'Rewarding' 2018 awaits Education Department

Head of Education Anna Pincher talks about the department’s fruitful 2017 and the plans for 2018…

2017 was successful for our Education Department as we continued to work with the more difficult young people in Sandwell, Dudley and Birmingham.

We launched a positive well-being project that works with young people that are struggling with anxiety and stress and we continued our really effective work with looked after children.

I think it's an initiative that will grow and grow.

Young people do struggle with day-to-day life now and if we can give them tools to be able to deal with that I think the project, in partnership with Kaleidoscope, is really exciting.

Now we must look ahead to 2018 and with schools being squeezed financially we need to ensure we are delivering something different and with quality.

We always do what we say we're going to do as we can turn our hand to most things.

My team builds relationships really quickly with young people and school staff.

Our staff are representing the Foundation but also West Bromwich Albion Football Club and I think for young people that's something different.

Schools often come to us having done all they can with their pupils and they send them to us and quite quickly we can turn them around and hopefully support them with anything that they need.

Since September, our alternative provision has seen the largest number of young people come to us in the first term.

I think that shows schools do need support with behaviour, even though they are very good at it.

Sometimes kids do need to come out of school and seek our help, and it works and the schools know that it's working.

I want the staff to be happy and feel like they are making a difference with young people and that they are given the training and support that they need to do what they have to do every day.

I want us to ensure we are working with as many young people as we can and making a difference to them.

A new challenge will also be supporting schools with gang culture.

Members of our team work in prisons, with ex-offenders and people furthest from the job market.

We are now looking at young people that might be susceptible to being pulled into a gang.

We're piloting projects in some schools where we are working with young people that are either on the cusp of getting involved in a gang or are vulnerable to being pulled into that culture.

We will continue the good work we are doing in 2018. It will be rewarding, demanding and enjoyable.

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