Imagine a world where the personalities, interests and needs of each young person are considered alongside their studies to give them the best education possible?
It might sound like we’re dreaming, yet one school has made this a reality.
By using a holistic approach, yet still with emphasis on how to progress into college or employment, the two are proving the perfect ingredients for Inspired Directions School.
Speaking about why the Inspired Directions School has such a strong success rate – namely all students securing GCSEs with no fails, and all of them receiving offers for college – their spokesperson Claude Barbé-Brown told us about their unique and progressive approach.
Claude said: “Inspired Directions School is an alternative provision for high-needs learners struggling to access mainstream education often referred to us after exclusion.
“Raising achievement levels is linked to enhancing the prospects of young people. But we also believe that recognising their passions and skills while sparking greater interest in new areas is crucial to boosting confidence, a sense of individuality and self-worth.”
He continued: “Young people have so much to offer, collectively we all lose out by ignoring that and by not addressing their concerns and hopes or failing to equip them for a fast-paced and ever-changing world and jobs market.”
While the aim is to help young people harness their skills and confidence, so they have a real shot in the competitive employment world, the Inspire EBP brand also strives to be an anti-racist organisation and push back against inequalities in society and improve social mobility.
In particular, they want to ensure that young people of all backgrounds have equal opportunity and can access any industry or career level they put their mind to.
Claude said: “We must address how young people see themselves and how society views them.
“We recruit volunteers with diversity to challenge stereotypes about who can do what jobs, whether based on race, gender, class, sexuality, disability or other intersectional considerations.”
He continued: “For younger children, it is more about introducing them to ideas and work concepts early; studies show that children can build up perceptions at a very early age.
“Negative perceptions about what they are capable of achieving can limit their future aspirations and obscure their capabilities and life prospects.
“Early access to certain professions, understanding their knowledge and interests plus encouragement from our industry volunteers is vital, especially for those unlikely to encounter such people in their usual orbit.”
Over at the schools programme branch of the organisation, the crew visit kids to help them access information (and inspo!) about people across an eclectic range of careers.
This means, children and teenagers get to meet real people working in different sectors across London to help them decipher just what they might want to be when they grow up.
So far, the response has been great as more and more schools value work and understand that a job should be about more than just a wage as it can help define our sense of identity too.
Claude said: “The schools, children and young people we engage with are broad – we have a range of programmes to accommodate as many young people and their needs as we can. It is to their credit that we can develop our programme content in response to their feedback.
“The children and young people bring insightful questions and ideas as well as surprising new perspectives. Teachers do a great job of delivering our programme content and lesson plans too.”
He concluded: “The GCSE results of Hackney Schools [the area of London where Inspire EBP are based] are above the national average, so the potential and ability of young people is not the problem, it’s their employment outcomes that often don’t match their potential.
“We need to inform young people about what is out there to aspire to, and to try out. When people recognise this, it serves to increase awareness of diversity and inequality issues.”
Not only does the company help kids in schools, the team also offer other programmes such as Female Futures, which helps local young women to find work, and Re-Engage, which supports students struggling with settling back into learning and education after leaving.
If only the holistic approach going hand-in-hand with academia and careers development made it onto the national curriculum, we’d have a very different future…
To get involved, click here: Inspire EBP.