The third cohort of the London Academy’s Module 2 Pathways Programme began with ten new learners on Wednesday 3 April and Education & Progressions Officer Alex Brown details here on the Fight for Peace blog how Pathways has developed in its three years of existence:

“The Pathways programme is a 12-week education course aimed at 16 to 25 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The course offers four GCSE equivalent qualifications in Maths, English and two that are sports-related. All participants (also known as learners) have to attend personal development and boxing or muay thai sessions and they also receive support from our Careers & Guidance staff during and after the conclusion of the course.

Pathways started in March 2009 and was implemented due to a high demand for an alternative education programme in the local community. Beforehand, Fight for Peace’s Education & Training Coordinator conducted a 6-month consultation, which resulted in over 100 young people and service providers being spoken to about their desired content for such a course. The aim is to attract the hardest to reach and most vulnerable young people who previously hadn’t been engaging and/or finishing mainstream education for a variety of reasons. 94% of our 2012 learners were NEET at the time of recuitment for the course, for example. Once the learners finish the course Fight for Peace make a big effort to support them to successfully access the job market.

Since Pathways started many changes have taken place and it has grown and developed according to the demands and needs of the learners. For example, whereas at the start there was only one tutor for key skills and external tutors for the sports qualifications, nowadays we have three tutors who specialize in their areas, ensuring the learners receive an excellent standard of teaching across the board. But the seeds of these changes are now bearing fruit: last year 93% of our learners progressed to employment, training or further education at the end of their Pathways studies.

There are two different Modules in Pathways: Module 1, which began in 2009 and Module 2, which came shortly after in 2010. Both include Maths, English and sports-related qualifications although Module 2 participants also receive a Level 2 YMCA fitness instructors qualification – highly recommended for anyone looking to work in the sports industry – and they gain work experience in a gym too. Learners on Module 2 tend to be graduates from Module 1 and the course also teaches a higher level of English and Maths.

So what makes Fight for Peace’s approach to teaching different to that of other education programmes? Not only is each student assessed academically, we also take into account social and economic factors that may be an influence in the learning experience of each participant. Measures can and are taken to support and ensure the learners stay committed and engaged with the course whilst this is also helped by the fact we incorporate their interests and passions into the sessions, making the learning more enjoyable.

One of Fight for Peace’s values is ‘Embracing’ and the attitude of the tutors towards learners is the same as that towards members of the FFP staff. We expect the same from the learners as we expect from our colleagues and through this approach they gain a sense of belonging and unity. They come to view the Academy as a place where they can be themselves; are treated as adults; have ownership of the programme and develop a mutual respect. I am sure that this approach is one of the main reasons for the high success rates achieved by the learners in our programmes.”