Schools will tell you that there is a lot more to their work than league tables and brief visit from OFSTED.
Education isn’t a football match and there are loads of hidden extras than can’t be measured.
The way the forest garden works is also hard to measure. Yes 4 pupils who struggle academically are the latest to receive accreditation from us in the form of OCN level one in woodland skills.
One of these pupils spent a lot of time making a handmade hawthorn Harry Potter wand. This gave him a basic understanding of plant and tree growth, eco systems and sustainability while learning about safe use of sharp tools and green woodworking techniques. Making the wand also encouraged him to read all the Harry Potter books!
One of the lads has one to one mentoring every Thursday. He has visited museums for the first time and can now swim!
Thanks to funding from Eleanor Hamilton two lads have been taken fishing and then out for lunch as a thank you for all their hard work throughout the academic year.
That might not be a big deal for pupils whose parents can afford these treats, but they are a big deal for those that can’t.
How do we measure lunch times or workdays with our eclectic mix of people, when our pupils muck around with our young lads with learning difficulties. When one told us that he no longer would make fun of people with disabilities. How do we quantify that? Surely just eating lunch together isn’t educational is it?
Carly North, our chef on a Friday, runs a youth community cooking group. Her work with Brighton Aldridge Community Academy meant that two pupils who had done her food hygiene course went to Strawberry Fayre for 4 days cooking for festival crew of up to 450 people! Two of her pupils also helped with some of our summer scheme, help her with a primary school cooking club and thanks to a burgeoning portfolio now has a job in a cafe at the weekends. One young lad with Downs has also been helping cook pizzas for a shed team-building day and our summer scheme.
This immeasurableness doesn’t mean that they don’t learn, that it isn’t worthwhile, but these extras are what we feel makes our project really work. Still, don’t listen to us, listen to what some of our young adults think.