Fight for Peace has recently been working in partnership with local Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), Tunmarsh School and New Directions. PRUs work with children and young people who do not attend mainstream school, and we are pleased to have two located very close to us. The aim is to build relationships between young PRU students and the services we provide at our London Academy in North Woolwich.
Youth Practitioner, Abderahim tells us his role as Youth Practitioner is so important in engaging young people from local PRUs.
“I’m the Youth Practitioner at Fight for Peace and we’re delivering a project to help young people from local PRUs to engage in the wider community. This includes attending Fight for Peace, taking part in evening sessions and socialising. Our main basis is to reduce external referrals, so the support offered to PRU students will be mostly provided in house.
My role is part of a pilot scheme from the Department of Education. We’re based within Newham PRUs and are called the MAST team (Multiagency Specialist Task force). The team is made up of different people working for various agencies across Newham including to help support young people who attend local PRUs. We have a Youth Worker for the Newham Youth Zones, a Youth Offending Team, a Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHs) worker, a family outreach worker, and a speech and management therapist.
Services are mainly based at the Fight for Peace Academy, so we’re bringing young people from Tunmarsh and New Directions over to join us. A lot of the services we provide are in the evenings, but we’re bringing the PRU students to us during school times so they can get used to being involved in things like personal development groups, boxing sessions and sit down talking sessions.
Sharing services with PRUs means that the students can experience something a little different. Boxing at Fight for Peace with coaches and pads is different to doing boxing in PE at school, so they’re getting a little taste of what it’s like to actually train boxing. It’s got the conditioning element, the hard work and the rounds, so although the intensity was a bit of a shock to them, they’re enjoying the challenge.
The students are really engaging in our personal development sessions, Man Talk and Lutadoras. I think it’s because they are outside of school and run by somebody else, so they may feel like they can open up more in a non-judgemental space.
This bridge between services is important so we can hopefully stop young people from attending only one or two sessions and then dropping off. Through working with the students in this way I can see them day-to-day, check-in and find out if they need any further support to be able to attend sessions. I also think that having that familiar Fight for Peace face inside the school setting might make them feel more comfortable in attending Academy services.
Moving forward, we hope to have a lot of the young people from New Directions and Tunmarsh regularly engaging in our evening sessions. Having them come to the Academy after school hours instead of perhaps staying outside doing other things, or even just going home and not doing much.
We also hope our range of services can give them something to do in the evenings as well as meet new people and network, or perhaps even excel in boxing, or become a part of the Youth Council, or both! It’s been great to see their growth so far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”