The Bridge AP Academy

Success for Learners by any Means

Case study by Natalie Wismayer.

Tell us about your school

The Bridge AP Academy is an Alternative Provision school, part of the extensive TBAP MAT, which caters for up to 165 KS3 and KS4 learners with SMEH. It provides for young people who are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society; learners at risk of exclusion, those permanently excluded, as well as those with special educational needs which are not being met in a mainstream context.

Our aim is to provide an environment that encourages strong academic attainment and progress. This is underpinned at every level by our core value of non-negotiable success for all. The ethos of ‘The TBAP Family’ care and support, permeates the culture of the school and this is the basis for all new initiatives and policies that we introduce.

We have a strong therapeutic, pastoral and learning support provision within the academy as a core aspect of our offer. The ‘staggering’ (Ofsted 2013) work that occurs in these areas allows us to remove the, sometimes, immense barriers to learning for these very vulnerable learners and achieve our aims while staying true to our core values and beliefs:

SUCCESS FOR LEARNERS BY ANY MEANS

We design and adapt so that success for young people is a non-negotiable

PRECISE INCLUSION

We listen to our learners, seeking to understand their ‘journey’ and difficulties in their lives that make engagement a challenge.

STARTING AT GREAT

For our learners there is no ‘good enough’, we are committed to being exceptional in every respect.

What did you do to create such notable success with the pupil premium?

The Bridge AP Academy offers a wide range of subjects, which support successful reintegration back into mainstream education and, at the same time, ensures that all learners receive a curriculum that is personalised to their needs. The vocational offer is being developed further at KS4 to meet learner needs and smooth Post 16 pathways. We have already changed Construction, Hair and Beauty and Food Technology to provide learners with certification at an appropriate level to enable them to transition more smoothly to post-16 provision.

Academic mentoring has been redeveloped in response to the introduction of Progress 5 measures and now incorporates all key stage 4 learners.

In addition to the academic curriculum, there are scheduled weekly lessons devoted to learners keeping themselves safe. Workshops for learners on the consequences of gang involvement, crime in general and a visual trip through HM YOI Feltham have been delivered by the Outside Chance Organisation. We have hosted sessions delivered by the SO19 branch of the Met Police who have delivered a Makepeace presentation and the award winning charity, Redthread, based at St Mary’s Hospital Major Trauma Centre who delivered workshops around knife crime.

Weekly off-site enrichment activities for KS3 offer a variety of physical and cultural experiences. Learners enjoy weekly sessions such as fencing, orienteering and horse riding. On-site weekly enrichment lessons have included chess, girls’ fitness sessions, activities led by the Let Me Play organisation including basketball, volleyball and dance and football related activities led by Fulham Football club.

The therapeutic needs of targeted learners are addressed through on-site weekly support from a range of sessions delivered by a counsellor, art therapist, psychotherapist, music therapist and complementary therapist.

The waved intervention model, delivered by Wave Leaders and their teams of Learning Support Professionals, ensures that all learners have their identified needs met through additional literacy (such as Sound Training/Guided Reading/handwriting programmes), numeracy and social skills programmes such as anger management, SRE, mentoring, restorative justice, girls’ group amongst others. Enrichment clubs are offered by staff and include PS4 club, music club and girls’ fitness.

Impact

Learners have overcome significant obstacles to learning via the work of the whole staff team and external agencies, such as Children’s Services, YOT, Early Help, local police, integrated gangs team, child sexual exploitation teams, Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language therapist and CAMHS. Our holistic approach to the ‘whole’ child is what we do best here and is evident in the ethos that runs throughout the academy.

Our co-ordinated approach and high expectations for behaviour management across the whole academy allows learners to develop the core skills of self-control and independence that are fundamental to their future success. Our learners present, us, the adults with a unique opportunity to shape a young person’s life. Understanding where our learners come from and their individual stories allow us to personalise learning and interventions to best suit their needs.

What next for your pupil premium strategy?

A significant change has been introduced this academic year to enable us to further meet the needs of our Key Stage 3 learners. Key Stage 3 and 4 have been separated and part of the building has been redeveloped to accommodate our younger learners. The approach is known as the Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) and provides learners with a nurturing and supportive environment which aims to provide them with the skills to develop their academic performance, behaviour for learning and support social and emotional challenges by developing appropriate responses and learner resilience. The curriculum has been drastically modified and includes nurture sessions, Action for Learning (PE) and Opening Minds which continues to develop learning competencies and also acts as a vehicle for PSHE and SMSC. Literacy and Numeracy is delivered by specialist teachers. All learners are expected to leave ICM with work that has been accredited by an examination awarding body (AQA awards). Weekly offsite enrichment activities are part of the core curriculum of ICM and provide a range of practical outdoor opportunities to promote a love of learning and broaden horizons.

We are currently on a journey that will take us to 2020 and beyond. Our commitment to our learners goes far beyond the four walls of the academy and our support will be open to them for the rest of their lives, including at our 21st century new school, being built currently on The Bridge AP Academy site.

Sharing good practice

The Bridge AP Academy, as part of The TBAP MAT is highly skilled in the sharing of good practice amongst its own Academies and external partners, nationally and internationally. We have visitors from across the globe: Japan, Sweden and USA to name but a few.

Winning the Award

We are thrilled to be runners up in this prestigious award 2017 and we are looking forward to our Science Museum interactive visit and the practical workshops at The Royal Academy. We set no limits for our staff and learners and we believe we can develop into a truly exceptional provision in the years to come.

Get in touch

Contact with the Pupil Premium (Access and Inclusion) Lead - Rita Rogerson rrogerson@tbap.org.uk