In 2005, the Local Authority of Barking and Dagenham approached LifeLine to pilot a year 11 education provision for hard-to-place students and school refusers. Over the last 11 years, this provision has gone from strength to strength and has adapted to suit the changing audience. In recent years, 100% of the referrals have been from recent arrivals, either to the borough or to the country.
These recent arrivals require a different programme to the original participants and their parents have different hopes and aspirations. By and large the recent arrivals are economic or education migrants. The parents, in particular, want their children to go to an English university. The students are motivated, and want to study and catch up on the education they may have missed.
At interview parents are often disappointed that there is not time for their son or daughter to sit a full suite of GCSEs. It’s our job to inform them about the opportunity conferred in attending the newly named LifeLine Independent School (formerly known as the LifeLine Institute)
- In less than 10 months, students will have the opportunity to sit up to 3 GCSEs, regardless of the point at which they join during year 11. In mainstream schools, GCSEs usually start in year 9.
- With 3 good GCSEs, students can go on to study a full suite of A-Levels and enter university alongside their peers. In effect, this means that they can catch up on a whole English education system in under 10 months.
- Class sizes of 15 or less mean that lessons can be closely tailored to the needs of the students.
- Each student receives a volunteer mentor who they meet with weekly. The mentor is available to support them as much as they desire beyond GCSEs and into university and a career.
- The use of LifeLine’s award-winning VIP (Vision, Identity and Purpose) framework to support the national curriculum and boost young people’s chances in life and work.
Students are privileged to be given a place with LifeLine and we believe that “With great power comes great responsibility”. In fact, we see LifeLine not so much as an alternative provision, but more as a private school, with small classes and tailored programmes that focus on individual achievement.
In September 2016, the LifeLine Institute was awarded independent school status by the Department of Education. Now renamed the LifeLine Independent School, complete with a school crest and prospectus, our fundamental principles of high expectations, quality education and excellent pastoral care remain at the heart of this progressive provision. Indeed, these are the principles that have propelled us towards independent status in order to contribute to the success of young people within our locality who are unable, for whatever reason, to engage in or access mainstream school.
We expect students to excel not only during their time with us but also way beyond. This expectation is imparted from the very beginning when, at interview, we ask them what they will contribute to the LifeLine community, and we set the expectation by that following the intensive LifeLine programme, they will be leaders and influencers as they move on their next stage of learning.