Schools pioneer NHS partnership for pupils

Students Kenyon Stocks (left) and Ryan Cordingley with School Partnership Trust chief executive Sir Paul Edwards and Elland Academy head Alice Ngondi.   Picture by Stephen Taylor.
Students Kenyon Stocks (left) and Ryan Cordingley with School Partnership Trust chief executive Sir Paul Edwards and Elland Academy head Alice Ngondi. Picture by Stephen Taylor.
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YOUNG people excluded from mainstream education are to benefit from a new collaboration between health services and two alternative provision schools run by a major academy chain.

A team of psychotherapists, clinical and educational psychologists are working within the two Yorkshire schools to help pupils with mental health and emotional issues. The Northern School of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Clinical Services (NSCAP), part of the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is providing and managing a central team of highly specialist clinicians.

The two alternative provision free schools are Elland Academy, in Leeds, and St Wilfrids Academy in Doncaster. They were set up last year by the School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA) chain. The schools take on pupils who are referred from other SPTA schools.

Sir Paul Edwards, SPTA’s chief executive said: “Too often in the past, some young people have been excluded from school and discarded by society, Much of the alternative provision has been inadequate and, as a result, many young people have felt they have failed. Society has had to deal with the consequences, such as through health services or, in some cases, the criminal justice system. This unique partnership aims to give our vulnerable young people a chance, providing a more effective education that deals with their sometimes very complex needs.” Chris Butler, the chief executive of the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust said : “Our hope is that it is not just successful here but is a project that can be replicated across the country. The dedicated team are determined to make their experience count and are committed to providing a high quality specialist service to improve the life chances of some of our most vulnerable young people.”

Lynda Ellis, NSCAP’s clinical director, has been at the forefront of the partnership. She said: “The launch is the culmination of a period of focussed and integrated work between our organisations as well as the beginning of a step-change in addressing the emotional needs and behavioural communication of children and young people in an educational setting.

“Our offer includes work with parents/carers alongside the continuing professional development of the SPTA colleagues.

Elland Academy head teacher Alice Ngondi said: “It is really, really positive and the impact will be felt across a wide community of people. The academy’s real strength is its unique group of staff who love and care for the children. We’ve also done really well with the constant communication between school and home.”

“The clinicians have fitted in very quickly, supporting and adding to what we do.”

Students Kenyon Stocks, 15 and Ryan Cordingley,13, have moved to Elland after issues at mainstream schools.

Kenyon, who wants to be a chef, said: “I like school. Catering is one of my favourite lessons. I like being here. It’s a happy environment.”

Ryan added: “I like the support from the teachers I get at this school and the little classes.

“I’d like to do something with animals when I’m older. In ICT, I’m doing a magazine on how to look after animals. I really enjoy it.”

The SPTA opened three alternative provision free schools in 2014 but one of them - Dawes Lane Academy - closed after a year after failing to secure a permanent home in Scunthorpe.