Stories from our Education Centres | Nacro

Stories from our Education Centres


Boston Education Centre – practical learning

We ran an Animal Care class on Zoom today. It was the first class delivered this way rather than using online platforms such as Google Classroom, Office365 etc. The Centre leader attended for this first session to check how it was working and to monitor it. It was a great success with learners who were able to engage and contribute from their homes

One particular learner was self-isolating before the Centre had to close so missed out on the last week of face-to-face learning before lockdown. However, she has been able to study from home, submitting work regularly for all subjects. She is using Word on her phone to produce some great assignments, which is especially impressive!

A message from a parent whose son has an Education Health Care Plan is impressed with the remote support: “I just want to say thank you to all of you for all the hard work you are doing to support my son, and I’m sure all the other students. You probably don’t realise, because you are all in it, but what you are doing is absolutely amazing and I thank you all. Please can you tell everyone else as well”.

A staff member reports that one of their learners, among the progress they have made, has set up their own fitness channel to promote health and fitness to others. This is giving her great work-based experience.

Chaynee Hewitt studied Fitness Instructing with us last year and has now progressed onto Personal Training. She has had some ups and downs with the courses throughout the year, as it can be tough, but she is thriving. Her work is always of a high level and her engagement through email since the closure of the building has been great. Prior to the centre closing she set up an Instagram page to showcase her workouts and her own fitness journey. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the local fitness industry as a number of local gyms now follow her on social media. She has been uploading workouts and has even been training another student through the last two weeks. We are very proud of her hard work and dedication! You can follow her at @chayneehewitt_fitness.

Longton Education Centre – supporting staff well-being

The Faculty Manager challenged staff to share the ways they are coping with home working and weekends not at the footie pitches, She nominated the Construction member of staff in Longton with a huge well done for his cycling activities which he is sharing on YouTube!

Totton College

Sarah is a Nacro Business Admin Apprentice working at Totton College. She is helping to organise supporting our Apprenticeships Awards, which are being launched later this year. She is our first student to gain her Level 3 Diploma in Business Admin as part of the Business Administrator Apprenticeship Standard. As part of the standard, the next step for Sarah is to complete her End Point Assessment, which consists of:

  1. Knowledge test
  2. Portfolio based interview
  3. Project presentation

We are proud of her achievement so far and wish her the best of luck in her assessment!

Sandwell Education Centre – supporting vulnerable learners

Sadia has been a student at Nacro Sandwell for a little while now. She is currently studying Level 1 in Childcare. She had suffered extensive bullying outside the Centre, which led to her having to take a significant amount of time away of education. We slowly integrated her and eventually she felt secure enough to attend the centre on an increased timetable.

In the past, Sadia had experienced a lot of barriers within the community and on a personal level. From a young age, Children’s Services and other agencies had been involved in her wellbeing, which eventually led to her becoming a LAC (looked after child). While with Nacro, she was living in supported accommodation. Now, though, she lives independently and, with the support of Nacro, she has gained life skills, enabling her to pay bills, access benefits and take care of her own needs. Staff have also supported Sadia with referrals to external agencies such as Black Country Women’s Aid (BCWA) for her to receive support regarding her turbulent relationship.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Sadia was flourishing (and still is) on the Childcare course, tackling all work set and looking for opportunities to stretch herself. She is still in regular contact with her tutor, via email and is completing every bit of work set to a fantastic standard. She has taken on board all suggestions I have made, for example, by downloading the Genius app to send work back to me as well as completing her personal wellbeing questions – and then even asking for more work! For me, this is testament to all the work that I and other Nacro staff members have put in to support and guide Sadia. We have been able to help break down historical and current barriers: Sadia takes everything on board, goes out of her comfort zone and tries new things. These are unprecedented times, even more so for young people who are in education. For Sadia to be so pro-active and positive in such testing times shows how much she has progressed and flourished. I am so proud that she is now becoming so much more confident, driven and active within the Sandwell Centre as well as increasing her prospects within her own community.

Sadia says: “I love Nacro. They supported me in school and out of school. The teachers that have helped me the most are Jessica, Vicky, Mandy, Emma and Becky”.

SSG Training and Consultancy subcontractors – our students carry on work placements remotely

With the onset of Covid-19, businesses have swiftly adjusted their working practices and many have adopted work from home and independent working strategies.

SSG have identified that there is a significant need to support learners that are studying on Traineeship or Study Programme courses that have a work experience element.

With this in mind, our students studying through SSG are working with their tutors to identify local businesses that meet their desired career direction, identified within the careers Information, Advice and Guidance work they’ve already done. Students will then do a work placement to achieve the following:

  • Make proactive contact with a range of local businesses using professional and formal methods of communication in order to set up a virtual meeting with a local employer.
  • Undertake a virtual meeting with a local employer to understand how the business has adapted/been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact it has had on their operations.
  • Work with the employer to identify a series of tasks that could be undertaken from home by the learner in order to support the business (this could for example include social media updates, website reviews, competitor analysis, research tasks, etc)
  • Carry out a follow-up weekly virtual meeting with the employer to provide updates on the task and record a weekly report on how the business continues to adapt and work during the lockdown.

All contact with the employer would remain in compliance with GDPR requirements and safer practice guidelines.

Leeds Education Centre – meeting the challenge of lockdown

The current situation remains a challenge for all of us, but it is especially difficult for some young people with pre-existing mental health conditions.

One learner in this position is Martin who attends our Leeds Centre and has an Education Health Care Plan. Martin lives in supported housing and finds it difficult to respond appropriately to everyday social contact. This shows itself as a tendency to impulsive and often risky behaviour.

Martin had been given work to complete during the current lockdown in line with his Study Programme targets and had been in touch with his tutor, through his support worker, who is supporting him to complete it.

His tendency toward risky behaviour showed itself in his refusal to stay in his housing complex, going out continuously, and therefore putting himself, his residential workers and other residents at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. This became such a problem that the police had to be informed and Martin was at risk of being taken into custody for his own protection.

The Leeds Centre tutors continued to keep in touch with Martin and by working alongside his key worker, put a package of support in place to help Martin engage with his education. In consultation with the residential workers, some DVDs and gaming equipment were loaned to the housing complex to support Martin staying in and to allow him to keep in touch with his peers remotely. Leeds tutors then sent additional Study Programme coursework for Martin to complete now he was more settled. Martin has since made progress through his Study Programme and has handed in his work on time for assessment.

Martin’s residential workers thanked Nacro for the level of support given and the commitment of our staff to the welfare of very vulnerable young people like Martin.

Carlisle Education Centre – rainbows to show support for the NHS

Tutors have been coming up with interesting ways of keeping our learners entertained, upbeat and looking after their mental health, while encouraging them to be at the forefront of supporting their local communities. Our learners love a competition and are a creative bunch so we decided to run a competition. We sent out a message to everyone:

“Today we are setting each of you a task! As you may have seen, the nation is supporting eachother’s mental wellbeing and spreading positivity and hope by creating rainbows to put up in windows. We would like you to create your own rainbow. You can be as creative as you like, involve others in your household and have some fun with it. Please take a picture of your rainbow and send it to us. Please don’t put any names on the front of your rainbow as we will be sharing them on social media to show that we all at Nacro are doing our part to bring a little piece of happiness to the nation. We are offering a £10 voucher to the winning entry”.

We had a high number of entries. The winner was chosen by Chris Morgan, Assistant Principal, who said, “They are all excellent. The different styles, the creativity, the use of colour, the different materials and even the use of technology, aligned to remote learning, is amazing. For me, though, this one’s use of colour and material to create a tactile rainbow is superb. It just shouts its colours and message loudly and it’s a really innovate approach! Amazing work, well done.”

Carlisle Education Centre – peer support

Several of our learners have set themselves up in a WhatsApp group and are helping each other to complete work that was sent out and to just generally support each other at this time. We have issued them with safeguarding support to keep themselves safe online.