Praise for alternative education provision after national award recognition

Praise for alternative education provision after national award recognition

A St Helens Borough Council-run education unit which provides support for pupils with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties is celebrating after receiving national recognition for the work it does to promote positive outcomes for all children that attend.

St Helens Primary Pupil Referral Unit (PACE) in Derbyshire Hill Road, Parr, recently completed the National Nurturing Schools Programme which looks to develop and embed a nurturing culture in a whole-school environment, focusing on emotional needs and development, alongside academic learning.  

The programme is for schools committed to developing an ethos and inclusive culture based around six key principles:  

  • Children’s learning is understood developmentally  
  • The classroom offers a safe base   
  • The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing   
  • Language is a vital means of communication   
  • All behaviour is communication   
  • The importance of transition in children’s lives   

Writing in a glowing assessment report to recommend PACE for the award, assessor, Claire Wilson noted examples of excellent practice, including:  

  • Pupils feeling safe and secure 
  • Staff showing a drive and commitment to support colleagues and pupils 
  • Parent interviews showed an obvious positive impact for pupils and their families 
  • Pupils from PACE carrying out community voluntary work with local charity, Teardrops, to support homeless people in St Helens. 

Speaking of his pride, Stuart Toole, Teacher in Charge at PACE, said:  

“All the staff at PACE work tirelessly to help pupils fully re-engage with their learning journey, develop vitally important social skills, while also learning how to recognise, and embrace their emotions.  Over the past two years, Donna Norton and Analise Parkins did a wonderful job of leading the staff throughout this award which is recognition of the dedication and commitment of everyone at PACE to ensure the best outcomes for the pupils who attend.” 

Congratulating staff and pupils on a recent visit, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, Councillor Kate Groucutt, who represents the Parr ward, said: 

“It was a pleasure to come down to PACE to meet staff and pupils to hear about the fantastic work that has gone into achieve this well-deserved award, particularly during the difficult circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. All children deserve our support to fulfil their potential and PACE plays a vital role in the journey of some young people who need extra help to continue their education in mainstream schools.”

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