Stevenage Education Support Centre

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Stevenage Education Support Centre's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Stevenage Education Support Centre is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Daniel Nearney
Ryanair airside careers visit
Founded two decades ago, Stevenage Education Support
Centre is designed to work with students who are
permanently excluded, or at risk of permanent exclusion
from their schools. Through our onsite provision we are able
to offer 25 hours of local provision for local students. We work
with individuals from among the two most deprived areas in
Hertfordshire, where almost 60 per cent of the population live
in poverty, an increase of 13.5 per cent since 2005. As a town,
we have the highest rate of multiple deprivation in the area,
with three fifths of students on a pupil premium.
Changing your mindset
In 2015 we moved to a new site, and three years later we were able to open a
new Key Stage 4 provision. With over 50 students on site at any one time, we
also support over 300 students in their schools, offering transition and outreach
programmes to support them in re-entering mainstream education.
We offer GCSE and vocational training courses; which students can join at any
point. The aim of the course is to ensure those we work with have access to the full
curriculum, from English and Maths, to Science and Construction, providing them
with qualifications as early as possible. We ensure that all of the students we work
with are instilled with high academic aspirations, working to change their mindset
and ensure they consider careers and opportunities they may not have previously.
All our KS4 students spend 1 day a week at a work experience placement which
promotes next steps.
»Headteacher: Daniel Nearney
»Founded in 1999
»Located in Hertfordshire
»Services: provision of
education for young people
in KS3 and KS4 who are
permanently excluded or at
risk of permanent exclusion
from their school whether in
Stevenage or elsewhere in
North Hertfordshire
»No. of employees: 31
Stevenage Education
Support Centre
Highlighting best practice
Last year marked the first year of
GCSE and functional skills exams, and
every one of our students who took
A whole world out there
Our best practice is exemplified by
the calibre of our teaching staff. Our
specialist staff undergo mandatory
safeguarding training every year,
as opposed to the advised training
every three. All of them are level one
mental health trained, and two have
reached the second level. All follow
personalised CPD training, and each
lead in a key area. We meet twice
daily, with a briefing in the morning,
and a debriefing in the afternoon, to
ensure we are all on the same page,
and have joined up thinking.
All of our students have contact
with employers, and we provide an
enterprise day, bringing in people from
a variety of industries. Waitrose and
Airbus, among others, have shown
our students there is a whole world
out there, and helped them to develop
a range of skills they may not have
otherwise been privy to. North Herts
Radio have even broadcast from our
centre. We believe it is essential that
our students meet people from a range
of backgrounds and are shown the
importance of second chances. You
can start your life over at any age,
especially when you have barely had a
chance to start.
At Key Stage 4, each of our students
do a day of work experience, to meet
the post 16 work qualifications. In
instances of students who suffer from
high anxiety, we bring them to work
in the school, and they carry out work
experience on-site with us.
Breaking the cycle
We also work with a family worker, to
help break the cycle. There are often
associated issues with school exclusion,
ranging from mental health issues
in parents, to undiagnosed learning
difficulties in students. Ultimately, we
believe that every student wants to
please their parents, and every parent
wants the best for their child.
The introduction of our sibling project
has seen us work with the families of
our students, talking to both older
and younger siblings. For some, the
opportunity to talk with someone on a
weekly basis offers respite and serves
to break the chain on a familial level.
We ensure all our students wear a
uniform, which we believe provides
Cirdan Sailing Trust
provide five-day sailing
experiences for our
“Breaking the Chain”
– raising awareness of
knife crime
We offer
GCSE and
courses; which
students can
join at any
a sense of identity. The Community
Trust provides £100 in shopping
vouchers for over Christmas time to
take the pressure off our students, a
number of whom are carers. Each of
our students are given a tailor-made
plan, and we target our intervention
on a personalised level. We work
on a complex range of issues and
understand that they require a range
of solutions.
We have recently become aware of
the therapeutic power of cooking,
both in its execution and in its
consumption. One of our students,
who wasestranged from his mother,
now cooks with her on a regular basis.
We also ensure that all of our students
get a hot dinner each mealtime and
ensure that each meal is filled with
Moving on
We find that the lack of specialised
provision for our students is a
challenge, specifically posed to
students who are unable to move on.
In instances such as these, we cannot
help other students as there is simply a
lack of space. We have EHCP students,
who should be in specialist provision
are unable to move on because of the
lack of special school spaces.
While we do work beyond labels, we
also find that it is difficult to put a plan
in place without a diagnosis of learning
difficulties, further compounded by the
fact that the waiting list for a diagnosis
is currently 18 months.
We also find that local colleges do not
consider our students as equal to their
peers in mainstream schools and will
continue to work hard to dispel this
Hope for the future
In the coming years we hope to
increase our capacity and believe that
a social worker would fit well into our
fold. We believe that being able to
offer suitable post-16 provision within
the town would benefit our students.
Ultimately, we hope to continue our
quality of education for those who
have often been overlooked. Through
continuing to work with students and
their families, we are confident that
our future is one worthy of hope.
We also work
with a family
worker, to
help break
Left: SESC pioneering
new interventions; chef
mentoring – cooking
Right: Partnership
working with employers
to get out students

This article was sponsored by Stevenage Education Support Centre. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development