12 April 2017
I am the Executive Principal of the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust, the vehicle for Catch22’s sponsorship of academies which focus on learners who can benefit from small, supportive alternative education provision. As we prepare to launch five additional academies across the UK in the next year, it’s important to reflect on why we’re on this journey and what we believe sets us apart.
The need and opportunity for alternative education has grown significantly over the last decade, as we understand more about young people’s behaviour and how to help them achieve their potential. Catch22 launched the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust in 2014, an approved Academy Sponsor which focuses on students who can benefit from much more targeted alternative education provision, built on the foundation of small class sizes and strong relationships. We became the sponsor of our first academy, The Ashwood Academy in Hampshire, in September 2014.
I started my teaching career in 1993 and worked in a variety of different roles within mainstream schools including head of year, assistant head teacher, and most recently deputy head teacher for behaviour and attendance. I became the head teacher at what was then called The Ashwood Education Centre in April 2013. I took on the role because I wanted to have a tangible impact on the lives of young people – the tailored and supportive environments and 1:1 support of alternative provision meant that I worked with less young people but the impact was far greater.
For far too long, alternative provision has been the forgotten cousin of education. Children were assigned to alternative provision – and they stayed there. They were often not challenged academically. They often weren’t able to access the social, emotional and mental health support that they needed. No one expected them to achieve, and so often they didn’t.
We were determined to change that wherever we could.
We’re building our schools to challenge, support, inspire. And we expect our young people to fulfill their potential.
We’re committed to making sure we’re not just doing more, but that we’re doing it better too. Supported by Impteus-PEF, we’ve reviewed our work, analysing our strengths and areas for improvement and building on what we do well to paint the picture of what alternative education could, and should, look like. This review made up our Blueprint– our codified service delivery model focusing on high quality relationships with learners, whilst ensuring a strong academic base and behaviour management. We plan to replicate this approach across our sites and use it to provide a means of assessing effectiveness of delivery and outcomes and a focus on academic progress, behavioural progress, and sustained transition.
A Catch22 Academy provides young people aged four to 18-years-old with specialist education, through both alternative and Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) provision. The Catch22 Multi Academies Trust draws on the expertise, national networks and support of social business and charity Catch22, drawing in deep expertise in key areas such as substance misuse, risky behaviour, family support, youth justice and employment pathways. We support students excluded from mainstream education to achieve their potential, progress quickly and to succeed in sustained education or employment.
We achieve this by creating an environment where students are able to learn. We exist to deliver education where everyone is able to achieve their potential, no matter what their background. Our high quality teaching and learning is focused on building effective relationships, enabling the students to build social skills and achieve meaningful qualifications.
This comes down to what underpins all of our work: the 3Ps. Our relationship based approach means that we take the time to understand the potential of each student and support them to achieve their purpose. We provide a safe and supportive learning environment, giving our students a place that enables them to overcome their barriers to learning and thrive. We build supportive networks of people around individuals; we recruit and support the best teachers and support to ensure that our students get an outstanding experience.
Join us on our journey
I’m writing this in April, and we’re just celebrating the successful launch of our new academies in Torquay and Paington. With five academies opening this year across the UK we are looking for the people that will work with us to unlock the learning potential of young people and make a real and lasting difference to their future. It’s our belief that every young person has the capacity to learn, regardless of their individual life situation. Over the last 18 months, we’ve built an impressive reputation in the alternative education field and our new academies opening across the UK are poised to enhance this reputation.
With up to 75 secondary pupils and a maximum of just eight per class, our aim will be to re-engage excluded, often marginalised young people in a nurturing environment so they can enjoy opportunities to progress into employment and further education.
While prioritising academic attainment, you’ll also provide the behaviour management and therapeutic support to achieve these outcomes. It means focusing on the progression that each young person makes in terms of changes to their behaviour, their ability to engage in the community and their capacity to live an independent life through employment and further education.
Above all, however, you’ll be passionate about achieving positive outcomes for pupils who have been unable to sustain a place in mainstream education.
Be a part of the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust team
So where do you come in? We are recruiting for paid and voluntary roles in Torbay (Paignton and Torquay), Northamptonshire (Northampton), Suffolk (Carlton Colville), and Norfolk (Kings Lynn).
Explore our current vacancies or for an informal discussion about these roles, please email me at or or give me a call on 07971 483571.
- Visit the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust website
- Follow Catch22 on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook
- Contact the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust team
- Apply for a Catch22 Multi Academies Trust voluntary Governor role