For many young people living with social, emotional and mental health difficulties and those with an autism spectrum condition, achieving meaningful qualifications such as BTEC, Foundation Studies or GCSEs is just one part of their journey towards success. Their destination – or where they go to next after school – is also vitally important and a good measure often of just how far they’ve come.
Kedleston Group’s Dr Lynda Mitchell, Director of Quality and Compliance, explains why the destinations for the group’s 2020 cohort of leavers are so important in considering how far a young person has come, and the success they have achieved.
So often we hear variations of the same story from young people and their parents – because of their challenges and difficulties, they’ve been told they will probably never sit an exam, they are unlikely to achieve a qualification and that college, training or a job are therefore likely to be out of their reach.
However, year after year we see success after success achieved by the young people we support in our residential and day schools as well as children’s homes. They do all of those things, and more besides! This year is no different even despite these young people learning in the midst of a global pandemic.
We’re yet to see their final exam results – which excitingly are released next week – but we do know where our young people are off to having left a Kedleston provision and it’s good news all round.
It’s important to remember that success may take different forms, but the focus is always on the young person achieving a goal - or taking a step closer to achieving a goal. Their next step after school is one of those steps.
So, despite of having to learn in the most challenging of circumstances this year, our young people have surpassed themselves. We’re thrilled that 100% of them are moving on to further education in mainstream colleges or into training in an apprenticeship.
We can break that down a little further; in our day schools, 97% of leavers have gone into a mainstream further education placement and the further 3% are taking up apprenticeships. This is fantastic news as often these young people arrive at a Kedleston school having had a very disrupted education and, usually, a negative experience of learning. To see them move on to want to continue their learning journey is wonderful, and hugely inspirational.
In our residential schools, 100% of the leavers have gone on to further education, again all of them in mainstream colleges. In terms of their living arrangements (our residential schools are just that, the children live on site while they attend school) we have been thrilled to see 67% move into supported living settings, having been supported at school to learn the skills they need for independence.
A further 17% have moved home to live with parents and carers while they further their education, and the remaining 16% are being supported in foster care placements.
As ever, the huge range of courses the young people will take as they continue their educational journey is a wide and varied as their individual interests. This year they include Digital Art and Graphic design, Construction and Animal and Equine Farming.
For many of our young people, before coming to Kedleston, they felt that their futures were uncertain and that their options may be limited. These destinations show otherwise.
They show that these are young people who are resilient, willing and able to learn and able to overcome adversity. They can exceed expectations, and regularly do so. These are young people employers want to employ or train and that colleges and universities want to teach. These are young people who have worth, who are worth believing in and who have the potential for a bright future.
We start from a position of high expectations for our young people - it is a key part of our values – and we wish each and every one of our leavers the very best for their future successes and achievements. We look forward to hearing about them!