Parents & Carers
Welcome to REACH Alternative Education
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and discuss the ways in which REACH will be here to support your child in their development, and outline what we offer as a service.
Your child has been selected by their school / education provider to access a placement with us. The details of this, including the day(s), times and transport arrangements will be provided by the school. Placements take place during normal school hours and form part of the formal education hours for your child. The school will remain responsible for the overseeing of the education being provided, to which your child will remain on roll at. Attendance/non-attendance at REACH is recorded with the school as part of the normal attendance log.
The approach of REACH is about getting alongside young people, providing acceptance of where they are, then building a relationship that supports them with their steps forward and wider outlook ahead. We are passionate about building the social and emotional development of young people, helping develop resilience, meeting new people, going to new places and trying new things. Our role is not about formal academic education nor reward or punishment. We are here to stand side by side. We want to allow young people to get things wrong in our setting and then work through this with them. We feel this is vital to provide these environments to enable the best supported opportunities available. Therefore, all our staff recruitment, buildings, car environments and settings are built around this approach and ethos. Staff will continue to use activities and opportunities as the tool to engage which in turn allows safe spaces to talk, support, play and grow. Developing life skills out in the community and allowing safe risk taking and safe failure is a big part of our role with our students.
Activities at our sites and bases
This includes groupwork, discussions, one to one support meetings, cooking, food preparations, arts and crafts, relaxation, social games and activities including pool table / table tennis, consoles, outdoor areas including the park and gardens for sports and activity. Group and one to one discussion cover ALL aspects of growing up / family life, school and society.
All our sessions include travel in staff’s personal cars. Food is included in all our programmes and students are expected to wear old warm clothes, as many activities include getting wet and muddy. Students will usually know week to week the following sessions activity, however, activities are subject to change due to weather and availability. Please feel free to contact us to check activity bookings.
We offer a whole range of opportunities for our students. These are broken down into 3 categories.
Offsite opportunities based around life skills / exploration
This includes visits to shopping centres, town centres, cities (Exeter, Bristol, London) job centres, post office / bank, police / fire station, doctors & hospitals, also use of all public transport including buses, trains, ferry and occasional flights. Also, to public sites of interest i.e. woods, Ham Hill, National Trust, beaches, museums and visits to employers, cafes and restaurants.
All enquiries about activities and programme content – please feel free to email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. All activity sites are pre-risk assessed, and we ensure have adequate public liability insurance and risk assessments in place.
Activity sites including adventure
This includes activities including water (i.e. kayaking, water parks, raft building, swimming, hot tub), heights base activity such as high ropes, climbing, rock cliff abseiling and adventure such as paintballing, target shooting, archery, quad biking, segways and karting, trampoline parks, gyms and fitness centres, low ropes and assault courses, zip lines, team building and problem solving challenges, outdoor forest activities including cooking, woodworking, car maintenance workshops, arts and music studios, driver and road safety workshops, lake and boat fishing trips, snowboarding, skiing and grass sledges. This list is not exhaustive.
REACH offers a discretionary budget which may be used for life skills and the occasional activity / item. This also allows learning on negotiations, budgeting, planning and reviewing. Budgets allow participation in activities / buying & sharing of food and trying new things / going to new places. There are occasions where items may be purchased using the budget, if this is going to happen then staff will seek consent from parents or carers before this happens to ensure you are happy with your child returning home with any item.
As part of our work, we work with all agencies including all safeguarding teams. We have a duty to act and provide support should we feel any student is at risk of harm outside of REACH and therefore hold the right to communicate with the school safeguarding leads, Children’s social care and the police for any concerns raised. We have a designated safeguarding team at REACH. Our safeguarding policy can be found here.
Harry Serle is our lead at representing REACH at multi-agency review meetings. We are happy to either attend or send in a report to any type of review meeting for your child. This includes school reviews, Team around the Family Meetings (TAFs), Child in Need and Child Protection meetings plus Child Looked After Reviews. Harry will represent the front-line staff and aim to provide a strong voice for the child and service. Harry is a highly experienced member of our senior worker and safeguarding teams.
We commission an external safety company to help oversee our health & safety. We proudly work hard to ensure we can provide real life opportunities out and about and support health & safety to aid this in the best possible way. Risk assessments, procedures and policies are all available for viewing anytime at our bases. Please feel free to get in contact anytime about any health & safety matter including Covid precautions.
Multi Agency Working
Health & Safety
We have some additional resources as part of our commitment to young people and families. This includes a store of food hampers, clothing & additional resources (we will offer as opportunities develop). We also have a funding panel who can award school leavers (Yr 11 or those in Yr 12 & above) support towards training, business, transport or related activity. Information on this will come out to students direct. We also now offer a free fall-back service to all young people who have ever attended REACH. This is available upon leaving school age and allows young people to contact us direct at any time up until the age of 21yrs (approx.) to gain some easy to access free help. We know over the years how important this is to young people, who require help with employment, training, housing, health or any other matter. No referral or permissions are required to gain this support.
Duty Desk / Communications
Our duty desk is open every school day from 8am to 5pm. This is staffed by Richard Harris who will be able to provide a point of contact for any information or queries about REACH. This desk is contactable by phone, WhatsApp, text or email.
07966 281959 / email@example.com
Out of hours we have an answerphone service which is picked up the next working day. We aim to return all calls / emails within 1 working day where possible.
Each student requires a completed consent form prior to starting at REACH. An update is also required at the beginning of each academic year. Please could you use the button underneath this box to download and complete this form if you know your child is due to start soon. This can then be handed back to REACH staff.
Photos will also be taken on sessions to evidence activities. These will be available to the school. Should you not consent to photography of participant in any particular activity then please write clearly on the consent form or notify us directly. Please also add any medical / dietary needs and additional information that you feel we need to know to support your child.