'The new Sheffield project helping young people at risk of being of exluded or expelled'

The key to change is education, that is why I am so passionate around educating young people on topics that have the power to change their lives.

By Anthony Olaseinde
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 6:00 am
Anthony Olaseinde.
Anthony Olaseinde.

After travelling across South Yorkshire delivering educational sessions, I noticed similarities amongst all of the young people that I worked with; whether it was on serious violence, self-confidence or role models.

I have found that the young people at risk of making mistakes that could have a negative impact on their future needed more time in a smaller, supported group to look at the world from a different angle and broaden their mindset, to reach their full potential.

I have a lot of contact with parents that support the work I do so I asked them about their experiences with their children and when they noticed a change in attitude and behaviour. They believe that the change occurred within the school settings but their child’s behaviour rapidly went from bad to worse once they were removed. Additionally, parents /carers felt like they did not get the support that they needed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

After a long discussion with my business partner, who I co-own a care leavers project with, we noticed that there was in fact a gap in provisions for parents/carers to access support and their children experiencing difficulties; thus, being removed from school. So, we decided to create Project X.

Project X is an innovative alternative provision that provides a unique combination of education and mentoring for students aged 11 – 16 years who are at risk of being expelled or permanently excluded from school.

We ensure that the young person is at the centre of everything we do, giving them responsibility around their educational preferences, such as learning styles, choice-based curriculum (where we are able to) and what their goals are, not only whilst they are with Project X, but sustainable outcomes that can be implemented and built upon. We believe that persistency, nurturing and a mentoring is the key to our success with young people.

Our ethos is to explore every possible avenue to make sure we never have to give up on any of the young people we support. This requires, tenacity and resilience in staff, alongside genuine care and concern for the wellbeing of young people accessing our support. This comes to light through our approach:

In Student Centred Supported Learning we allow our students to make choices about their own learning, supported by professionals. This approach ensures that learning is personalised; we will create a tailored programme of support for the young person and understand their learning needs and style.

When it comes to mentoring and support we understand the complexities that surround students as they grow into adults both inside and outside of education. It is of high priority that we not only educate students but support and mentor them along their journey in an educational setting and at home where possible. This high level of support is achievable by not only engaging with students but working closely with schools, parents and all other professions.

Our approach to learning is an innovative approach by keeping maths and English from the curriculum. However, this is taught in current relevant terms, for instance, how to write emails as well as letters.

The core of our sessions are built around PSHE and are taught in a way that is relevant to current affairs and relevant issues which young people may face. Our bespoke sessions are built around new issues that have not yet made it to the curriculum such as (but not inclusive of) knife crime, county lines and the impact of technology.

Self-reflection is key to success and will be conducted weekly with students, tutors and support staff. Our self-reflection sessions are purposely time limited, regular and supportive to reassure our young people their voice is central to improvement and their own positive experiences. This learning can be applied inside and outside of the young person’s study environment.

Outcomes are measured in terms of hard and soft outcomes; this is to ensure the young person can see a visual representation of their whole learning journey Our hard outcomes are definable and measurable. Soft outcomes are less tangible and more difficult to measure, such as increased self-esteem, self-confidence and problem-solving abilities.

Project X measure outcomes loosely based on the Outcomes Star. Our outcomes are underpinned by three values; Engage; Educate; Enable. Our outcomes are informed by adopting Student Centred Supported Learning, strengths based and co-production approach, ensuring the young person’s voice is at the centre of every decision made.

We offer a wide range of sessions from the curriculum.

Although some of the topics are part of PSHE we offer a different learning and work around topics that out students maybe vulnerable to: mindset, knife crime, gang culture, child/sexual exploitation, county lines, anger management and business ownership.

The values of Project X are underpinned by those that I use when I work with young people and have proven to be successful.

This is something that I believe will make such a difference to the lives of young people that need it. I always wanted to become the person I needed growing up and after becoming that person I realised more could be done. If you feel you can add value or give time to help with any projects with young people, get in touch.