The Edge Academy is an Alternative Provision serving young people aged 11-16 that has been on an incredible journey. In 2018 Ofsted deemed it to require ‘special measures’. The hard-working staff of 21 have worked incredibly hard to revolutionise the AP and have helped their students to flourish. The most recent Ofsted inspection (summer 2021) rated the school as ‘good’. Furthermore, it has had to expand due to being so popular. It remains heavily oversubscribed.
The Edge provides a sanctuary for children to re-build themselves and re-set. The culture that has been carefully grown is powerful. It offers the safety, security and care children need to recognise their worth and grow. Every member of the team gives their all and recognises the contribution they make to transforming lives.
This culture at the Edge Academy is based on the principles of, firstly Pivotal Education, and then When The Adults Change. The Vice-Principal is a real advocate of the impact of relational practice and the removal of outdated, ineffective and inhumane sanctions and practices of the masses. He was able to bring the school principal, staff and governors on board with the approach, and they have entertained the, often seemingly counter-intuitive, suggestions for managing the changing and challenging life of the AP.
In 2022-2023 the school worked to expand its innovative short-stay CONNECT programme for students in key stage 3. CONNECT at The Edge is a behaviour-focused nurture programme with a blended approach of academic support. The emphasis is placed on therapeutic and relational principles for the social and emotional development of the young person. With the intention of developing young people to successfully connect and engage with positive learning experiences, The CONNECT programme is a carefully constructed package with individual student pre-visits to the young person’s commissioning school by Edge staff, followed by 8 weeks of Edge-based provision and then tailored after-care support once reintegrated back to the young person’s commissioning school.
Students want to attend the Edge Academy. Attendance is the highest it has been since pre-pandemic times, bucking national trends. The AP is achieving many successful returns to mainstream schools for its learners. Pupils are able to flourish and succeed in school and all secure career progression in further and higher education when they leave.
Some quotes sum up the great work that the Edge Academy is doing:
“Relationships are the cornerstone of the ethos underpinning all of the work within the school”. – Colin Turner, Grey Gull Education Consultancy
“The vulnerabilities of the students we have referred to The Edge, unsurprisingly, require greater care, patience and tenacity to support them and staff at The Edge always demonstrate this. They understand their students, their needs and work with them to build resilience, overcome the challenges they face, help them to grow their own self-belief and view of the world whilst harnessing their potential” – Pete Davis, Deputy Headteacher and Designated Safeguarding Lead
“The setting adopts a relational approach to supporting young people based on the principles of trauma-informed and attachment-aware practice, this approach is clear throughout every element of school life. Staff take time to understand and connect with young people, developing the young people’s sense of belonging and safety to get them ready for learning and adulthood” – Katie Kemp, Educational Psychologist, Birmingham CC
“Every child who crosses the threshold is greeted with warmth, kindness and respect. The school culture is carefully curated by leaders. Huge investment is made in staff through training to develop their expertise in building attachments and managing risks around the children. Slowly but surely students are able to build respectful relationships with staff and over time they flourish. I have been witness to multiple student transformations which have been made possible through ongoing support and care. The support and care students receive is tailored to their needs” – Jayne Lowe OBE, DfE advisor and Bright Green Learning.