Learners who completed the ACT Schools programme celebrated their success at an end of year award ceremony on Friday 11 July along with special guest Vaughan Gething, Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty.
ACT runs two schools: Ocean Park Academy in Cardiff and Brook Park Academy in Caerphilly, both offer an alternative to mainstream education for young people aged 14 upwards who have been excluded or disengaged from school.
Vaughan Gething was proud to be part of the celebrations. He said: “It was a privilege to take part in the day and recognise the success of individual learners. It was especially impressive to see the difference that educational success had made to each of their families. There was real talent and pride on display – I look forward to each of them achieving even greater success in the future.”
All learners from the Class of 2014 received awards, including 16 year olds Conner Welsh from Cardiff and Mia Lloyd from Newbridge.
Connor was awarded Learner of the Year for Ocean Park Academy. After experiencing a difficult time being excluded from school for poor behaviour, Conner often became angry and confrontational with staff. Over the course of the year Connor’s attendance has been 100% and his relationships with staff has gone from strength to strength.
Connor said: “ACT has supported me with my behaviour and helped me become a better person to go into the world.”
Ruth Hanson, ACT Schools Senior Manager said: “Connor has become a positive influence on those around him and is a true example of someone who has turned his life around. He has made a fantastic achievement and will be returning to ACT to study Childcare.
Mia Lloyd was awarded Learner of the Year for Brook Park Academy. Mia had not attended mainstream school since she was in Year 7. Mia started with ACT in September 2013 where she attended part-time and gradually increased her stay to half days, and eventually full days.
Mia said: “ACT gave me the opportunity to get some work experience with the Marketing Team at their head office and I really enjoyed that. Over the year I’ve gained qualifications and increased my confidence.”
Ruth Hanson, ACT Schools Senior Manager said: “Mia had a fantastic 91% attendance rate and has achieved all her Level 1 qualifications. She now feels comfortable to move on to study Art and Design at college.”
ACT’s Managing Director Andrew Cooksley said: “Having left school myself at the age of 15 without any qualifications I am all too aware how difficult it is when you are in a situation where you feel no one believes in you. ACT Schools believe in children that no one else believes in and teaches them how to become successful whether that is progressing onto an Apprenticeship, college or work. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can change their future.”
The ACT curriculum and delivery programme allows every learner to be catered for on an individual basis. Comprising of 3 GCSEs: English Language, Maths and Media that are supported by a choice of 22 Level 1 and 2 vocational qualifications, it is evolving to meet the direction of education in Wales and needs of young people in the community seeking a true alternative to mainstream education.