Mayor praises school's inclusion efforts

March 03 2017

THE Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, visited a Fishponds school that has helped turn around the lives of scores of children from across Bristol.

 

THE Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, visited a Fishponds school that has helped turn around the lives of scores of children from across Bristol.

Young people are referred to St Matthias Park when they have  struggled in a mainstream school, for a variety of reasons, and  have been at risk of permanent exclusion. 

Marvin Rees visited the school and met some of those who have been able to pick up their school career again after a successful placement agt St Matthias Park.

He said: "It is encouraging to see how the school is helping students to re-engage with education and unlock their true potential. We know that in order to prosper all our young people need to have access to a good education, in a place that best suits their needs, and St Matthias is providing a stepping stone back into mainstream education.  Though our Learning City Partnership we are working with schools to make education as inclusive as possible.”

As part of an effort to reduce permanent exclusions in Bristol to zero, schools are working more closely with students, families and the city council to refer students to provision such as St Matthias Park  before a crisis point is reached.  This work is organised through the Bristol Inclusion Panel, launched in July 2016. 

Head teacher Aileen Morrison said:“Permanent exclusion is a very blunt tool to deal with a child who isn’t managing to be part of the their school community in the way that is expected of them.   By the time they are excluded many opportunities have been been lost to tackle some of the underlying issues that is leading to disruptive behaviour.

“Students can stay with us to sit their GCSEs if this is more appropriate for them and I’m delighted that last year we recorded out best results ever.”

Matthias Park currently has places for 60 students.  The majority have come from a Bristol secondary school but some are referred from neighbouring authorities as the student has a north, east or central Bristol home address.   It offers a core curriculum in very small classes plus targeted emotional, behaviour and learning support.

 Chair of the Bristol Inclusion Panel and deputy head at Bristol Cathedral Choir School Rupert Moreton said:  “The Bristol Inclusion Panel is a great example of how mainstream schools, pupil referral units, alternative learning providers and outside agencies can all work proactively together to meet the needs of children facing challenging circumstances."