Alternative Provision is, simply, out-of-school education for children who can’t go to a mainstream school - perhaps because of special needs or disabilities, behavioural challenges, anxiety, or similar. It gives children the opportunity to learn and develop even if a classroom isn't appropriate.
We currently work with about a dozen schools across the county to support them, their children, and their families. In 2022, we helped to give 25 individual young people to learn and grow through this route.
We're very child-led, and offer opportunities in a range of interests: building and controlling fires, cooking, whittling, sawing logs, using tools. We build things from bird boxes to dens; we maintain the site; we plant and raise bulbs and vegetables; we harvest them, prepare them, and learn to use them.
If a pupil has a particular interest or flair - cooking, perhaps, or building computers - we seek ways to encourage and support this. As an example, our community bicycle project gives children practical engineering and problem-solving skills alongside greater self-esteem and confidence.
In addition to practical skills, we aim to help children develop physically, socially and emotionally. They might learn to win and lose through table tennis, or develop fine motor skills by building a balista, or maybe improve their balance by learning to cycle.
We encourage all pupils to sit down together with the staff and volunteers for lunch every day. There's also lots of opportunity to interact with other children and adults from across the Adventure Playground community.