A new specialist intervention base opened in east Bristol this week to support students who are finding it difficult to thrive in their mainstream school.
The Leap, based in Easton C of E Primary School, is part of St Matthias Academy, an alternative provision aimed at providing support and a fresh start for students who need additional support in a small setting.
At The Leap, pupils are taught in very small classes and receive specialist support to help identify and meet any special educational needs. Some pupils are educated on a twelve-week programme, and return to their mainstream school when the programme ends. For others with Education, Care and Health Plans, they will stay at The Leap and transition to a secondary mainstream or specialist school that can meet their needs.
Although school exclusions in Bristol remain low, more younger pupils are receiving fixed term exclusions. Earlier intervention and partnership working with mainstream schools can help avoid fixed term or even permanent exclusion which is often a damaging process for both pupils and families.
Kassim Hanid, Bristol City Council Commissioning and Inclusion Officer visited The Leap and it’s two classrooms, Turtle and Butterfly, to help officially open the provision. Two specialist teachers and support staff work at the base and it is part of the Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust which runs four specialist schools and two alternative provisions in the West of England.
Headteacher at St Matthias Academy and The Leap, Aileen Morrison, said, “At The Leap we are providing a tailored and fresh start for pupils who are not coping at all in primary school. We want to see younger students in our alternative provisions to help reset their experience of education and identify any un-met educational and emotional needs.
“The investment by Bristol in bases like ours supports the whole system. Primary schools can work with us to seek much earlier support for an increasing number of pupils who cannot manage in a large classroom with their peers. Our aim is always to reset their educational experience so they are ready to go back to a primary school or find a specialist school that meets their needs.”
Alison’s son has been attending The Leap since September. She said, “The best things about the school is the wide range of activities and the aim to provide my child with skills that are beneficial for the future.”
Year 5 pupil Ja’shai Whisker added, “The best thing about this school is seeing Bristol City and doing my work and learning new things.”
Find out more about The Leap here.