Motivating the educationally disengaged

NEWA - Outward BoundOrmiston NEW Academy have implemented developmental strategy for the students, in which the ‘Educationally Disengaged Students’ course has allowed the academy to target a group of students whose attitude towards school was going down a negative pathway. This has allowed students the opportunity to stand still, reflect and begin to change their behaviours in a positive way. The project has been subsidised by the Outward Bound Trust, and the remainder of the course cost was covered by the academy.

In total, eight students were involved and selected based upon their lack of engagement in academy life. The criteria looked at achievement, attendance, behaviour for learning and social skills. All students selected were at risk of exclusion.

Students were given the mantra ‘thrive don’t survive’ for the week away, and whilst the rest of the country stayed indoors during the ‘Beast from the East’, the students did hill trekking, canoeing and a two-night expedition in the Ullswater area of the Lake District. During this time, they were given strategies to improve communication, teamwork and attitude, as well as reflecting on the pathway they were choosing and how they could work towards making positive changes.

Katie Clarke, a teacher at Ormiston NEW Academy, said:

"The Outward Bound experience had a positive impact on the students: during the week they developed resilience, self-management, team working and communication skills. On a deeper level the students were encouraged to reflect on their more negative behaviour traits and consider the impact that was having on them."

Students have said:

"I found working in a team really hard and relying on other people to help me out. I feel much better at this though now.

"Being on this course allowed me some time away from my friends to let me think about who I want to be. I’ve got some ideas now about how I can stop myself getting involved in silly behaviour at school and at home."