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
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.