Published On: September 29, 2022|448 words|2.3 min read|

On Friday, 23 September, leading Alternative Education Provider Progress Schools held an official opening event for its brand-new Tees Valley school. The school, located in Eston, serves Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesborough, and Darlington.

The school, that began welcoming student referrals in April 2022, is the first Progress School to open on North-East soil. Currently, there are 13 pupils on role, supported by six full-time staff members.

This pivotal move is the first of many for the alternative education provider as they continue their quest to support some of the most vulnerable young people in England to access high-quality alternative education.

The event boasted quite the guest list, with attendees from the Local Council, Local Authority, and referral partners all in attendance. Mary Lanigan, Head of Redcar and Cleveland Council was amongst the esteemed guests.

As part of the event, Mary shared some inspiring words with students about the importance of education.

Mary said: “Education is so important. You have a full life ahead of you filled with opportunities to seize. Now is the time to set the foundations for your future.”

She went on to praise Progress Schools for the work they do with young people and offered her full support.

She said: “Not all young people follow the same path, so we must have provisions such as Progress Schools to provide the same opportunities to those who may have had difficulties in their young lives.

Charlotte, Mary and Sam opening school

“The level of exclusions from schools remains a core focus for our staff. We are working every day to improve this, but sometimes young people must be educated elsewhere.

“I am in awe of the students and their grit and determination to succeed. I have no doubt they will all go on to great things.”

Following on from the event, Interim Managing Director of the Liverpool-headquartered provider, Charlotte Barton, teased the potential for more schools opening in the region.

Charlotte said: “We are very aware that exclusion rates in the North-East are becoming increasingly more concerning, and we want to do everything we can to provide those young people with a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment in which they can flourish.

“Tees Valley is just the beginning. We have substantial growth plans that will see Progress Schools expand its national footprint, reaching more young people and supporting them to achieve their potential.”

Nationally, the number of student exclusions has risen, and as the figures begin to climb, people are calling for more face-to-face and online provisions to be put in place to support those young people.

Last year, Progress Schools visited the Houses of Parliament to call on the government to crack down on unregistered providers and tighten the definition of what constitutes a school.

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