It has been a good twelve months for Draycott Moor College, the school for teenagers in Draycott Old Road.
During 2012, it got a ‘Good’ in its OFSTED report – which was a distinct improvement on its previous showings -, and, what’s more, the number of concerns being expressed by local residents about the establishment also dropped dramatically.
As the present head teacher, Roger Flint, told us when we visited: “The gates to the school are no longer shut in order to keep the pupils in. Rather, they’re there to slow down strangers trying to gain entry!”
The school also now throws open its facilities to the community. Two local football teams – Fulford & Tean FC and Anchor Athletic FC alternately play on the main field on Sundays, while the smaller field is available to any junior teams who want a regular game. Stoke City have used the fields to run training sessions for youngsters.
Some of the school’s activities have been featured in the local press (the Sentinel report about the school’s fishing sessions was the most recent), and it is also attracting a number of interesting speakers. In this last autumn term, one of the Olympic Torch-carriers came to the school.
What’s more, the staff there is very community-oriented. You may have seen them at the Draycott Summer Fayre in July – where they ran and manned the burger stall!
Bad old days
Things weren’t always so positive though.
The school is an independent one run by an organisation called Educare Adolescent Services, which is based at Keele University. The school is catering at present for around a dozen ‘difficult’ youngsters ( aged between 11 and 16) though it does have room for more.
However, after it set up in Draycott in June 2008, it almost immediately was subject to a critical OFSTED report, and neighbours were complaining about the unruly behaviour among pupils.
So – some bitter lessons had to be learnt, but the proprietors, Educare, say they think it’s clear that they now have got things back on track.
So much so that the latest head teacher Roger Flint says that he is confident all the current children will leave the school with some form of exam or external accreditation under their belts; and that most will be equipped – thanks to the school – to go on to further education.
Walking round the school corridors, you can see on the boards lots of examples of the children’s work and photos of their learning activities. Some of the children come long distances just to attend.
“Most kids here now want to be here,” says Roger Flint “…which wasn’t always the case.”
Contact for Draycott Moor College: firstname.lastname@example.org