Skip to main content

Slam-dunking helps disaffected

A major sports programme led by a professional basketball player is helping keep excluded youngsters off the streets of Redcar and Cleveland.

The council has the best Audit Commission figures for providing full-time education for excludees, with 73 per cent attending for more than 20 hours a week, and another one in five for 10 to 20 hours - way ahead of other authorities.

Staff at the Eston centre, the base for the council's work, call it a school, preferring to avoid the language of units and referral centres.

"We wanted to show it was a school and that the kids do go to classes. It's a good atmospher, everyone enjoys being here. The (mainstream) schools don't want these kids, but the kids don't want to go back because they like it here," says teacher Dennis Lay, a member of the Teeside Mohawks basketball club.

Other team members are paid to act as classroom assistants or mentors, while well-behaved youngsters can join teams and take on counterparts from more conventional schools. Middlesbrough football club has also supported the sports programme.

But every pupil is on a course that will lead to some kind of accreditation, and last year there were GCSE passes to celebrate.

Karen Thornton

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you