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Community projects and volunteering are helping school pupils

In autumn last year staff teams in all our secondary schools across North Ayrshire started introducing a new approach to enable as many young people as possible to receive enhanced support within their own school community.

The idea for this approach stemmed from successful pilot projects for Secondary Support Resources (SSRs) which were implemented in Greenwood Academy and Irvine Royal Academy throughout 2021/22.

The SSR concept is now in place in every secondary school for session 2022-23.

The aim is to provide targeted, intensive support, particularly for the transition phase into secondary and the early stages of secondary school for those learners who would benefit most from such an approach.

Each school offers a bespoke learning experience that supports inclusive practice and personalised learning for young people with a range of support needs.

Because each school has tailored its approach to the specific needs of their own learners, the provision looks different in each school, but they are all underpinned by the same principles.

The key principles are:

  • Young people are supported and educated within their community and their catchment secondary school.
  • The environment, curriculum and support provided is tailored to meet the needs of the young person.
  • The primary outcome for almost all learners will be to move to a full timetable within the main body of the school. The time this will take will depend on individual needs.

One example of a newly established SSR is at Ardrossan Academy, where  the SSR is focused on enabling pupils to achieve accreditation while engaging in learning they enjoy, are good at and are interested in.

Many of the pupils who are benefiting from SSR support in Ardrossan have previously found it difficult to maintain attendance at school. With careful planning and understanding of each pupil’s needs and support requirements, many are now more confident in attending school and are enjoying the learning experiences.

Feedback from students has included: “I now want to come to school. I get a lot more work done and have far less referrals. It’s good” and “I didn’t want to come to school because it was too noisy. I like learning when it’s quiet and we can do the work together. I really like when the work is about things I like.” is about things I like.

Lindsey Reid, Depute Head at Ardrossan Academy, said: “Our staff team has worked incredibly hard over the past year to bring this support service into being and their commitment, positivity and focus has been outstanding. It’s very rewarding to see the growing confidence and resilience in our learners”.

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