A perfect fit – case study with River Tees Multi Academy Trust PRU

Tom Rhatigan discusses his experience of delivering V Certs, including the Level 1 and Level 2 certificates in Health and Fitness, and how the qualification has allowed his pupils to find their strengths and excel.

River Tees High is an Alternative Provision Academy and part of the River Tees Multi Academy Trust. As an AP Academy, our pupils have often faced difficulties and challenges, which have meant that they can no longer attend mainstream school. It’s important that all children get access to education and schools like ours are able to adapt our environment to suit the needs of pupils who come to us. For example: smaller class sizes of 10 – 12 and specialist support, where appropriate, for SEND pupils.

To ensure that every pupil that comes to us has the chance to be successful, we’ve also adapted our timetable to feature qualifications which support pupil development through the content. This includes offering V Certs in Health and Fitness, Food and Cookery and Craft.

Previously, we’ve offered GCSE PE and found many pupils struggled with attainment with so much focus placed on athleticism and ability to perform well at team sports. The V Cert in Health and Fitness is more inclusive to pupils who don’t appear traditionally “sporty”. Health and fitness is something which is an important part of life and pupils go away with knowledge that they can apply outside of school. Several pupils have now gone on to college to broaden their knowledge of health and fitness.

The internally assessed portfolio work allows pupils to demonstrate their knowledge through something other than physical execution. For those pupils who also study the V Cert in Food and Cookery, they’ve been able to draw on the knowledge gained about nutrition in their Health and Fitness V Cert. They have a rounded experience of health and that helps them in other subjects.

We’ll be moving pupils over to the new combined Level 1 / 2 V Health and Fitness V Cert. With the option to teach classes of mixed ability, it’ll really help those borderline pupils who may just be shy of the achieving a Level 2. Previously, it has been too high risk to put some forward. You always want pupils to achieve so the Level 1 has acted as a safety net. Now all pupils will get the same opportunity to push themselves.

Although pupils may have found themselves at River Tees High in an unconventional way, we are a high achieving school and the results speak for themselves. These pupils aren’t going to be allowed to fall through the gaps just because of their past experience. Everyone should have access to education and it goes to show that, with the right support, pupils who may have been entirely disengaged with education, can achieve great things.

Find out more about V Certs on our website or by getting in touch with our team by phone on 0191 240 8833 or by email at [email protected].