Charlie’s story

Swingbridge

THE STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE

Charlie learns how to crew on a training day on our Swingbridge boat


From disaffected teenager to a motivated young man, Charlie has already come a long way since he joined our STEPS to 16 programme at our learning centre in Woking last October.

Charlie , who is 15, joined the STEPS to 16 programme following a prolonged period excluded from school because of his behaviour.  The programme provides education with a difference for young people whose chances in life are limited by their lack of success in school.

Hands-on activities such as baking, landscaping and graffiti art complement  tuition in maths and English, as the students work towards obtaining nationally recognised qualifications to help them move onto college, an apprenticeship or employment.  Personalised learning programmes are augmented by mentoring and counselling to further support the students.

Charlie explains how he has benefitted from the STEPS to 16 programme.

“I was always in trouble for fighting and being disruptive at school. Classes were large and I was easily distracted. But I know kids who dropped out of school and ended up on drugs and I didn’t want to be like them so I joined STEPS.  I’m not good all of the time but most days I work really hard – much harder than I ever did at school and now I want to train at Merrist Wood as a landscape gardener.”