Alternative means different. Could be a challenge? Exciting even! Alternatives are there to be explored, so if you work in the education sector and are thinking “Where now?”…..We are The Alternative.
We believe with the right focus, creativity and expertise from the professionals in our schools, we can turn lives around. Here are some of our stories….
Hi. I’m David and I’m part of the Blended Learning team. I’ve been with APC for seven and a half years – firstly as a teacher in one of our primary centres and latterly as part of Blended Learning. Prior to this, I worked in several mainstream secondary schools over many years. I found my way into alternative provision by being interested in working with children in mainstream schools who didn’t quite fit into the demands and routines of them. I found myself becoming increasingly motivated to help those marginalised children whilst becoming less motivated by the vast majority who were able to get on ‘as normal’. Consequently, I found myself working with children who had all kinds of issues who just were just finding it too hard to succeed in school, day by day. I considered moving into alternative provision but, at first, it felt like a huge step away from everything I knew well and had known well for years and a huge step into the unknown. But then, at one point, it suddenly felt like the right thing to do and I applied for the job at APC. Yes, it was different; yes, it was challenging; yes, there were times early on when I questioned my decision but ultimately it was the best work-related decision I have made and I’m still here all these years later as testament to that. We help children and young people whose mental or physical health means they can’t attend their usual mainstream school. They have all manner of issues and all manner of abilities and what I enjoy is helping them progress and, moreover, helping them to feel they are succeeding in whatever way that is meaningful to them. This is a reward in itself but I also feel fortunate that I work with a thoroughly professional and compassionate team who obviously share the same ideals as me.
Donna- Finance Manager
I have worked for WSAPC for five years within the business support team, and I’m proud to be part of the school and its values. We all have the pupils’ best interests at the heart of everything we do, and work hard to secure great outcomes for them. As support staff our jobs are always evolving and our days are varied, busy, challenging and of course integral to the efficient running of all of our centres. I love the fact that we have a great team network who are always willing to help and support each other.
Hi, I’m Fran and I teach Art and Design Technology at Burgess Hill APC. I have worked here for nine years and now cannot imagine ever returning to work in a mainstream school. No day, week or year are ever the same in alternative provision. The students keep you on your toes and push you to constantly find new ways to motivate and inspire them and no matter what happens, each day is a fresh start. The smaller class sizes give you flexibility and allow you to differentiate and individualise tasks easily, whilst also helping build really positive relationships with students who often arrive at APC disengaged and untrusting of the education system. I love the challenge of a student arriving and telling me that they, “Hate Art”. However, it is often unexpected progress, unrelated to your subject area that make the job so worthwhile; for example teaching a 15-year-old to tie their shoelaces independently. Whatever challenges the day throws at you the amazing staff team are always there to make you smile and offer support.
‘Hi, I’m Liz and I am part of the Blended Learning team. I’ve worked for APC for 7 years, having come from teaching in mainstream in London. The Blended Learning team work with children and young people who are unable to attend school for medical reasons. I spend each day teaching pupils in their home or at the local library. I love working one-to-one with pupils as it gives me the flexibility to adapt my teaching and the curriculum to meet their specific needs. It is very rewarding to see pupils who have struggled to engage in education, due to mental or physical health, grow in confidence and begin to believe that education is something they can succeed at. I am constantly inspired by the resilience shown by many of my pupils who face difficult medical treatment daily and yet continue to engage in learning. It can be challenging to teach such a range of age groups within one day but I enjoy the variety each day brings and it has certainly expanded my teaching skills! There are a range of subject teachers within the team and we support each other with lesson plans and advice.
Marion- Higher Level Teaching Assistant
After being in mainstream education for 6 months I realised that too many young people were not getting the support they needed to achieve their potential. A position became available at the now WSAPC and fortunately I was successful. 10 years on and I am still loving every aspect of my job role. Working with a dedicated and committed team and making a difference to vulnerable, challenging young adults in a social, emotional and academic setting gives a positive and satisfying working environment. The sense of achievement you get working at WSAPC is second to none.
Hello, I’m Matt and I’m a teacher and mentor for the Blended Learning team at APC. Blended Learning work with children and young people who are unable to attend school for medical reasons. I joined APC in 2015, having worked in mainstream education as a History teacher. The difference between working at APC compared to a mainstream school has been huge – APC feels like a large but close-knit community, where it genuinely feels like everyone is ‘in it together’, to coin a topical phrase. The SLT are very supportive, but also allow you to make your own professional judgements and use your own initiative when it comes to planning for and teaching your students. This has made teaching at APC an extremely exciting and enjoyable experience, which is further enhanced by the support and encouragement you get from colleagues across the APC family.