• The Progress School, Toxteth Educate Magazine Ofsted

Liverpool school’s ‘positive impact’ on excluded young students

A Liverpool school where pupils are getting a second chance to learn has been given a glowing report by education watchdog Ofsted.

Teenagers at Progress Schools in Toxteth – whose behavioural, emotional and social difficulties excluded them from mainstream schooling – are now going back to college, getting apprenticeships or full-time jobs.

Delivering her report, Ofsted inspector Judith Straw said: “The school has a positive impact not only on academic outcomes but also on most pupils’ attendance, behaviour and attitude to learning.

“Most of them leave Year 11 with clear destinations and continue to courses such as in engineering, motor maintenance and health and social care. Some gain apprenticeships and others go straight into employment.

“The school gets positive feedback from employers who offer work experience placements, confirming pupils make good progress towards developing the skills that are valued by employers.

“As a result of Progress Schools’ work, pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of the education, training or employment and for the future.”

Ofsted judged Progress Schools Toxteth as being Good in all areas of inspection – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching; pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils and outcomes for pupils.

Classes are run from its unique base at Toxteth Fire Fit Hub, a state-of-the-art youth zone in the heart of the community, where pupils are able to daily use its world class sport, music and cultural facilities.

The school, says the report, has a “strong vision” of what it wants to achieve for its pupils who often have large gaps in their learning but, once settled in the “nurturing and positive” environment, re-engage with learning and make good progress via unique personal learning programmes.

Because of good teaching, young people leave with a range of worthwhile qualifications which prepare them for their next steps in education, training or employment and a flexible curriculum prepares them well for “life in modern Britain”. Pupils also learn how to become responsible for their own behaviour, which has a positive impact on their learning.

James Madine, chief executive of Progress Schools, which has seven other centres throughout the country, said: “This was the first Ofsted report for our Toxteth school and shows the remarkable strides we have taken in a relatively short space of time to start turning the lives around of young people who, for various reasons, simply do not fit in with conventional forms of education.

“By nurturing and developing them in a unique, personal way and in a supportive environment where they actually want to learn, they are gaining basic skills as well as other qualifications to help set them up for life.

“An excluded child can sometimes be seen by other schools as a source of trouble and many are unwilling to take on ‘problem’ pupils. These are the issues we are aiming to address to make sure exclusion from school is not an exclusion from a good education and that lack of opportunity is no excuse to leave young people on the education scrapheap.”

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About Author: Alan Birkett