Project to help students re-engage with Sheffield school gets boost thanks to donation from builders merchants

Students facing exclusion from school have been getting back in to class thanks to a programme offering practical, ‘life long skills’.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 16:16 pm
(L-R) Samantha Peters (Manager of Alternative Provision) Adam Chambers (Design Technology Lead Teacher) and Rachel Sutcliffe (Deputy Headteacher and Lead on Inclusion) with a member of Travis Perkins

Ecclesfield School launched the brand new centre in September, called ‘The Bridge’, which offers support to a handful of disengaged students and allows them the chance to gain life long skills through a range of vocational subjects such as PE, construction and photography.

It currently caters for a group of around 10 Year 9 and Year 10 boys and recently received a generous donation of essential building supplies, such as trowels, sand and cement, from Travis Perkins, Mexborough, to help launch its construction course for the first time.

Ecclesfield School have been working with Travis Perkins to provide opportunities for some of their alternative provision pupils by providing a construction course. Pictured is teacher Adam Chambers with some of the pupils making cement.

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Samantha Peters, Manager of Alternative Provision, said: “All of these students are highly disengaged students. They’ve all had extremely poor attendance, concerns around behaviour and they’re all at high risk of permanent exclusion, so we felt there was a need to offer them something different, a different pathway that was bespoke to them and their needs.”

During the programme, the group are also given the chance to take part in site visits in a bid to expose them to as many different career options as possible.

“A lot of these students aren’t particularly academic,” Samantha added. “They enjoy that hands on focus to the work and the learning so we felt it was important to incorporate that in the timetable. Therefore we’ve offered a lengthy afternoon once a week whereby it is just dedicated to this construction course and the focus being less on paperwork and very hands on.

“Some of the students, even though we’re only just into this half term, are already on 100 per cent attendance which is amazing. In terms of their views from what they’re putting across is that they’re attending because they’re enjoying it and it’s something that is more accessible to them because previously a mainstream timetable just wasn’t accessible.”

Adam Chambers, Design Technology Lead Teacher, said: “Eventually in their course the students will be doing bricklaying, we’re trying to surround the course with trade areas they are interested in to try and get their engagement in school up.

“We do different aspects like joinery, plumbing, plastering and bricklaying – they’re the basic things they’re doing. We couldn’t have done it without Travis Perkins, as everyone knows school budgets are tight and what we did was put a call out to different companies and they stood up to the plate and said what do the school need, then provided it. They’ve allowed this to happen.”

The school are on the look out for more businesses to get involved with the programme. For more information email Samantha via