Today we all received background information on some of the schools that will be taking part in this years programme…
School 1 – The school is in a deprived inner city area. This is a diverse group of students from mixed backgrounds. The group was selected by staff nomination of students deserving a reward for their efforts during last year
School 2 – The school serves an area which has high social deprivation, including the highest teenage pregnancy in Europe, high levels of anti-social behaviour, low income and single parent families with low academic aspiration. The number of students requiring support both in and out of school is above the national average. Students will be chosen on a voluntary basis that allows some to access the life experience they otherwise would not be able to access.
School 3 – Relatively small, mono-cultural community with limited experiences of diversity. Families relocate to this area due to good commuter links and affordable housing. It was a coal mining town which has been replaced by warehousing and distribution centres, offering limited career opportunities. A proportion of parents have low aspirations for their children, low opinion and value of education and many struggle to cope with the parenting role. There is between 34% and 51% worklessness so the school serves an area of disadvantage. Only 10% of students take up free school meals yet 54% appear on tax credit register, there is great pride in the community. Our intake is bottom end average with 25% of the school on the SEN register. There are a mix of students, some highly motivated and this trip is a reward. Some are students who are targeted to do well but are currently underachieving due to a number of factors. Others are students whom would benefit from a confidence boost and are “ghost” students, those that fall below the radar. Some students are in families whom have split and now have 2 separate families.
School 4 – Social housing with some private. Majority social. High proportion of: unemployment, disfunctional families, poverty, crime, particularly drug-related, Mental health issues are higher than the national average. Group ranges from a high earning, professional background to those just surviving on benefits.. It ranges from average motivation to highly motivated; from emerging leaders to rather shy students; from high academic achievement to under achievement in four or more areas of the curriculum. At least 10 are from families where there is now only one parent or parent and one newer partner. Attendance is unsatisfactory in 10 cases. Develop further leadership skills, self belief, self-confidence, reliability, responsibility for others and self. We want them to rise to a challenge and work as a team. Overall, to raise aspirations to improve quality of future life chances. Students will be encouraged to remain as a cohesive unit within school so that they can act as role models, showing the ‘dream’ in their behaviour and attitude. OB will develop this. To be known around the school as the Outward Bound group – giving them higher status around the school and being seen as something to aim for by their younger peers.
School 5 – The school is in an extremely deprived area. Unemployment is high and significant numbers of families are in poverty. Crime is high and aspirations are low. Many of our students are from single parent families and often act as carers to younger siblings. Many lack the ability or confidence to interact socially with others. Motivation to improve their lot in life is low, few attend higher educational establishments and often lack parental support for activities outside of school. There are few opportunities for the type of activity offered by Outward Bound and very few families spend time in the ‘countryside’. Confidence in meeting new people and speaking in public is not developed and opportunities are few. Team building and problem solving are now key to our curriculum development in lower school. These students however, have missed the new developments and need to be given the opportunity to raise self esteem and gain more ‘life skills’. These students were picked following consultation with form tutors, PE staff and other pastoral staff. They are students who have the potential to lead and develop confidence in themselves but lack the opportunity. They are also students who would respond positively to challenge and a variety of difficult situations. This is the fourth year we have sent students on this course and we have noticed a change in attitude in the previous participants. They return with a more focussed attitude to studying, more confidence to express their opinion and take risks when dealing with problems. Students are more aware of their responsibilities as part of a group or community and have more confidence and raised self-esteem.
NB- So as you can see the Mentor program is really important, the more money we raise the more young people we will be helping; all the money raised goes to the Outward Bound bursary fund to help other disadvantaged young people. it makes my challenge even more important to raise as much as I can. Please visit my just giving page if you would like to support me
Next stage now is the long-awaited day where all the mentors get to meet each other for out training day,