One of our young people has been working hard across the last couple of months applying for different jobs, throughout this time he was successful in getting and attending three different interviews. He realised that attending an interview was the first time he had done something to that magnitude on his own, previous work experience had always been arranged for him by adults at Specialist Education Services.
One of the interviews he had was at a popular riverside pub, he successfully got through the first stage and was invited to work a trial shift. Following this, he was offered the job and was also paid for the hours worked on the trial shift. He will be working in the kitchen and carrying out front of house duties.
He is looking forward to starting his first proper shift, this is a big leap forwards as six months ago he was adamant he didn’t want, or need, to work. He has gained the confidence to show his abilities to prospective employers. He is looking to purchase a push bike to enable him to get to and from work without having to rely on the adults for transport.
Specialist Education Services is excited to announce a new provision opening in Beccles, Suffolk. This new provision will provide supported accommodation for young people aged 16 and above, giving them access to vital support to develop their life skills further and lead to independent living as they move into adulthood. It will be situated near our existing provision for young adults over 18s.
The supportive environment will offer nurture, guidance and time to allow the young people to flourish, giving them opportunities to access further education, employment and to continue the development of life skills.
The aim of the provision is to deliver high-quality support, making young people feel safe and secure within their surroundings with other young people, all working towards independent living.
This academic year, our young people had the opportunity to attend sessions with ‘Back to Wilderness,’ a high quality Bushcraft, Survival and Wilderness educational platform that helps people to reconnect with nature and learn a range of bushcraft skills.
The sessions were situated in the heart of Thetford Forest providing an authentic location to engage in the planned activities. Our young people had an amazing time building dens, wood carving, fire lighting and campfire cooking with a clear emphasis on safety protocols and the legal aspects of what the activities involved.
It was a pleasure to be a part of creating the inspiring experiences that have formed memories to last a lifetime for all who attended.
Throughout the Spring Term, young people at Avocet House have been learning about West Africa and the historical Kingdom of Benin. As part of this, they have been exploring the food and culture of West Africa and have weekly cooking sessions planned to help them in learning culinary skills and techniques.
At the end of February we took this a step further with the Great British Fruit Off!
With a broad and exciting array of fruits young people were given the challenge to design and create an amazing fruit creation, suitable for use as a centre piece in a 5 Star hotel or banquet! Points would be given for the range of fruits, creativity, knife and carving skills, height and ambitious structure.
One of our Child Care Practitioners has experience of 5 Star catering and was asked to be the Judge; with such a high level of quality throughout, this was no easy task!
We are extremely proud of one of our young people, as she has successfully gained a place on a Level 2 apprenticeship at an equestrian centre. She had to go through an interview and introduction day followed by two trial days. The owner and staff were very impressed with how she did and they have offered her an apprenticeship which is likely to start in a couple of weeks.
By getting accepted onto this apprenticeship she has secured a position doing something she is passionate about, surrounded by people she likes, whilst gaining a qualification and getting paid. A huge step towards independence!
One of our young adults has successfully gained a new job delivering the community newspaper. She overcame some initial disappointment when the papers arrived later than expected and went on to ensure everything else was planned in advance of making the deliveries.
Initially, a member of staff supported her from a distance, ensuring she delivered on the right roads and didn’t miss any houses, but this was almost not necessary as she was fantastic and didn’t need much prompting! She delivered all 190 papers for one of her rounds, making sure it was carried out properly and professionally. She remained focussed throughout and after about 3 hours of delivering and 12,000 steps she completed it. She was extremely proud of herself and is really pleased to have a job that she gets paid for, her earnings will be saved up and hopefully used on a holiday next year.
This is a wonderful example of the progression made since being within SES and a fantastic success story, as this would have been unachievable for her a few years ago.
In November, three young people from Turnstone House, one young adult from Tower Hill and one young adult formerly from Avocet House were invited to attend the national engage in their future awards, which were held in Manchester.
The National Awards acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of students be it as individuals, teams or as a school. Nominations could be submitted against any of nine categories –
· Outstanding Personal Progress
· Outstanding Achievement
· Outstanding Personal Resilience
· Good Citizen Award
· Innovation and Creativity
· Team of the Year
· International Award
· Sports Student of the Year Award
· Success Story
An independent panel take the individual circumstances of each child into account as the journey through SEMH education is unique to each student. Acknowledging the context of the student’s accomplishments and progress is essential to making sure each nomination is judged on its own merits, not against generic benchmarks or expected standards.
All nominees receive a certificate and those that are short-listed are invited to attend the annual National Awards Ceremony to be presented with their certificate and trophy.
We are delighted that two young people from Turnstone House won awards for Outstanding Personal Resilience, one young adult from Tower Hill won an award for Leavers Success Story and another former resident of Avocet House won an award for Outstanding Personal Progress.
At the end of August three boys and staff from Avocet House embarked on the long trip to northern Scotland. To break the journey, three nights were spent on a campsite in Northumberland, and on the way there a visit was made to the Angel of the North. One of the boys is a big fan of Harry Potter so a trip to Alnwick Castle was essential while in the area. Keeping with the historical theme, trips were also made to Bamburgh Castle and a Roman fort at Hadrian’s Wall.
After a lovely time spent in Northumberland, the next leg of the journey was all the way to John O’ Groats. From this point various campsites were stayed at and trips were made to the beautiful Sandwood Bay Beach (which involved hiking a total of 9 miles), rock pooling, Glenfinnan viaduct (also made famous in the Harry Potter movies), waterfalls and Loch Ness.
Four Angels of the North!
While everyone back in Norfolk was tolerating mediocre weather, the travellers experienced fantastic weather, which helped to make the holiday so enjoyable. This was the first time any of the boys had visited Scotland and a fabulous time was had by all!
We held our annual Charity Football Match in July on a beautiful sunny day at the Beccles Football Club. We had an amazing turn out, consisting of our current SES community as well as welcoming back young people who had previously lived with us, along with former colleagues. We played 11-a-side, mixing adults with young people, and saw some excellent football throughout. The match was played in very good spirits with a finishing score of 7-4.
Following the match there was a celebratory BBQ, which gave everyone a chance to catch up with each other. Alongside this we held a raffle, which included amazing prizes such as Amazon vouches, Bluetooth headphones and a signed Norwich City T-Shirt.
We managed to raise an amazing £1000 for our local charity, Leeway, which is a Norfolk based charity supporting victims of domestic abuse. We had a significant financial donation to our event this year from Vita Health Group, for which we are extremely grateful.
It was a huge success, not only for our chosen charity, but also for the adults and young people forming the community at SES.