PCC sees young people given choices by Pontefract Education Trust (11 Jul 2016)

1Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) visited a college open day skills workshop arranged by Pontefract Education Trust and Wakefield College to see how young people are were being inspired and motivated by having the opportunity to sample some of the different vocational courses.

Pontefract Education Trust received £5000 from the Safer Communities Fund and have used it to help fund their CHOICE, Children Have Options Imagination Challenge & Experience, project.

The project is aimed at primary children aged between 9-11 years old and takes place over 30 weeks. The purpose of the project is to encourage and inspire children in education and help raise school attendance and attainment by offering an additional timetable to the set curriculum.

The main focus of the project is to equip children with the sound knowledge of how important positive behaviour is and have a clear understanding of "Actions and Consequences".  Led by a multi-agency team of staff, children are equipped with education which helps and supports positive achievement.

Parents also have the opportunity to work together with their children and professionals to support the intended outcome.

The project has been running for 3 years and there has been a clear trend that
 young people who take part have increased attendance and do better in school.

Mark visited a college open day where the young people who have been involved in CHOICE went to experience taster sessions in the vocational areas offered at the Castleford Campus so they can see what is available to them at post 16.

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Mark Burns-Williamson said "Supporting young people is crucial and it's very important to inspire them to reach their full potential. It was clear to see from their reactions to the college taster sessions that they really enjoyed the event and may have found a new careers to aim for.

"This is a fantastic project and I was pleased to be able to provide some funding through my Safer Communities Fund. Being able to return cash seized from criminals back into our communities into such worthwhile projects is one of the best parts of my role.

"The next round of the Safer Communities Fund opens for applications on 30 August, for more information visit /safer-communities-fund.aspx."

Annette Jones from Pontefract Education Trust said "I am very proud of all the children involved and take great pleasure in witnessing the sense of achievement that is displayed by all. This year has seen two areas merge together for the end celebratory event held at Wakefield College where friendships have been formed between children from 11 Primary schools.  The parental engagement in the programme has been superb and continues to develop with some parents volunteering. I would like to personally thank West Yorkshire Police for their continued support."

James Pennington from Wakefield College, who helped to organise the skills workshop, said "Working with young people and their families is a key part of our school liaison strategy. One of our key priorities is providing learning opportunities for our communities and the CHOICE programme allowed us give these primary school children a first taste of vocational learning and an idea of the kind of things they can do at college. The day aimed to raise the aspirations of the children involved and we hope to see them back at College in a few years' time."

You can find out more about Pontefract Education Trust here http://pontefracteducationtrust.org/

You can also find out more about the CHOICES programme on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsHq5lM-81U4 




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