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Learning Enrichment Centre Update July 2016

Learning Enrichment Centre Update July 2016

It’s been another varied and exciting year here at Learning Enrichment Centre with notable developments in our Tribe environmental education programme, the addition of the much loved Mr. Collins to the team and another set of impressive results from our students.
Literacy Results
Our students continue to work hard and have achieved another impressive set of literacy results: in 9 months, our Y7 students have gained on average 20 months progress in their reading ages. Our Y8s, who have now been with us for 21 months having gained on average 30 months progress in their reading ages. On average, the Y7 students are on track to achieve their targets and Y8 to exceed them! This year, the more experienced Y8 readers have been set the challenge of working in reading partnerships to read longer novels together with 6 of these students reading over 500,000 words this year. The students who have worked the hardest have made the biggest gains and are now reading novels such as Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and Louis Sachar’s Holes. Without a doubt, we have found this year that the students that have made the most progress are also the students that regularly read with their parents at home, with several parents feeding back to us how the programme has boosted their own confidence with reading.
Tribe
Our Tribe environmental education programme, developed across the past two years together with social and education enterprise, Embercombe, has gone from strength to strength this year. We introduced a mentoring scheme, allowing our more experienced Y8 students to mentor a Y7 student, sharing their experiences and supporting the younger students to reflect on their own development. This culminated in one of two annual residential trips to Embercombe, where Y8s stayed on for a day to welcome the Y7s for their first ever overnight stay. The Y8 students each planned a guided tour of the 50 acre site, helped Y7 students settle into the yurts where they sleep and taught them how to safely use the wood burners to keep them warm through the early spring nights.
Later in the year, Y7 returned for their full week-long residential and new members of the Embercombe team brought new experiences to the programme, adding Mindfulness and meeting the animals to an already full programme of bench-making, cooking for the community and skinning rabbits (optional!). Our usual fireside hot chocolates in the evenings were enriched with singing, storytelling and even a magic show! And after a week of blistering sunshine, the Thursday evening sleep out in the special stone circle was rudely interrupted with an unexpected downpour in the small hours leading to a very damp mass exodus back to the yurts…complete with an experience to cherish and retell for ever more.
The Y8 residential, though shorter, was possibly the most remarkable in that it offered a truly impressive demonstration of how these young people have developed over the past two years. A large part of the Tribe programme is developing emotional literacy with these students: their ability to understand themselves, regulate their responses, nurture the motivation and resilience to achieve their potential and development meaningful relationships with themselves, others and the land. We work closely with the Embercombe education team to design bespoke experiences for these students according to their individual and group needs. No two residentials are the same, something which makes working with Embercombe particularly unique. The decided focus for this group was being able to stick with and complete a task, learn to work effectively with a range of people and start to self-organise and manage rather than relying on adults. And they more than rose to the challenge!
At the start of their two day stay in June, they were faced with a mass of overgrown brambles, weeds and debris and promised that beneath that mass lay long-buried wooden planks and logs that desperately needed releasing and organising. This was a genuine job, required by the Embercombe community, and Y8 Tribe were the team to get the job done. They worked their socks off! The job was completed and more besides, including a successful second day when the adults announced they were now under the guidance of the young people.
All in all, it’s been another fantastic year engaging with the team at Embercombe but crucially, the programme doesn’t end there. Also this year, the LEC and Learning Environment students have all been involved in a two-day Groundforce-style makeover of two green spaces across the college grounds. The space outside of history was co-designed in consultation with the whole of the Y7 and the space behind science in consultation with teachers, with the aim of creating a fit-for-purpose learning space to allow more teachers to take students to learn outdoors.
Mr Collins
With a reputation for gifting each and every one of his students with a fancy nickname and a penchant for freestyle rapping with anybody and everybody, Mr. Collins has made quite the mark in Team LEC. He has an almost unrivalled commitment to his students, devoting hours of his own time to support them in both their literacy needs and beyond. When asked what they thought of Mr. C, three students said: “He’s a legend!” “He’s the best!” and “He’s awesome!” A truly fantastic addition to the team.