Our students travel every morning from across the county and beyond. We have a diverse group of young people with a range of aspirations and a variety of histories. Nonetheless there is a real sense of community between them and, indeed, between the students and the staff and volunteers who are here to support them. The students are united by the fact that they have had significant struggles in the past but are now in a place where they feel safe and are beginning to feel stronger, happier and more successful.
All our students are provided with the highest level of personal support so that they can recover sufficiently and be confident enough to return to school or go on to college or into the workplace. The Centres have high staff to student ratios (typically 1:2) and a small group of students (up to 15 or 16 students at a time). This allows each child to be treated according to their needs.
Each student has a bespoke timetable, sometimes working in one-to-one lessons and other times as part of a group. On any one day some of our students can be seen cooking, learning to play the piano, re-enacting Macbeth, dissecting lambs’ hearts, conjugating verbs and grappling with quadratic equations! Recently a student could be seen travelling from room to room undertaking a survey about what we believe happens after death, another was getting ready for a visit to a historic building, a third was about to have his weekly therapy session, several were preparing for the ‘speaking and listening’ component of their English GCSE.
The curriculum at RB includes academic subjects, such as English, maths, science, French and so on, practical subjects like woodwork and cookery, creative subjects – including music, art, drama, dance - and personal and social education as well – boys’ and girls’ groups, circle time, ethics and citizenship among other things. Broadly speaking, academic work takes up about 60% of the timetable. The other activities come under the broad heading of ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’.
Severe bullying affects children and young people in many different ways. They can feel silenced, angry, resentful, unconfident, worthless, guilty, anxious, panicked. The Knowing Me, Knowing You (KMKY) part of the RB programme aims to teach our students to recognise their own emotions as well as to understand those of others, and to act and respond appropriately. Being a member of the RB community, participating in activities with the others – eating lunch together, playing rounders and basketball, taking a dog for a walk with a fellow student, watching a film together with a couple of others – all these and many more activities in the informal curriculum help to build students’ self-confidence as well as their ability to respond appropriately to a variety of social situations.