It is increasingly difficult to find small, calm, therapeutic learning environments, where students who struggle to access mainstream learning can thrive. School refusal is an anxiety related disorder which affects 1-5% of the UK population. The number of students with EHCPs and identified SEN who require bespoke specialist provision has increased yearly since 2010, up 23% in the last two years alone.
In the UK in Autumn 2021, 2000 permanent exclusions were given to pupils, and around 184,000 fixed term exclusions. These children have a right to an education, and yet far too many of these exclusions involve students with additional needs or difficult circumstances.
Whilst the triggers vary hugely, and with the long term effects of the Covid Pandemic remaining to be seen, the result is an ever growing number of students simply cannot cope with the pressures of a mainstream school.
Often these students are very bright and have huge potential. The tragic reality is that children who do not have access to a consistent and regular education programme, for whatever reason, invariably fail to achieve their potential and their future life chances are severely harmed. Nationally, 52% students achieve a 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE, yet only 18% students with identified SEN reach this goal. VLC works with children at risk of exclusion, school refusers, those with attachment issues and those with ASD. Put simply, we exist to change young peoples’ lives through caring education.
Our first centre opened in Whitnash (Leamington Spa) in September 2014 under the leadership and vision of Rev. Brian Nash. In Brian's time we opened multiple alternative provision sites across Warwickshire and established good standing within the local authority as an alterative provider of education.
In September 2019 Amanda Woodward took over as Principal, while Brian transitioned to a new role as Chair of Governors/Trustees. Under Amanda's leadership we secured registration as an Independent School in Whitnash, and achieved a GOOD OFSTED report in our first inspection in 2021.
In October 2022, Charly Skoppek took over as Principal. Charly is studying for a Doctorate in Education, specialising in Trauma and Exclusion. Charly pioneered our Rugby Centre when it opened in 2017 before becoming Deputy Principal in 2019. Charly has a teaching qualification, and has a specialism in English Language.
VLC is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) under the Charity No. 1184444. Please note that we used to be known as Leamington Vineyard Learning Centre. This operated under. the umbrella of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Leamington and Warwick: Charity No: 1068725, Company No: 03501830