Trustee calls for two more years of funding for Norwich Future Education
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Future Education needs two years of support from Norfolk County Council to help secure its long term existence, the chair of trustees at Future Projects said last night.
A former student speaks...
Tyree Toll-White, 18, was excluded from Costessey High School. He spent a year in an alternative centre before starting at Future Education in Year 10.
He got into trouble for fighting.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy school. I think there were more people in the school and I found it hard to work because there were more distractions. I was more into having a laugh with my mates.
“Because there were only a certain amount of people in the school it made it easier.
“I didn’t kick off here as much as I did at Costessey. They realised there were reasons why I was kicking off. If you did something, rather than excluding you or sending you to the headteacher they would tell you to go outside and calm down.
“I would go and have a fag and be more relaxed.
“It was a different way and I still learnt. They didn’t look down on you.”
He left Future Education with GCSEs and was able to go to college. He left with a folder full of qualifications and awards.
He did half a year of a bricklaying course, but then decided to move into music production and he has just finished his second year and is hoping to go into the industry after completing a third year.
“I still go back there nearly every day. If I need help with my CV or a reference they are the ones that help me out.”
He said that they had given him support and spoken to his college when he was struggling at the end of this year.
He was able to go back and borrow a laptop so he could finish his work. “I have got friend who when I was doing my GCSEs were just sitting at home. They are still doing the same thing now. If I hadn’t gone to Future I would be doing that now.
“I do not think it is important what grades, but it is more important to get them. Even if they are rubbish you have still got them.”
He said that he wouldn’t have got into college without them.
He said that the project had given him confidence and got him into music production.
“I have been at college and I have been applying for jobs.”
He said it was not just Future Education that had helped him, but other parts of the project including Baseline and he was able to use the studio.
“It is not just a school. “If it wasn’t for them I would have been pretty screwed.”
The warning came as County Hall bosses pledged to fund it for just another year.
But Ian Johnson said that in order to give them the time and the funds to find an alternative way of providing its successful services it needed its contract renewed for two years.
Future was encouraged to establish the school in 2008 by Norfolk County Council at great cost and effort.
Mr Johnson said the school wanted the planned new intake to start in September to ensure continuity and that it would take time to plan for their future.
The one-year extension would mean only those currently half way through a two-year course could continue but that those planning to start in September would need to go elsewhere.
He confirmed that they were looking into the possibility of becoming a free school.
“That is going to take time, but with time we could work towards it”, he said.
He also warned that other projects at Future could be at risk if their Norfolk County Council contract is pulled.
The Future Education funds have helped with general costs at the complex on Motum Road.
“The money that comes in for education goes some way towards the general costs of the building”, he said. “Some of the staff work in other projects which means the loss of the contract is affecting everything.”
Many of the students who have left the school continue to return for support with college work and help with CVs and other support from staff they know.
The students at the school are also given much support from other parts of the project such as Baseline and some had gone on to do the Access to Music course.
“It has far reaching affects”, he said. “When they were tendering they were just looking at the contract. They did not look at the other implications and what that does with everything else.”
He said that the whole nature of the project had changed when they became a school in 2008.
“It has been brilliant. I know how hard they have worked.”
In its first Ofsted the project was award a good rating, which he said had been incredible in its first year.
“The main difference between Future and other projects like Include is that we know their background. We know their parents, their grandparents, their cousins. That goes a long way in our job of helping the students. In a way, to have that connection they are going to have to spend more money.
“It is almost like their community hall. If you are here after school around 3.30pm the kids come in and hang out.
Mr Johnson added: “Dawn (Jackson - founder) will have time for everyone. These kids may not be scheduled to be here in terms of time, but they are still given the time.”
He said they would be having a meeting with Norfolk County Council this week.
He added that some of the young people at Future had already been excluded from the Include, which had won the contract.
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