Firstly may I thank you for inviting me (again)! (TAS 2015 Awards’Evening) I have to say that, hand on heart, I found the evening to be a bit of a humbling experience for me personally. Irrespective of how some of these young people end up at TAS instead of mainstream school it really struck home that, apart from the exam accreditations and DoE stuff etc, the self-esteem and confidence you instil in them is immeasurable as they move on into adult life. I don't think this aspect can be understated when you think of some of their background history and self-worth prior to entering your provision.
It is very apparent that the time, effort and individualised curriculum applied to these young people can indeed be time well spent. They were all a credit to you. I also felt that there was a distinct overall 'feel good' factor around the place that emanated from a very compact and very well motivated 'team'.
It is refreshing in the current climate that there are people like yourselves who actually do care about the outcomes for some of our most vulnerable children and do something about it rather than mjust talking about it (like me)!
Yours, truly humbled,
John C Thompson Area Pupil Access Officer - East
The Burnley and Pendle Youth Offending Team has worked alongside staff at The Alternative School (TAS) over a number of years through our mutual involvement with young people on roll at TAS and accessing Youth Justice Services. Our experience of working alongside TAS has always been very positive.
From our perspective, they have worked very successfully to engage young people who have a range of complex needs in their lives which may have previously prevented them from accessing and maintaining sustained levels of engagement in traditional education settings. In our experience of dealing with the school, members of staff have always been professional and approachable, and appear to present their work to students in a manner which young people appear to both relate to and enjoy. It is the YOT's view that TAS offer the students they serve and indeed the wider community, a specialist education service for the most difficult-to-reach young people, without which their live chances would be yet more limited than is sadly often already the case.
Burnley & Pendle YOT
Education Welfare Representative
Burnley & Pendle YOT
Commentary on TAS – 24 March 2014 – Ken Mitchell, Young People's Service
I have witnessed the birth of The Alternative School (TAS) and observed its development over the years. It started and has continued with dedicated, caring staff working with a group of young people who, for one reason or another, don't fit into the main stream educational schools. Over the years I have worked with young people in various schools and found that the schools have been unable to manage some of the young people or a young person has been unable to manage the school environment. TAS, however, has proved to be more suitable for many of these young people. There are examples of improved attendance and behaviour and there are many pupils who have achieved qualifications who clearly wouldn't have gained any had they remained attempting to attend the main stream school. The approach of the staff at TAS seems to be more empathic and person centred, offering a more nurturing space where the pupils feel cared for and valued in a more intimate, smaller group. The staff there work really hard and show patience and flexibility which tailors more to many of the young people.
TAS works closely with other agencies to create a wrap-around service for each individual and offers support in areas of personal and social development which may go beyond educational learning. In short TAS is a necessary safety net which catches marginalised young people and offers them an alternative education.
Kirsty who leads the Alternative School is someone who I would recommend highly as she is a visionary and is able to develop innovative and creative/bespoke packages of education for those hard to reach children who have many complex needs.
My organisation Perpetual Care continues to be supported by Kirsty and her team at TAS and the feedback is excellent.
Tahir Khan - Founder & CEO Squidmint
Kirsty-Anne does some amazing work as the founder and head of The Alternative School (TAS). The range and balance of curriculum she has developed there means that pupils who attend often turn their lives and their futures completely around. Kirsty-Anne's ability to see past the obvious and not to settle for an "at least their doing something" approach means she sees the potential in each of the kids that she works with and steers them towards wanting to push their own boundaries, letting them understand that their futures are in their own hands.
I would thouroghly reccommend the tireless work of Kirsty-Anne and the fantastic staff she inspires to follow her lead.
Sean Hurley - Founder at Perspectives 100