Over the past 2 years we have changed the focus of Hope Training to meet the needs of vulnerable young people who are not able to engage with education because of anxiety, low self esteem and low confidence. We have had successes in doing this in situations where we’ve been able to work over long periods with young people aged 14-16, building resilience and confidence and supporting them to be better equipped to learn in mainstream environments.
Sadly, this model has not worked so well for younger students, where taking them out of mainstream education has led to them becoming institutionalized at The Door, and made their reintegration more complex. Secondly we have found that schools are not prepared to fund long term placements for students, expecting results within 6-12 weeks.
We recognise that the successful work we’ve done has been more pastoral than educational, and we are at our best in mentoring and developing ‘softer skills’ rather than trying to become more and more school-like. We maintain a vision to serve young people who are ‘school phobic’ or showing signs of becoming ‘school phobic’ but believe we are best placed to do this through our growing Family Support Services, and with an approach which aims to provide early, preventative work within school environments.
This past year has also seen a significant reduction in funding in the Hope Training Department – mainly because of the decreased resources which schools have. The recent election will almost certainly bring more pressure on school’s budgets, and therefore less funding available for alternative education provision. An indication of this is that we currently do not have any students lined up for this September.
The Door’s management committee has therefore decided that the Hope Training Department will close at the end of this current academic year.
Clearly this is a decision that has not been made lightly, and much thought and prayer has gone into it. This means that the current tutors’ roles will be considered for redundancy. The team have shown amazing grace and support towards the decision.
We have all agreed that the final term of this year is an important one – we have 9 students working towards qualifications and who will be leaving us in July, and we want to honour them by helping them achieve their potential.
We’d like to thank all those staff, parents, schools and other organisations who have supported the work of Hope Training over the years.