Mainstream education isn’t necessarily right for everyone all of the time. There can be a variety of reasons why a young person finds traditional classroom learning challenging, just like there can be a whole range of solutions.
Shine Learning & Training Centre CIC aims to make a difference to the lives of students who find it difficult to settle into regular school life – whether that’s a few weeks of re-adjustment, or months of support and encouragement.
Either way, the aim is to eventually see a student return to the school environment with a new confidence and motivation to do well. Until that happens, the support of the staff at Shine remains in place.
Shine Learning & Training Centre CIC is a registered not-for-profit Community Interest Company founded in Luton by Marielle Jewels, who has been working with children and young people for more than 20 years, specialising in emotional wellbeing and safeguarding of those who had faced adversity, turbulence and abuse.
She said: “I wanted to make a different to the life outcomes of students who found mainstream education challenging. The one size fits all rule doesn’t always apply and I wanted to offer a good-quality alternative that offered a home-from-home approach but focused on mentoring and prevention work whilst ensuring academic needs were met and celebrated.”
Students aged between 11 and 16 are referred to Shine from schools where it is felt their needs are not able to be met. Many of those supported by Shine are disruptive in the classroom environment, sometimes due to difficulties at home or away from school, and often exacerbated by a number of other factors, such as additional needs like autism or dyslexia that make working in a classroom environment difficult.
Shine Learning & Training Centre CIC offers a curriculum that is designed to develop skills for life. English is taught at Functional Skills and GCSE level, alongside Maths, Humanities, PHSE, Health and Social Care and Children’s and Young People’s Settings courses, as well as Business and Enterprise courses and PE. There is also a wide range of prevention and intervention programmes including anger management, knife crime and gang awareness.
Learning is tailored to help build social skills and self-esteem, helping those who are vulnerable or socially disadvantaged access skill-based learning based on setting SMART targets and short-term rewards.
Marielle added: “The young people who come to us are often at risk of exploitation or developing damaging behaviours because of some family breakdown or change in circumstances. Some may already be young offenders or suffer poor mental health and wellbeing, or have anger issues they need to deal with.
“All students who attend Shine will be assigned a mentor because we think it is important to allow the student to build trusting relationships and have a safe place to talk. Mentoring is also a time when students can set themselves SMART targets and get support in reaching their goals.
“The aim is to provide a child-centred, solution-focused approach that helps develop life skills but in a way that allows students to be part of the decisions that involves them. Whether they are with us for six weeks or six months, or even longer, we look to raise their aspirations, build confidence, social skills and self-worth to hopefully get them to the stage when they feel able to go back into a mainstream education environment and fulfil their true potential.”
Throughout the process, Shine Learning & Training Centre CIC maintains communication and positive relationships with students’ parents or guardians, understanding that it can be a stressful and worrying time for all concerned. Regular review meetings monitor progress until, by working together, the student is back on track and ready for the right educational setting for them.
One student from Shine Learning & Training Centre said: “Shine has a calm and relaxing environment. I prefer Shine because the student numbers are smaller. The teachers at Shine are trustworthy and respectful towards all students. The staff here have worked with me since December 2019 to get my behaviour sorted. All staff have worked individually with me. Shine has helped me with mentoring sessions and gave me advice on how to address a situation calmly and in the right way.”
In addition, Shine also helps other professionals, parents and carers who want to improve their knowledge and skills, including chance to increase their own social or emotional development in a strong, safe and non-judgemental learning environment.
The centre has remained open during lockdown, providing face-to-face learning where appropriate, but online teaching is available to those where it is advisable or preferable to remain at home.
Marielle said: “We believe that everyone has a light to ‘Shine’ and with support we can help our students realise this. With firm boundaries, high expectations, the right support and good behaviour models, we can give them the best opportunities to succeed and direct them onto the road to self-fulfilment and recognition of their true potential.”
For more information, contact Shine Learning & Training Centre CIC on 01582 727999 or visit www.shineltc.com