Ipswich: New school for students who have been excluded from mainstream schools
- Credit: Archant
Private schools are often accused of wealth and privilege – but the town’s newest independent school is aimed at a very different group.
Prospect School, based on two sites in Argyle Street and Norwich Road, caters for young people aged 11 to 16 who may have been excluded from mainstream school or have emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.
In September 4’RCE Training, which was founded in 2003 to help some of the most vulnerable children in the area, was registered by the Department for Education as an independent school following an assessment.
There are about 60 pupils at the school who all follow the national curriculum but are taught in smaller groups, with a maximum of eight in a class, using an activity-based approach. Those in Years 10 and 11 attend the school in Argyle Street and years seven to nine are taught at the Norwich Road site.
Places are either purchased by Suffolk County Council or funded directly by the pupil’s mainstream school.
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Darryn Flynn, a director of the school, said: “We are very proud of what has been achieved by our staff and young people.
“Most of these young people would be ordinarily sent out of the county but we wanted to provide a really good provision for Suffolk kids to stay here and it saves the taxpayer money. It is a win-win situation.”
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Peter Sadler, one of the directors of 4’RCE Training and executive headteacher, added: “A lot of children require a completely different way of learning and we have come up with a system that works.
“Our intention is to give children who are at the lower end of the social spectrum the benefits that those at the top end get.”
Young people will either return to mainstream provision when they are able or stay at the school to take their GCSE or equivalent exams. Its first Ofsted inspection was carried out in February and the report is expected to be published shortly.
Those running the school have been renting the Argyle Street building, which used to be home to the Ipswich Civic College, but they are now in the process of buying the site. They have received planning permission and it will be fully operational by September.
One of the students, Callum Mathias, 14, from Felixstowe, said: “We play a lot of sport which I like. I like the staff. It’s a lot different to mainstream school. It’s more relaxed.”
Another, Daniel Halls, 15, from Ipswich, said: “It is an alright place. It can be challenging. It is like a family. Most people are here for each other and you get a lot of support.
“It is a lot easier to get on here than normal school. You are able to engage more with the staff.
“I have learned a lot and it has improved my confidence.”
Kirsten Palmer, 15, from Stowmarket, added: “I love it here. It is like a family. Everyone gets on. The atmosphere and the teachers are better here than at mainstream school and there are not so many people around.”