Time-out scheme for troubled pupils

PUBLISHED: 14:37 11 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010

TROUBLED pupils from Holywells High School in Ipswich have been taken out of class on a temporary basis – in a move designed to help both the youngsters concerned and their classmates.

TROUBLED pupils from Holywells High School in Ipswich have been taken out of class on a temporary basis – in a move designed to help both the youngsters concerned and their classmates.

More than 20 pupils, aged 12 to 15, are taking part in a special four-week project, aimed at students with behaviour problems, who find it difficult to cope with school life.

Although it is early days, organisers say the move is working well and the children involved have responded very positively.

"This is a support programme for pupils who have experienced difficulties coping at Holywells," said county advisor Harry Stone, who is co-ordinating the project.

"I think the idea has worked well and it is a positive experience for these kids. The staff who know them say they can see the changes – the pupils are being more responsible in their attitudes and more co-operative."

Around 15 youngsters from years seven and eight are being taught in part of the former Oakwood School in Stowmarket, which is due to reopen as the Kingsfield Centre pupil referral unit in the autumn.

The students are doing about three hours of lessons every morning, and then taking part in a range of activities in the afternoons, including tackling a climbing wall and visiting a dry ski slope.

A group of seven slightly older pupils, from years nine and ten, are being taught at Murrayside Youth Club in Ipswich for two full days each week.

On other days they are having lessons in the further education section at Belstead Special School and one morning each week having lessons in host schools, which have included St Alban's and Northgate.

Mr Stone stressed that students are only being allowed to take part in the afternoon activities if they have behaved well and concentrated on their work during the morning timetable.

Holywells High has just gone into Government special measures after a critical Ofsted report, which highlighted problems with pupil behaviour.

After taking over earlier this term, acting headteacher Mike Moran has been working hard with his team to improve things at the school – and he came up with the idea of this project.

Dave Siddall from the Westbridge pupil referral unit in Ipswich put together the programme of lessons and activities for the pupils. County advisors and staff from referral units are working alongside teachers and support assistants from Holywells itself.

Mr Stone said the project is not only benefiting the children taking part, but also helping teachers at Holywells, by enabling them to concentrate on teaching other pupils.

The school will continue to build on this work in September, when it will open its own learning support unit. Pupils will be taught there for part of the week, with places for 10 youngsters at any one time.

The new unit will be based in part of the present Priory Heath Primary School, which is due to close down at the end of the summer term.

Priory Heath youngsters will be moving to the new purpose-built school at Ravenswood, and their current buildings will be taken over by Holywells.

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