Starting Out – Creating a co-ordinated approach to UASC’s access to education in Portsmouth
In June 2017, EAL Portsmouth began delivering a programme for UASC in Portsmouth, creating a series of eight roll-on, roll-off English language sessions for those young people awaiting permanent school or college placements in the city and beyond. In March 2018, the Starting Out course came to government attention and secured DfE funding, over 2 years, to develop the Starting Out project still further, one of only eight projects nationally. Although acquisition of English is the driver, the primary objective of Starting Out is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for the young people to ‘find their feet’, socialise and settle positively into the UK.
The funding also included capacity for a dedicated UAM Education Keyworker from the Virtual School and a specialist trauma nurse. From October, we will be delivering a weekly Starting Out ‘Hub’ – a central teaching and meeting place that will enable the UASC’s Social Worker, Education Keyworker and the trauma nurse to make contact with the young people in a single location, with our Bilingual Learning Assistants on-hand to interpret and support wherever necessary. Community partners, such as the British Red Cross and Portsmouth F.C., are extending the provision offer still further.
Alongside the weekly sessions, EAL Portsmouth are developing a suite of Starting Out teaching and learning materials that will include the eight Starting Out sessions (plus additional homework), toolkits and training for both Social Workers and foster carers and assessment materials and toolkits for schools. This multi-pronged approach will improve the young people’s access to education, create a co-ordinated approach across the Council and ensure that the UASCs settle and engage with education as quickly as possible.