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Every life tells a story

January February March 2010

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Every life tells a story

Jessica-Jayne’s story

Jessica-Jayne attends one of our learning centres, where we run an alternative education programme, STEPS Under 16s.

At school, she was rebellious and often in trouble, caught up in a negative circle of bad behaviour and negative attitudes, punishment and criticism. She says she hated school for as long as she can remember, constantly clashed with teachers, got bored in class, was cheeky and disruptive and started “bunking off” lessons soon after she started in secondary education.

She was facing permanent exclusion when she was offered a place on the STEPS programme. She has responded positively to the smaller setting of STEPS. There is a more informal atmosphere than at a conventional school, but the young people are given firm boundaries and set clear goals. The emphasis is on encouragement and raising aspirations.

“You have a bit more independence here about how you do your work but the staff expect us to achieve at least two challenges a day,” says Jessica, who looks back now and says she can see a teacher’s point of view.

“I know it’s hard being a teacher and I made it harder! I think I have changed. Being at STEPS has helped me very much,” she says. “It’s like a second home, where you can tell the staff anything and they always have time to listen. I have learnt that is not only you in the world, so if you help someone they will help you.”

Jessica would love to be a veterinary nurse, although she says: “I’m not sure I’m brainy enough."

During her time so far at STEPS she has done well, learning about a broad range of topics and she is on course to achieve the equivalent of at least three GCSEs to help her achieve a place at college.

Find out more

Working with young people at STEPS

Our work - a summary

“I have learnt that it is not only you in the world, so if you help someone they will help you.”

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