a golf Instructor. He helped me hit the ball more often, in a straight line and further I enjoyed Bush-craft because it was fun and we made shelters Child Care: The after school club was a safe place to be and to experience new activities for the young people. Varied Menu of Activities: The after school club provided a range of new and interesting activities for the young people, including golf, graffiti art work and bush-craft. What worked well: One aspect of the project that was felt to work particularly well was the opportunity for the students at the ESC to integrate with other mainstream school students. The ESC students realised that the young people from mainstream schools came from similar backgrounds and areas and had to deal with similar issues. Project leaders observed that the young people related well to one another and felt this was a benefit as some of the young people based at the ESC had left mainstream school because of their difficulties in integrating with other students. Another aspect of the project that worked well was the range of activities on offer. Although the activities organised were based on the specific skills of the teaching staff at the ESC, they seemed very well suited to the needs of the cohort of young people involved in the after school club. The young people were encouraged to enjoy themselves and felt a sense of achievement. None of the young people had played golf before and it was not an activity that they would usually have had an opportunity to try. The young people were not allowed to play on the golf course until they had reached a certain standard and had to listen carefully to the instructor before they could make any progress. The bush-craft course also worked well as the young people had watched survival programmes on television and had expressed an interest in them. Providing the bush-craft course not only utilised the skills of one member of staff but showed the young people that they could achieve something that they had not considered themselves capable of before the start of this project. I enjoyed Bush-craft the most, because of the really nice people and good tasks. I learnt about making a fire and putting up tents Project leaders felt they were extremely lucky with the weather on the days that the after school activities took place, because many of the activities on offer required the use of outdoor space. The graffiti art project, for example, depended upon the use of spray paints and the young people were required to wear masks and spray out of doors in order to use the paint safely. An alternative activity, silk screen printing, was planned as a backup in case of inclement weather. However the project leaders felt that this activity would not have engaged the young people as well as the graffiti project did. It captured their imagination and encouraged them to expand their horizons by producing commissioned work for families and, in one case, by choosing art as a GCSE subject.

7 Evidence of Impact: Exciting stuff for us - the team of staff who got involved would like to offer more after school activities What could have been better: Most of the bush-craft activities, apart from the residential trip, were carried out on a piece of woodland adjacent to the ESC. Although suitable for most activities, this land was not ideal as it did not allow the lighting of fires. Therefore this important element of bush-craft had to wait until the residential trip. Sustainability: ESC staff members feel enthusiastic about this project, recognise the many benefits that have resulted for the young people taking part, have more ideas for future activities and would like to repeat the project. However a permanent after school club would be too great a burden for the teaching staff alone and lose its impact. Ideally they would like to offer two to three similar length projects per year. Lack of funding would be the main barrier to sustaining this project as all the activities offered require additional funding to that which is currently available to the ESC. Staff are actively working to secure future funding.

8 Contact details School/ Organisation: Local Authority: Address: Telephone/ website: CSF contact: North Herts Education Support Centre Hertfordshire County Council Old Briar Patch Letchworth SG6 3LY Head of Centre, Sandra Wood, CSS Strategy Manager Study Support and Out of School Hours Learning

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