I started coming here coz I got kicked out of school. Then I used to run away from school and then get into loads of trouble.
The SmartFoundation “Kickin’ Off” video explores the benefits, both for the kids and the organisations referring them, of what has been described as “positive, diversionary and preventive activities”. SmartFoundation is a focal point for that work.
To try and teach them,sort of responsibility for their actions is the main one that’s my aim: if I can teach them. you know , “if I do A then B will happen and the consequence of that will be C and I don’t like that idea”, then hopefully they won’t do it…
This is not treats for naughty boys, this is real, proper, esteem building activity, that we have seen significant numbers of young people that so far haven’t achieved anything within the Youth Offending arena. We have seen them really start moving forward in terms of their own personal development…
We’re not about getting on their backs and telling them you can’t do this, you can’t do that… we’re about telling them why they shouldn’t. So like all the codes we have for the work in the workshop – health and safety because you will get hurt, not because the law says so, because these kids aren’t going to understand it from that point-of-view.
I guess that most pupils that are in this programme and other similar programmes would be excluded from school because their behaviour would be unacceptable in a school context and so we would have figures back to twice national figures if we did that.
I come here because I’d been kicked out of school. If I wouldn’t have come here, I’d have had no qualifications – nothing to be in a job (with).
I’ve messed my life up this is my last chance, because there’s nowhere after this if I mess this up. I won’t get a job in what I want to do – college won’t accept me.
It helped me because I used to always get into trouble, and now I’ve came, I’ve got…I’ve learned a lot about engines, mechanical stuff and to use bikes properly.
Because they are given the room to have a little bit of time to themselves and then come back to their studies their attention span gradually increases and as that increases, so does their attendance level…the kids then start to realise what they need to do for themselves.
The scheme is motivating for young people. The theme of motorcycles attracts their attention…they want to come on the programme, and, of course, they enjoy what they do here – the way that they are treated is a little bit different to schools.
As a result of the scheme we’ve seen kids whose behaviour has improved, who have wanted to start going back into main stream education, and we’ve seen kids who actually want to attend this scheme whereas previously they wouldn’t have been able to get a proper routine, a proper schedule to their life.
The feedback so far from the schools involved is that the pupils attend school much better. Attendance rates have gone up by up to 10% in some cases and also that the exclusion rates have fallen significantly.
Crucially, the scheme itself enables all of the agencies to work together effectively….we are one of the agencies that we think has gained most from it, and what’s really pleasing is the level of partnership working that goes on within the scheme.
Without the scheme we’d be struggling at the moment in terms of finding positive, diversionary and preventive activities, and what we have through this scheme is a focal point for that diversion and preventative work.
There are definite links between excluded pupils and social problems such as theft, such as burglaries. The prison population is related quite strongly to those excluded from schools.
Fact is ‘arf the kids ‘ave been told they’re useless or they’re no good or they’re scum all their lives, so they going to start believing it.
Often the problem is that they don’t relate to the way schools treat them, and the way that they are treated here is a much more adult-friendly kind of way.
I started off in a mainstream school and because of my behaviour I got moved into a special school for children with behavioural problems. And I used to come here, with them to do the motorbiking.
Well I got expelled from my schools and I like coming here because of the motorbikes, you get to take cars to bits and just work on computers and stuff like that.
We’ve done quite a lot of things about maths and education which you get here included as well as riding and stuff like mechanical work so you get education as well – its like two in one basically.