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Who we are?

We have worked with children and young people in West Midlands’ schools and communities for over 10 years, offering support to those considered vulnerable or struggling to cope in education.

With this experience we have developed a range of approaches and resources aimed at nurturing and supporting children and young people, increasing confidence or improving attendance, plus support and guidance for teachers, schools, local authorities and other referring organisations.

What do we do?

The Switch Project provides early interventions to support the inclusion of young people whose social and emotional needs are causing concern and preventing them from achieving their full potential. The Switch Project enhances young people’s skills for coping and managing in different situations, placing emphasis on making good choices in both their educational and personal lives.

We focus on areas such as stress, making friends, healthy relationships, managing anxiety, seeking help, solving problems, separation, assertive communication, self-confidence, reducing aggression and persevering through difficulties.

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What impact does being out of school have?

Many young people need short-term access to a higher level of social and emotional support than can be provided in a school environment. A short placement in a safe, supportive and positive environment can be extremely beneficial. We hope to encourage your son or daughter to reflect on the situations that have triggered their referrals and support them to identify ways to avoid recurrence and positively manage their situation in the future.

With a high staff to student ratio, we can spend time talking to individuals and we are able to engage their attention through activities that spark their interest. We usually see a marked improvement in attitude towards learning as they realise that it can be enjoyable when the negative cycle of poor behaviour and school sanctions is stopped. In a more relaxed environment we are also able to build positive relationships between young people and staff, encouraging them to develop their communication skills with adults and to learn how to use these appropriately to gain respect and trust back in school and at times in the home.

Our consistent approach to discipline and setting boundaries also allows us to pick up on issues much quicker and more directly than may be possible in a large school.

We will do our utmost to prepare your son or daughter to transition quickly and smoothly back into school. Whilst we clearly see the value of young people with particular needs accessing our support, we are ultimately here to ensure they leave us as soon as they are ready and that their time with us is wholly positive and beneficial without any negative impact on their formal education or future progression and achievement.

The Switch Project targets the social and emotional well-being of a young person and does not offer significant core curriculum learning outcomes (English, Maths etc.). This is made clear to the school or Local Authority when the young person is referred and, as a result, we advise that wherever possible referrals are given the opportunity to access additional educational provision and a placement with us does not prevent them from doing so. Parents and guardians may want to ensure that their child is either accessing a core curriculum offer (English, Maths, Science etc.) on other days or gain reassurance from the school or Local Authority that a plan to reintegrate into mainstream education is in place to ensure that their formal education has minimum disruption. It is crucial that any removal from formal education, even for a short period of time, is for positive reasons designed to support the individual and increase their chances of fulfilling their future potential.

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Where we are?

We are based within Dovecotes Primary School in Pendeford, Wolverhampton. We have a separate area within the school site, but benefit from the security and safeguarding systems that are now standard within all schools. We have our own intercom on the gate at the back of the school accessed through the staff car park. Unfortunately, the car park is too small to allow parents/guardians to use it, but there is parking on the road outside. For initial meetings, please follow signs to the school reception and we will come and meet you. At the initial meeting we will show you around and explain how you find the day-to-day entrance. Our address is:

The Switch Project
Dovecotes Primary School, Ryefield, Pendeford, Wolverhampton, WV8 1TX

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What is it like?

We have a large, bright and airy room with modern facilities, including a number of Apple iMac Computers. There is enough space to accommodate most activities, but we do sometimes use the school grounds and playing fields as for outdoor activities.

There is a small kitchen where we do cooking activities and a fridge that the young people can keep their lunch it. They are welcome to get themselves water at any time of the day and there is a supervised lunch break. Secondary age students are allowed off the premises at lunchtime if they have written permission from their parent/guardian and there is a shop nearby. We also have an office, the Calm Room and our own separate toilets.

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What should they wear?

Unless the school has stated otherwise, young people are free to wear their own clothes. They can wear whatever they wish provided they are appropriate for the weather, environment and planned activities. It would be wise to avoid wearing anything particularly valuable in case of damage during activities such as sport, art or cooking. Hats and hoods must be removed during sessions on the school site.

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What should they bring?

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Packed lunch

If your son or daughter is attending full days then they will need a packed lunch. Over the years we have learnt that diet can have a significant impact on children and young people’s behaviour and concentration, so we would ask that their lunch is as healthy as possible. We also encourage young people to eat breakfast before they arrive as this improves concentration and focus.

We do not allow energy drinks at any time and will not allow them to be drunk on the premises. As part of our project we do encourage young people to eat healthily and usually investigate nutrition and diet whilst they are with us.

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Equipment

There is no need to bring any stationery or equipment unless the school have set particular work that requires it.

Please discourage your son or daughter from bringing any personal items, especially anything of value.

If they use a bicycle to travel to us then there is a bike rack within the school grounds. This is within the school’s locked boundaries, but students should bring locks to secure their bikes.

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Mobile Phones & Personal Belongings

Mobile phones are now an integral part of life and we understand that young people need them to communicate, but also to stay safe. They are welcome to bring them and can use them at lunchtimes. Phones must be always kept out of sight during sessions.

Persistent use at inappropriate times may mean that young people are required to leave their phones at home.

We do provide padlocked lockers for young people to keep personal belongings and items, such as mobile phones, safe during the day.

Medication

If your son or daughter needs to take medicine during the day then please contact us in advance of them starting so we can ensure that we have all the information we need. Medication will be kept locked in the office and students will be supervised taking it.

What are the timings?

Sessions run Monday to Friday from 9:30am-12:00pm and 12:30pm-2.30pm term-time only. Our start and finish times are designed to allow flexibility for drop-off and pick-up as we realise that our children and young people may be travelling further than they do for school. If you need further flexibility to accommodate dropping off other siblings at school or to fit with community transport then please contact us.

We are closed during bank holidays and school holidays, plus occasional staff training days.

Safety, security and well-being

As with all organisations that work with young people, we have to ensure that we have the correct insurance, policies and protocols that adhere to current legislation. Our policies are available on our website to download, or we can supply you with them on request.

Contact with us

We encourage parents/guardians to remain fully involved during their time with us and hope to build a strong and positive relationship with you. You are welcome to ring or email us at any time during the day if you would like an update on your son or daughter’s progress. We would also encourage you to let us know of anything that’s impacting on their life at the moment and keep us updated of any progress or problems that you may see at home.

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Have a question?

Call 01902 552 288 or email info@theswitchproject.com