Engage in Education: helping young people with behaviour difficulties engage with secondary school
Unbelievably we are now coming to the end of our pilot phase of the Engage in Education programme, and what a busy and exciting 16 months we have had! The teams have worked hard through this hectic and snowy time of year creating the shape of Engage in Education for the future so that we have a choice of packages available for more schools to buy, with evidence of long term impact.
The past few months have seen I CAN Communication Advisors (CAs) working closely with schools and local Project Coordinators, Key workers, volunteers and Teachers, helping them identify and support young people with hidden communication needs who are at risk of exclusion. Past months have had a continued focus on training and development across the programme. In recent months locality team members have been honing and applying their new-found skills and, with support from CAs, reflecting on their good work and sharing good practice within teams and across the country.
In Newcastle, we have been using tools devised by CAs to help plan key work sessions and find out what young people feel about their communication skills. Some of this information has been collected through ‘Student Voice’ sessions run in schools, and has allowed us to feedback information from young people about the strategies they feel best support their learning. Schools in Croydon, Harlow and Manchester have also been keen to give their students a voice, and find out what works best for them.
In addition, the CAs have been busy at work collecting information and evidence about the impact of Engage in Education on the young people involved in the programme. One of the most important parts of this has been supporting schools and project workers to think about what they do, why they do it, and how they will be able to tell that they have made a difference. It’s great to see real evidence of the impact on young people’s communication skills coming from schools – and the way this can be linked to students’ engagement with learning. One of the teachers we have worked with said “I even used the strategy at the start of an exam with another pupil, and it was clear the positive influence it had on her and those around her.”
Watch out for our final evaluation report which will highlight the outcomes and impact of our work across the pilot. We are also currently putting the finishing touches to our training, information and resource packs which will help staff to implement the programme in the future.
If you want to read more about I CAN and the work we do, check out our website on www.ican.org.uk. If you want to read more about Engage in Education, go to http://www.catch-22.org.uk/Engage-in-Education