What makes us different?
The Alternative School, known as TAS (pronounced TAZ), is a small independent school which specialises in providing an innovative, inspiring and nurturing educational experience and environment for young people who, for a variety of reasons, are disengaged and/or unable to access main stream education. We work closely with a number of local authorities, schools and children’s homes and parents/carers to support young people to become the best they can be, to achieve appropriate qualifications and to make a positive post 16 transition. Established in 2007, TAS achieved a ‘good with outstanding’ Ofsted report in June 2014 and then achieved Independent School Association accredited status in October 2014.
In line with the ethos of the Independent Schools Association we work with the whole person aiming to develop each individual via ‘Character Education’, developing character traits such as grit, resilience, ethics, commitment and other soft skills that ISA schools equip pupils with. We have a strong emphasis on Personal and Social Development, British Values, Emotional Literacy and Employability Skills together with the Duke of Edinburgh Award and a variety of extra-curricular and enrichment activities.
At TAS we are inspired by the belief that we can make a difference to every young person we work with by listening, raising aspirations and tailoring what we do to meet the needs of the individual. We believe that everyone has the potential to succeed in the right environment and with our holistic approach of nurture, independence, academic achievement and vocational/entrepreneurial opportunities, we aim to ensure that time spent with TAS is both enjoyable and successful, with 100% of our pupils moving into further education/employment. We never give up on our pupils, we never exclude and we will offer continuous support for as long as a young person requires it. Every day with TAS is a fresh start.
One of our young people joined us as a year 10 pupil in March 2015 with a diagnosis of ASC. He was unhappy in his mainstream school and was no longer attending. He felt that no-one understood him and he was getting in to trouble due to some of his behaviours associated with his ASC diagnosis. His parent was likewise very unhappy, frustrated and disillusioned with the lack of appropriate education to meet her son’s needs in mainstream and made a direct request for a place at TAS which was then agreed via his local education authority.
B now attends school regularly, has a good relationship with his class teacher and other staff at the school and is making good progress. Positive schooling has not only improved B’s well-being and academic progress but has also improved his home life as he is so much happier. By the end of year 10 he had already achieved two recognised BTEC qualifications and he is currently on target to achieve all his target qualifications. He has also applied to a local college for a place on his chosen course and has a clear transition plan. Furthermore, as is normal with ASC, B finds change very difficult. Any change to routine or plans for out of school activities have to be very clearly explained and lots of support given. B still becomes anxious about changes to his routine and initially would refuse to join in with additional and/or out of school activities but this too has improved enormously. B is now a member of the school council. He also took part in a confidence building photo-shoot in November 2015 and in February 2016 he took part in a school trip to London to visit the Houses of Parliament. This is a young man who is now making real academic and personal progress. His well-being and resilience has significantly improved, he has a clear transition plan and has achieved much to be proud of.
What B’s mum has to say about TAS
“My son struggled in mainstream schools and TAS was his last chance to get an education. He started as a year 10 in March 2015 and by July 2015 he had already gained 2 recognised qualifications with another school year to go! The staff change their teaching techniques to suit my son, on a daily basis. The home school communication is fantastic and I count every member of staff as my friend. His teacher, Beth rings me whenever I have any concerns and we work together to help her get the best out of my son. All the pupils call the teachers by their first name which, I think, makes them feel like they are equals, and that helps build their confidence. Beth and Debra, the Headteacher, know my son as well as I do and know what stresses him, and how to get the best out of him. In his last school my son suffered badly from stress and his attendance was 34% and it is now over 80%. Even the proprietor, Kirsty is available for a chat and she even rang my when she was on holiday! My son is the happiest that I have ever seen him and I do not know what we would have done it we hadn't found TAS! They are now preparing him for when he leaves them and moves on to College, which would not have happened if he had stayed in mainstream education.”
“TAS has turned my son from being an underachiever with low self-esteem, to a young man with the world at his feet and the confidence to be whatever he wants in life.”
“Debra, the headteacher replies to my emails at all hours of the day.”
“Every member of staff actually cares about my son and his future, as much as I do.”