A new education charity to help youngsters who are missing out on a conventional schooling is set to be launched in North Lynn this month.
Manager Mary Harper created Hexagon Education, which is aimed at 14- to 19-year-olds, when she became aware of the large number of young people missing out on their education due to factors such as anxiety or exclusion.
Mrs Harper said: “I am passionate about young people’s education, having seen how often young people ‘fall at the last hurdle’ of their education, get themselves excluded in year 10 or 11 and end up leaving school without any qualifications.”
This is where Hexagon Education will step in and help youngsters gain qualifications and, where possible, support them to go back to school.
Hexagon Education will be based on the North Lynn Industrial Estate, and Mrs Harper hopes it will open at the end of the month.
She said: “When a building became available, my husband Bob and I decided to rent it in order to offer education to young people missing out.”
Mrs Harper said she is a qualified teacher and has had experience across primary, secondary and further education phases.
“I left my job with the Youth Offending Team at Christmas so I could fully commit to Hexagon.”
The charity is now looking for young people to sign themselves up for support.
“These young people tend to fall into two categories. There are lots of kids who for one reason or another become school phobic, often due to anxieties,” Mrs Harper said.
“They start missing school and they haven’t got the confidence to return.
“Then there is those who have been excluded, often not due to really awful behaviour, it’s often something small but they are shown the door and lose all those years in education.
“Where possible I want to be supporting kids to get back into school.”
Hexagon became a registered charity at the beginning of February, and does not receive funding so depends entirely on donations.
“None of the staff are paid, although we would eventually like to employ paid staff, and everything is being done ‘on a shoestring’,” Mrs Harper added.
Mrs Harper said Hexagon will offer teaching in Functional Skills and GCSE Maths and English, with sessions on PSHE, employability and hopes to add cycle repairs and cooking to the timetable.
“I have spent January writing policies around safeguarding and data protection, and so the next thing is to become an examination centre so we can hold examinations here. We’re just in that process now.
“We are going to do bespoke exams and a bespoke timetable to fit around each young person. If it’s only an hour or so, we will tailor our curriculum to fit around them.
“It’s difficult to tell how much uptake there will be but as a building we can probably cope with no more than 20 pupils at any one time.”
Hexagon Education is due to hold an open afternoon for anyone who is interested in finding out more on March 19 from 3pm to 7pm.
Mrs Harper said: “We are hoping to open just before the end of term. I think it will be a slow burner, but there’s a high number of exclusions.”
She said around 150 young people were excluded from schools across Norfolk last year.
With the charity relying on donations, as it is currently without funding, it is in need of help from the community.
The charity currently has a wish list, which includes voluntary positions, stationery and household items.
It includes: volunteer teachers with QTS for one or more sessions weekly, volunteer accountant, volunteer IT technician, volunteer receptionists, as well as items such as an answer machine, art paper, electric cooker, handtowels, cleaning materials, hoover, gardening tools, and maths apparatus.
To get in touch with Hexagon, contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01553 762398. The address is Unit 5, Bergen Way Business Park, PE30 2DD.